The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has denied a petition by the Truckload Carriers Association (TCA) that proposes a pilot program to allow drivers 18 to 20 years old to drive trucks in interstate commerce under certain conditions, according to FMCSA information.
Under current federal regulations, such drivers must be at least 21 years old. FMCSA is denying the petition because it does not have sufficient information to determine that safety measures in the pilot program would achieve a safety level at least equal to that provided by complying with the minimum 21-year age requirement to operate a commercial motor vehicle (CMV).
The pilot program proposed Oct 2, 2000, by TCA would screen candidate drivers, train them at approved truck-driving schools, and provide an apprenticeship with an approved motor carrier until age 21. FMCSA said denial of the TCA petition should not be construed as a rejection of the argument that screening, training, and mentoring could improve the safety performance of younger CMV drivers.
In response to the proposal, the agency received 1,634 comments, with more than 90% of the comments opposing the pilot program. The most common reason given by those opposed to the program was that younger drivers do not have the level of maturity or driving experience necessary to operate a CMV in interstate commerce, FMCSA said.