The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), an agency of the United States Department of Transportation (USDOT), recently announced a request for public comments on a new pilot program to allow the operation of commercial motor vehicles (CMVs) in interstate commerce by drivers aged 18, 19, and 20 years old (FMCSA Proposes New Under-21 Commercial Driver Pilot Program).
“This action will allow the Agency to carefully examine the safety, feasibility, and possible economic benefits of allowing 18 to 20-year-old drivers to operate in interstate commerce,” FMCSA Deputy Administrator Wiley Deck said. “Safety is always FMCSA’s top priority, so we encourage drivers, motor carriers, and interested citizens to review this proposed new pilot program and share their thoughts and opinions.”
FMCSA’s Federal Register Notice addresses the comments previously received from a request published on May 15, 2019. The new pilot program proposed by FMCSA would allow participation by drivers in the following categories:
18 to 20-year-old commercial driver’s license (CDL) holders who operate CMVs in interstate commerce subject to a 120-hour probationary period and a subsequent 280-hour probationary period under an employer’s apprenticeship program
19 and 20-year-old commercial drivers who have operated CMVs in intrastate commerce for at least one year and 25,000 miles
Under the new program, the drivers would not be allowed to operate special configuration vehicles or vehicles transporting passengers or hazardous materials.
In 49 states and the District of Columbia, 18 to 20-year-old CDL holders are already allowed to operate CMVs in intrastate commerce, meaning within state borders. The new program is an effort by FMCSA to provide young CMV drivers with the opportunity to drive routes that extend from state to state.
As the Trump Administration continues to attempt to minimize regulatory burdens and facilitate economic benefits for big business, it will be important to make sure the transportation industry is not allowed to emphasize profits to the complete exclusion of a commitment to safety. The details of this Federal Register Notice can be viewed here.
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