The nation’s largest truck driver union opposes a pilot program proposed by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration to allow drivers as young as 18 to operate big rigs in interstate commerce.
Currently, a driver must be 21 years old to obtain a commercial driver’s license to operate the largest trucks on the nation’s roads.
Teamsters General President James Hoffa (pictured above) called the FMCSA’s proposal a safety risk and “grave concern to those who use the roadways as their workplace every day.”
The FAST Act allows the FMCSA to consider a pilot program to lower the driving age to obtain a commercial driver’s license (CDL), with a focus on former military veterans who were trained to operate large trucks.
The Teamsters president said instead of considering this option to put younger drivers in truck cabs to offset driver shortages, more focus should be placed on driver retention through higher pay and better working conditions.
“We are disappointed to see the agency only focus on how they can get more drivers into these jobs with no suggestions of how to improve the quality of the work while they are there,” Hoffa said. “Younger drivers should not be expected to tolerate substandard working conditions any more than their older counterparts. Asking them to do so while also potentially jeopardizing the safety of all road users only makes this decision more troubling.”