Federal trucking program to allow teens to drive tractor-trailers state to state

Published: Jan. 24, 2022 at 5:30 AM CST
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MONTGOMERY, Ala. (WSFA) - The trucking industry is seeing a significant change as the federal government will begin allowing 18-year-olds to drive 18-wheelers from state to state.

The new program is part of the President’s infrastructure package, which was signed into law in November. The Safe Driver Apprenticeship Pilot Program would allow up to 3,000 18 to 21-year-olds to haul loads across state lines. Currently, 49 states and Washington, DC give commercial drivers licenses to people under 21, but they can only drive big rigs within their state.

According to the American Trucking Association, the U.S. is short about 80,000 truck drivers right now. Right now, truckers have to be 21 years old to cross state lines.

This new pilot program is the government’s attempt to ease that shortage. The program requires an experienced driver to be in the passenger seat, and the trucks will be required to have certain safety features like automatic emergency braking, forward-facing cameras, and a top speed of 65 miles per hour.

Read the full details of the Safe Driver Apprenticeship Pilot Program here.

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