Federal proposal would pave way for teenagers to enter long-haul industry
(Grain Valley, Mo., May 14, 2019) – The Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association, the largest national association representing professional and small-business truckers, opposes a proposal to launch a pilot program allowing drivers under 21 to participate in interstate commerce.
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration is seeking comments for developing a program that would lower the CDL age restriction from 21 to 18.
The Association has opposed similar efforts and last year signed a coalition letter, opposing the “DRIVE Safe Act” and other bills, citing them as detrimental to highway safety.
“Rather than developing ways to allow more teenagers behind the wheel of commercial trucks, the federal government should be taking steps to reverse the incessantly high driver turnover rate, which remains above 90 percent among large truckload carriers,” said Todd Spencer, president of OOIDA. “Efforts should focus on improving the industry instead of trying to hire more cheap labor.”
OOIDA contends that younger drivers – especially teenagers – generally lack the maturity and experience to operate a CMV at the safest levels. Research has consistently shown that CMV drivers under 21 are more likely to be involved in crashes.
“Launching this pilot program would go against FMCSA’s goal of improving highway safety,” continued Spencer. “The agency should not be used as a tool for large motor carriers to expand their driver pool instead of fixing the problems that have led to their extremely high turnover rates.
“If highway safety is the priority, the age should go up, not down. Instead of efforts to entice the least experienced, the focus should be hiring and retaining the most experienced drivers, not expanding the funnel of driver churn.”
The Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association is the largest national trade association representing the interests of small-business trucking professionals and professional truck drivers. The Association currently has more than 160,000 members nationwide. OOIDA was established in 1973 and is headquartered in the greater Kansas City, Mo. area.