(ConservativeStar.com) – As part of the $1-trillion so-called infrastructure bill signed by President Joe Biden in November, the Transportation Department was tasked with setting up a program that would allow 18 to 20-year-olds to drive the big rigs on an inter-state basis. They have now published details about their plan to implement this new requirement in the hopes of easing a nationwide shortage of drivers.
The federal government is moving forward with a plan to let teenagers age 18 to 20 drive big rigs in a test program designed to ease driver shortages. Currently, truckers must be at least 21 to cross state lines. https://t.co/d9Abt9jHvu
— The Associated Press (@AP) January 13, 2022
The lobbying group, the American Trucking Association, estimates the shortfall in the number of truckers to be more than 80,000 due to several factors, including the “federally mandated minimum age of 21 to drive commercially across state lines.” According to the apprenticeship program published in the Federal Register, prospective licensees must complete a 120-hour probationary period with at least 80 hours in the driver seat accompanied by an experienced operator. There is also a second probationary period of 280 hours, with 160 hours in the driver seat.
There are also requirements for the type of vehicle the probationary driver can use. These cover transmissions, automatic collision avoidance braking systems, and video cameras, along with a prohibition on exceeding 65 mph.
The plan is not without controversy, as some in the industry contend that the shortage results from low pay and poor working conditions that have caused veteran drivers to leave their cabs.
It will, however, create more jobs for younger adults, and could potentially help ease supply chain issues. Only time will tell if this will help ease the strain on the industry.
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