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6/11/2003



Rail News: Rail Industry Trends

USDOT denies Truckload Carriers Association's attempt to employ younger-than-21 drivers


If you're younger than 21, you still can't drink alcohol — or drive a commercial truck in the United States.


On June 10, U.S. Department of Transportation's Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) denied Truckload Carriers Association's (TCA) petition proposing a pilot program that would have enabled 18- to 20-year-olds to drive commercial trucks under certain conditions. Under current federal regulations, commercial motor-vehicle (CMV) drivers must be at least 21.


In October 2000, TCA proposed the program under which trucking firms would screen 18- to 20-year-old candidates, provide training at approved driving schools and place trainees in an apprenticeship until they turn 21.


FMCSA could not compile "sufficient information" to determine that the pilot program's safety measures would at least equal current regulations, according to a prepared statement.


FMSCA received 1,634 comments on the proposal, more than 90 percent of which opposed the pilot program. The most common reason: Younger drivers do not have the maturity level or driving experience necessary to operate a CMV in interstate commerce, the agency said.


Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

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