What New Drivers Need To Know About Becoming A Truck Driver At An Older Age:
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average age of the American truck driver, as of 2014, is around 50 years old. It is not uncommon for drivers well into their 50's to start trucking careers.
Older drivers who are able to pass the physical and CDL exams, have a reasonably clean MVR , work, and legal history, and otherwise meet FMCSA and DOT qualifications, face no additional barriers to getting truck driving jobs.
Depending on the company and nature of the duties involved, drivers will usually have to pass some form of physical fitness test, regardless of age.
Anecdotal (word-of-mouth testimony) and empirical (experience from the TruckingTruth experts) evidence strongly suggests that many trucking companies are actually more willing to hire, and actively seek, older drivers, due to their expected additional life experience, work ethic, and wisdom/maturity. In fact, many companies establish a MINIMUM hiring age for new drivers.
There is no such thing as "too old to become a truck driver". While the FMCSA establishes 21 years old as the minimum for interstate drivers, there is no maximum age.
Becoming A Truck Driver At An Older Age:
Many drivers enter trucking as a second career, or as life changes, children leave the house, etc. Many older drivers actually fare better in long-haul driving positions without the added burden of a growing family at home, as many of the younger drivers deal with.Many older people also make plans to travel the country after retiring from their careers. Trucking gives them a perfect opportunity to do so, while getting paid to do it.
According to recent demographics reports, the average age of a truck or bus driver in the U.S. is between 46 and 55 years old.
The same safety and physical regulations apply to older drivers as to younger ones.
Physical Conditioning & Health For Older Drivers:
Most companies will require a physical fitness test of some sort, as a condition of hire, to verify that the driver will be physically able to perform the required tasks. Flatbed drivers are typically required to be able to lift tarps, climb, etc. as part of the general securement process, and will be tested by individual companies on their physical ability to do the job.
All drivers normal physical responsibilities include climbing up into and down from the cab multiple times per day, raising and lowering the trailer landing gear, and bending over/crouching to inspect the truck and trailer components and adjust the tandems.
Increased age in some people brings with it the onset of medical conditions that may require medication to treat. Along with illegal or habit-forming drugs, anti-seizure medication or methadone use is disqualifying.
Any medications that drivers are taking will have to be disclosed and verified by the prescribing doctor that the driver is safe to drive CMV's while taking it.
See Also: DOT Physical Exam Procedures & Details
See Also: DOT Drug and Alcohol Policies & Testing