Should Congress lower the legal age for interstate truck drivers to 18?
By Dan Boaz
There has been a lot of debate in recent weeks about lowering the legal driving age for a full-size semi truck down to eighteen years of age from the current twenty-one. In fact, the idea is now likely to be heading toward a full debate in the U.S. Senate at some point soon.
There are advocates for and against making such a change with those against making the change looking at experience, safety, and perhaps maturity all being factors that should see the current age limit stay in place. Those looking to push for the change feel it could go a long way to closing the growing driver shortage nationwide. They also suggest that a standardized program of training and apprenticeships can overcome many of the concerns those who oppose the change hold.
The ruling, should it be made, would include Class 8 commercial trucks for interstate drivers. At present drivers under 21 are limited to short-haul trucking only within a single state. The idea was last floated in 2004 but never got past the point of discussion.
Meanwhile the ATA's latest figures show that the driver shortage is around 40,000 drivers and that an additional 100,000 drivers are needed per year to keep pace with growing national demand for ground freight. Under the current growth pattern and age restrictions, they say that the driver shortage is only likely to grow.
Do you feel that a well planned and structured program to reduce the driving age for long haul truckers should be experimented with?
Congress debates lowering age for semi-truck drivers
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