A bloc of U.S. Senators recently sent a letter urging the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration to promptly take measures that would allow adults 18-20 years old to haul freight across state lines.
Led by Iowa Sens. Joni Ernst and Chuck Grassley, another nine Republicans backed the plan many believe would help alleviate the bottlenecks and shortages plaguing the supply chains. The FMCSA allows qualified CDL holders 21 years and older to operate commercial motor vehicles engaged in interstate trucking. In recent years, several measures have been introduced to lower the age as the shortage of interstate drivers increases.
During the Trump Administration, pilot programs were launched designed to attract younger drivers and prevent logistical disruptions. The recently passed $1 trillion infrastructure package reportedly has a version of the Safe DRIVER Act that would integrate 18- to 20-year-olds in the workforce. But with more than 100 cargo ships unable to offload at the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach, the group of 11 senators wants relief now.
“With these concerns in mind, we urge the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) to allow persons 18 years of age and older to obtain a commercial driver’s license (CDL) and operate commercial motor vehicles in interstate commerce to get American goods and services moving again. Under current law, a 20 year old trucker could drive 363 miles in Iowa from Sioux City to Davenport, but that same driver could not drive five miles into Moline, Illinois,” the letter to FMCSA Deputy Administrator Meera Joshi reportedly states. “Our nation’s commerce hinges on interstate trucking, but the age of entry for this profession blocks the youngest members of our workforce from the career field. In their 2021 report to Congress, the U.S. Department of Transportation estimated the average age of a commercial truck driver is 48 years old, six years older than the national workforce average.”
Other Senators joining Ernst and Grassley included Roger Marshall (R-Kan.), Thom Tillis (R-N.C.), Kevin Cramer (R-N.D.), Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), Cindy Hyde-Smith (R-Miss.), Mike Braun (R-Ind.), Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.), Jerry Moran (R-Kan.), and Steve Daines (R-Mont.). The need to remove impediments and develop a persistent thriving truck driver workforce does not appear to be a partisan issue.
In the U.S. House of Representatives, upwards of 80 members of Congress urged Department of Transportation Sec. Pete Buttigieg to proactively move an FMCSA Under-21 Commercial Driver Pilot Program forward. This measure was reportedly part of the early infrastructure deal that gained support in August. While Congress wrangles through the fine details and legislative reconciliation process, both sides of the aisle and the White House have wide-reaching authority to agree and expedite the under-21 rules changes.

Sources: cdllife.comwhattatruck.com

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