News, Interviews, and Happenings From The Trucking World
Friday Short Haul - ND's 80mph speed limit, FMCSA advisory committees, precedent-setting lawsuit
Most states fail to measure up to safety advocate's recommendations
Road train pilot program approved by North Dakota lawmakers
Friday Short Haul - Best fleets to driver for in 2021, Feds' final worker status rule, yard jockeys need better training
TruckPark and FuelMe partnership takes the worry out of parking and fueling
Clearinghouse deadline, and new FMCSA guidance about yard moves
2020 closes with probably one of the most bizarre truck crash lawsuits ever
FMCSA adds underride guards to list of inspection items
Ex-football player helping truckers get into shape
Friday Short Haul - OOIDA's letter to Congress, J.B. Hunt's diversity project, major winter storm
France imposes lockdown on truckers from Britain attempting to cross the channel
DOT told to assess skills of employees able to meet automation challenge
Friday Short Haul - New FMCSA final rule, U.S. Xpress MIT study, Triton-EV semi
COVID blamed for backlog in holiday deliveries
Rule requiring driver notification of traffic violations is on FMCSA chopping block
Friday Short Haul - WIT Female Driver nominations, FMCSA HOS Q&A webinar, truckers handle
House passes federal marijuana bill; won't affect truckers
Predictive hiring assessments becoming popular recruiting tool. But will it cure turnover?
Friday Short Haul -- ATA letters about vaccine, FMCSA emergency declaration, UPS steps up dry ice production
WIT seeks to survey women about driving while pregnant
Four more drivers join ranks of TCA's Highway Angels
Friday Short Haul -- TCA's Fleet Safety awards, truck drivers' vaccine, Volvo electric semis
AI technology is now playing a bigger role in driver-facing camera surveillance
CDC releases lates COVID-19 guidelines for truckers
Friday Short Haul - Daimler self-driving Freightliner, driver's ed students, StopTheTires cancelled
FMCSA shoots down Washington State's more-stringent break rules for truckers
Two awardees announced for WIT's 2020 Woman of Influence
Friday Short Haul -- Trucking quilter, Tri-State bets $5,000, and CRST conquers dwell time
Veterans Day StopTheTires2020 shutdown protest planned
California voters approve Prop 22 to gain exemptions to AB-5
Friday Short Haul - FMCSA Pocket Guide, Heartland pay raise, teen trucker comments
U.S. Senator blasts FMCSA for lack of accountability and increased crashes
Four-state coalition forms to alleviate I-10 corridor truck parking problem
Friday Short Haul - Tyson's mirrorless trucks, Brake Safety Week results, 14-hour pilot program comments
Driver shortage ranks highest in ATRI's latest truck industry survey
FMCSA criticized for high number of CDL fraud incidences
Friday Short Haul - Volvo electrics, EPA emission penalties, PA move over law
Nuclear verdicts get carriers rethinking safety training programs
SBTC denied request for HOS and ELD exemptions when pets are on board
Friday Short Haul - Smuggled migrants, Prime settlement, USF Holland lawsuit, truck road damage
Tank trailers get approved for an additional pulsating brake light
TuSimple and Waymo go head to head on issues of AV trucking
Friday Short Haul - Drivers can self-dispatch, driver pay on the increase, Hurrican Delta emergency
Women in Trucking names Influential Women and top companies for women to work for
When a social media presence could hurt a driver or carrier
Friday Short Haul - Walmart buys Tesla semis, FMCSA drivers panel, Pronto.ai is denied request, and Jim Mullen moves to TuSimple
Machine learning shared truck loads add efficient component to LTL shipping
New HOS rules in effect Sept. 29; clearing confusion about the new rule changes
Friday Short Haul -- Schneider's remote orientation, 14-hour rule change comments, license renawal extension, ATA's DOL response
Feds come out with their own definition of independent contractor status
Amazon casts around for freight haulers; FMCSA news for drivers
Friday Short Haul - WIT photo contest, Teamsters challenge HOS, $1 billion for infrastructure
Speeding was most-cited violation during Safe Driver Week
Carriers, others, honor drivers during National Truck Driver Appreciation Week
Friday Short Haul - FMCSA wildfire declaration, hair drug testing, shift plus load pay
FMCSA looking to put under-21 drivers on interstate hauls
New AB 5 bill specifically targets truckers for enforcement
Friday Short Haul - AV test tracking tool, split-duty proposal comments, and mandatory hair testing
FMCSA helps bankroll Trucking Fatigue Meter to fight driver drowsiness
FMCSA looking at split-duty rule change; extending 14-hour day
Friday Short Haul - Travel centers announce special offers for drivers in September
Trucking landscape could look different after Nov. 3
More indictments in New Orleans area accident insurance scams
Friday Short Haul - North Dakota road trains, Brake Safety Week, drivers not returning to duty, opposition to Mexican truckers
Platooning passes real-world tests; new company emerges as leader
Helping victims of crashes earn drivers Highway Angel awards
Friday Short Haul - Trucker's last ride, FMCSA extension, autonomous trucks
Test vehicles did not fare well during AAA's driving assistance evaluations
Spotted lanternfly sightings on the increase
Friday Short Haul - JKC Trucking announcement, truck stop break-in, WIT top women businesses
FMCSA reminds drivers of 'adverse conditions' exemptions to HOS rules
SmartSense mitigates collision and 'sitting duck' situations
Friday Short Haul - FBI ELD hacks warning, students hack trucks, OOIDA asks for HVUT suspension
Women In Trucking announces 2020 photo contest
California publishes major new freight plan
Friday Short Haul - Love's requires masks, 10-million-mile driver, brake check blitz, and TuSimple truck incident
COVID-19 gives the average trucker a chance to attend FMCSA safety summit
Overdrive honors Small Fleet Champs
Friday Short Haul - States push for electric semis, fewer student new-hires, troopers in a truck
Nearly 300,000 drivers would lose jobs if hair testing was mandated
Trucking Truth owner/founder gets 3-hour spot at Road Dog Trucking Radio
Friday Short Haul - Operation Safe Driver Week, Canadian border, fuel cell semis hit the road
Werner, DOE earn FMCSA ELD and HOS exemptions
TuSimple announces its Autonomous Freight Network to expand driverless freight hauling throughout the nation
Friday Short Haul - House passes Moving Forward Act, YRC gets a bailout, and trucking jobs on the increase
Group pens letter objecting to proposed EV charging stations at highway rest areas
Carriers' virus response gets kudos at TCA virtual meeting
Friday Short Haul - Convoy brokerage, CLP waiver extended, $2 million amendment passed, two sentenced for CDL fraud
Nuclear verdicts strangling trucking companies; not so, say lawsuit attorneys
Eight carriers in lawsuit for not poaching other companies' drivers
Friday Short Haul - Post-virus speeds return to normal, $2 million insurance minimum proposed, WIT looking to honor an influential woman
FMCSA extends 3 COVID-related waiver declarations
Truckers say they will refuse to enter cop-defunded cities
Friday Short Haul - Truckers love guns, freight broker leader resigns, avoiding riots
Cargo theft on the uptick during COVID-19 era
California voters will get a chance to scrap AB 5
Friday Short Haul - Prime crash verdict, Teamsters applaud INVEST Act, OOIDA opposes broker bond changes
Dwell and detention times begin to decrease post-virus
CRST fighting another battle over driver poaching
Friday Short Haul - Driver shortage is over, Amazon's brokerage goes national, and lawyers are after carriers for nuclear verdicts
Freight industry considering post-COVID-19 strategies
FMCSA to consider increasing HOS for autonomous drivers
Friday Short Haul - Trimble MAPS, rate of fatalities increase, Comcar bankruptcy, driver pay on the rise
FMCSA: Long-awaited final HOS revisions announced
2016 trucking documentary released to YouTube for public viewing
Friday Short Haul - Reusing morgue reefers, ATRI research priorities, FMCSA HOS declaration
WIT honors two women in the trucking industry
Freight brokers push back against "price gouging" accusation
Friday Short Haul - Tank truck revenues decline, former Arrow CEO gets early prison release, not-preventable crashes
ATRI and OOIDF team up for comprehensive COVID-19/trucking survey
U.S. military has unique needs for truck platooning
Friday Short Haul - Truckers protest low rates, 1 million masks given to drivers, SecurSpace app finds parking
WorkHound analyses what drivers think about the COVID-19 crisis
Group pushes back on temporary increased weight limits
Friday Short Haul - 'Thank God for truckers!' CA state senator proposes bill to suspend AB5, TA furloughs 3,000 workers
Truckers say distracted driving is on the rise
Trucking leaders think some recent changes might become permanent in the industry
Friday Short Haul - "Your papers please," skills testing waiver, masks required in Canada
Truckers report in on their treatment during these COVID-19 times
FMCSA acts quickly to keep the new-driver pipeline flowing
Friday Short Haul - Weight limits increase, food trucks not wanted in rest areas, FMCSA extends HOS exemptions
Trucking industry concerned about state licensing agency closings
California AB-5 advocates react to carriers' COVID-19 good deeds
Friday Short Haul - Schneider's error, Change.org petition, Teamsters Canada demands
Authors: 'Legacy' carriers ignore autonomous technology at their peril
COVID-19 scare: State gun laws come under scrutiny
Friday Short Haul - Inspection blitz postponed, COVID-19 webinar, FHA urges states to keep rest areas open, fewer cars means faster truck deliveries
DOT and FMCSA issue COVID-19 responses
Starsky Robotics calls it quits
Friday Short Haul - Weigh station parking, rest areas reopen, HOS waiver expanded, freight prices increase
Truck drivers mostly exempt from coronavirus lock downs
HOS rules relaxed for COVID-19 relief effort
Friday Short Haul - Western Express recovers from Tennessee tornado, driver involved in two accidents six minutes apart, another carrier quits
Daimler's electric vehicles and autonomous trucks continue real-world testing
Predictive technology increases driver safety, benefits carriers
Friday Short Haul -- Coffee drinking drivers, Amazon coronavirus email, FMCSA safety summit
AIRman introduces no-crank technology to landing gears
Roadmaster shows how to reduce driver turnover
Friday Short Haul - CBD users beware, 8,000 violations revealed in Clearinghouse, laptop theft lands Alabama trucker in prison
Canada company offers easy access to spare trailers
Roadcheck could result in temporarily higher freight rates
Friday Short Haul - Self-driving yard trucks, Knight-Swift partners with Truckstop.com, Security guard shoots driver
Training providers offer a diversity of options
Idaho eases hemp transport prohibition; too late to help arrested drivers
Friday Short Haul - Tennessee carrier quits, signs a carrier is going down, retaining drivers
New phone app hopes to alleviate shipper waits
Senate Transportation Committee gets an earful from trucking execs
Friday Short Haul - Best fleets to drive for, FMCSA delays ELDT rule, Cold Carriers closes doors
Baylor Trucking deals with consequences of ELD outage
WIT announces first-ever Driver Ambassador, names February Member of the Month
Friday Short Haul - ATA at White House USMCA signing, AB-5 fight continues, toughest jobs
May dates announced for this year's roadside inspection blitz
States work to toughen up left-lane-hogging laws
Friday Short Haul - Pilot Flying J name change, CRST-Swift lawsuit, Schneider named innovator
Seven drivers named as TCA's Highway Angels
Travel advisories and restrictions announced for Midwest weekend storm
Friday Short Haul - Senators demand GPS app updates, Jason's Law survey, ATA applauds USMCA, FMCSA's truck crash survey
Research group recommends a national autonomous truck policy
A glimpse into driving long-haul in China
Friday Short Haul - Court blocks AB-5, SBTC vs. FMCSA, Can Opener Bridge
Loses appeal: Walmart ordered to pony up $54 million to drivers
WIT and Walmart seek nominations for Female Driver of the Year
Friday Short Haul - Sweatshop on Wheels, judge exempts truckers from AB-5, Fleetwood closes doors
Trucking Truth's top stories for 2019
Random drug tests of drivers to double in 2020
Friday Short Haul - New EV semi, tonnage down, turnover up, Grapevine fatality, runaway truck tires demolish car
Trucking industry goes out of its way for Christmas charitable giving
Fuel card provider hit with FTC lawsuit
Friday Short Haul - Driver coercion, zero emissions, driver fatalities
Hard enforcement for ELD compliance now in effect
State CDL agencies get reprieve from drug & alcohol clearinghouse deadline
Friday Short Haul - JB Hunt's Wreaths Across America, Plus.ai butter run, states look for zero emissions
Carriers muster to pick up Celadon drivers, employees
Will Amazon's pay-per-day plan influence the industry?
Freight volume and rates downturn turns into a 'bloodbath'
Friday Short Haul - Independent contractors getting booted out of CA, winter weather resources, ransomware attack
Knowing when to say goodbye to an unprofitable shipper
Schneider donates trucks; Congress considers women-driver-friendly bill
Friday Short Haul - CTA files lawsuit against California, Highway Hero nominations sought, video of "Move Over" crash
Tesla announces new electric Semi model
Not everyone happy with potential FMCSA clearinghouse delay
Friday Short Haul - AI taking driving jobs, CRV scam, Truckers protest AB-5, ELDs quit working
Investigators cracking down on truck accident fraudulent lawsuits
So you want to start your own trucking company?
Friday Short Haul - FMCSA emergency exemptions, snow plows, FedEx employee bribery charges
Human smuggling via big rigs on the increase
Carriers, drivers look at ways to deal with California's AB-5
Friday Short Haul - Millennials and trucking, Truckers Christmas Group, Navistar settlement
Too many drivers still don't know to "Move Over"
Are trucker strikes a thing of the past?
Friday Short Haul - Passenger car drivers, spotted lanternfly, women drivers
OOIDA makes final push for better HOS rules
Car-truck crash fatalities continue to increase
Friday Short Haul - Amazon's fleet of day cabs, legislator's disclosure, WTA petition
ATA chief takes on truck-accident lawyers
Lonely on the road? Get a furry friend
Friday Short Haul - Lab-grown meat, fraudulent freight brokering, FMCSA HOS committee, FMCSA Clearinghouse
UPS takes giant leap in its drone delivery program
Female drivers are safer bet for trucking companies
Friday Short Haul - Embark gets financing, FMCSA announces safety grants, Covenant exits Mexico routes, and trucking statistics
Emissions standards battle heats up between the EPA and California
Smog checks in the future for California truck drivers
Friday Short Haul - Volvo Dynamic Steering, Meals for 18 Wheels, speeding crackdown, OOIDA opposes legislation
Telematics could be insurance-premium-saving boon for fleets
54 percent of survey respondents still not impressed with telematics technology
Friday Short Haul - Walmart video, it's churn, not shortage, California's independent contractor bill, hemp drivers plea
TCA honors three Highway Angels
Now they're talking about "smart" trailers
Friday Short Haul - Detention-time comments, truck orders decline, diesel fuel shortage
Berkeley study says reducing independent truckers can alleviate climate change
Clearing up concerns about the drug and alcohol clearinghouse
Friday Short Haul - Hurricane Dorian, Speed limiter bill, Thank a Driver campaign
Georgia jury awards $280 million for truck-driver-caused multi-fatality
Friday Short Haul - New eCascadias, Top cities for truck driver jobs, Push against driverless trucks
Decision on California drivers' employee/contractor status coming down to the wire
UPS jumps on autonomous bandwagon with TuSimple investment
FMCSA publishes proposed HOS rule changes
Fleets, drivers coming to like automated manual transmissions
CVSA asks for new truck crash study
Friday Short Haul - HOS revisions delayed, AEB mandate proposed, Koch sued for sex discrimination
Kodiak Robotics takes lead in autonomous truck industry race
New York City combats rash of cyclist/truck clashes
Friday Short Haul - CRST wins lawsuit, OOIDA opposes insurance hike, UPSNav
Mechanics shortage equals driver shortage in intensity
DOT announces almost 1$ billion in grants to fix infrastructure
Friday Short Haul - DOL on sleeper pay, UPS drone delivery, Geowiz ELDs
FMCSA takes a look at assault, harassment of female and minority drivers
It's hot out there, what's a trucker to do? Can't idle.
Friday Short Haul - Utah truck rollovers, aging truckers, lifetime CDL bans
Truck-mounted LED billboards coming under fire
Trucker 'drones on' with unique approach to teaching driving skills
Friday Short Haul - Rhode Island tolls, human smuggling, contractor vs employee status
ELD mandate deadline looming, many still not compliant
New "boot" device being deployed to threaten Walmart overnighters
Friday Short Haul - Prime Inc vs Amazon, mother fights HOS changes, truck drivers appreciation week
Proper way to fly the American flag on your truck this Fourth of July
Roundabouts are becoming popular; but are they best for trucks?
Friday Short Haul - Skills test proposal, driver shortage, hemp sentencing, driverless trucks
Experts warn of active wildland fire season
More states signing on to enlist truckers against human trafficking
Friday Short Haul - Shippers of Choice, insurance rates, wheel spikes, WIT award
Freight numbers not holding up to 2018's highs
Truck safety group urges purges of drug abuse drivers
Friday Short Haul - Self-driving certificate, truck platooning, trade war stacking up cargo
HOS waiver coming soon for fireworks haulers
FMCSA takes a further look at detention time
Friday Short Haul - Autonomous delivery, HOS rules changes, CDL retest
Roadcheck 2019 in effect this week
Hemp arrest prompts USDA memo
Friday Short Haul - Waymo big rigs, Move over sting, Under-21 comments
Severe weather prompts renewed emergency declaration
Memorial Day holiday is prime time for cargo thefts
Friday Short Haul - Hauling hemp, road rage fatality, new rules for autonomous vehicles
Autonomous trucks on USPS test run
Future era of cab-less trucks will be the end of HOS rules
Friday Short Haul - FMCSA under-21 comments, Tesla autonomous car crash, 24,000 drivers sign contract with YRC
Under-21 interstate drivers getting serious look by FMCSA
Trucker Buddy program matches drivers with a classroom; everyone wins
Friday Short Haul - Driver awarded $80 million, ODFL driver wins, loading dock black hole
Storm breaks out from Rockies, slams into Midwest, South
Capacity issues have shippers looking at private fleets
Friday Short Haul - HOS rules, dark skies, Falcon drivers
'Bug' permits now required for four eastern states
Simulator use is catching on for schools, carriers
Friday Short Haul - Thinking electric, Penske opens charging station, border crossing crisis, railroads taking trucking business
ELDs might not be the panacea that was hoped for
Truck drivers may soon see "phantoms" driving yard trucks
Friday Short Haul - Nikola big rigs, WIT welcomes Peterbilt, Oregon crashes, Border crossings
Carriers claim financial benefit of putting up drivers in hotels
Uber's IPO application reveals interesting data about its freight brokerage business
Friday Short Haul - CDL examiner arrested, tolls proposed for trucks, marijuana use on the rise
Smart Load Board will get carriers the loads they need
Huge lines and long wait times greet carriers at Mexico border
Friday Short Haul - Marijuana, ATA campaign, personal conveyance rules
Over-the-air downloads revolutionize parameter updates
Don't get scammed by skimmers
Friday Short Haul -- New Cascadias honored, motorist survey, U.S, Xpress awarded, rest stop parking
Legislators address underride collisions, propose more underguards for trucks, trailers
Motorists soon may encounter a different kind of truck convoy
Friday Short Haul -- Women in Trucking, irate motorist, FMCSA eases HOS, Safe-Cap
Recent survey shows cost of roadside repairs is rising
FMCSA announces drug and alcohol clearinghouse website
Friday Short Haul - Swift settlement, driver shortage myth, TCA Best Fleet award
The hidden danger of looking but not seeing
Accident scammers target trucks for financial payout
Friday Short Haul - Snow on the roof, bypassing toll road, Waze under fire
Retailers blame driver shortage for price increases
Drivers' smartphones may be clue to road roughness
Friday Short Haul -- Freight rates, HOS changes, tonnage reports
New tax changes hit drivers hard
FMCSA to implement under-21 interstate driver program for former military
Friday Short Haul -- Connecticut tolls proposed, hydrogen fuel-cell trucks, cell phone use
Congress committee looks at state of America's highways
Number of cargo thefts is down; but dollar value about the same
Friday Short Haul -- Crossing the border, CA sues FMCSA, Lobbying against larger trucks
Detention - A problem still in search of a solution
February Highway Angels honorees named
Friday Short Haul -- C.R. England announces pay raises, eCommerce impact on trucking, TCA announces best fleets
Is a guaranteed minimum pay the solution to the driver shortage?
Long CDL testing wait times cost economy billions of dollars; not helping driver shortage
Friday Short Haul -- Walmart hiring, Uber Freight App, Speed-limiter Law, America's Road Team
Cranking -- The Good, The Bad, and the Ugly
California survives challenge to its low-carbon fuel standards
Friday Short Haul - Highway robbery ... autonomous trucks ... new trailers
LithiumHub enters jump-starter market with Jumpbooster JP30
2019 Looks Good For The Transportation Industry
Raymond Burt named TMC Trainer of the Month for February 2018
TMC Transportation Announces Recipient of Prestigious Wheel Master Award
TMC Transportation Named The Home Depot’s Flatbed Carrier of the Year For Fourth Straight Year
Pay Raises & New Peterbilts for PAM Drivers
New DOT Drug Testing Rules Effective Jan 1, 2018
Amtrak Derailment: Trucks Haul 270,000 Pound Locomotive Engine During Cleanup
Pepsi Places Largest Order Yet For Tesla Electric Trucks
Kavin Hallett named Trainer of the Month for October 2017
Over 100,000 Truck Drivers Likely Have Undiagnosed Sleep Apnea And More Testing Is On The Way
Drivers Share Their Best Tips, Tricks, And Secrets For Life On The Road
Drivers Are Losing Money By Taking The Wrong Approach
Truckers and Guns: What Is and Is Not Legal
Preparing To Go Solo For The First Time? Experienced Drivers Share Their Best Advice
The Truck Stop Survival Guide: Advice From Experienced Drivers
The Worst Cities For Traffic In The U.S. For 2017
We Ask Drivers How They Would Make The Logbook Rules Better
Self Driving Trucks Are Not Coming Anytime Soon
Under-21 interstate drivers getting serious look by FMCSA
Last Updated: Tue, May 14, 2019
After running a pilot program for the last 10 months allowing under-21-year-old drivers with military experience to drive big rigs interstate, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration announced this week it is seeking public comment on potentially opening up interstate highways to non-military drivers 18 through 20 years old as well.
“Commercial trucks and buses are essential to a thriving national economy, and the Department wants to ensure the public has an opportunity to comment on this important potential change,” U.S. Transportation Secretary Elaine L. Chao, stated in the announcement.
FMCSA is looking for comments on the training, qualifications, driving limitations, and vehicle safety systems that FMCSA should consider in developing options or approaches for a new pilot program for younger, non-military drivers.
“We want input from the public on efforts that offer the potential to create more jobs in the commercial motor vehicle industry, while maintaining the highest level of safety. We encourage all CMV stakeholders to submit comments on a potential interstate pilot program for younger drivers,” said FMCSA Administrator Raymond P. Martinez.
FMCSA's announcement was applauded by industry leaders, including American Trucking Associations' CEO Chris Spear.
“ATA supports FMCSA’s efforts to expand on its current work examining younger commercial drivers,” he said in an ATA news release.
“Right now, 18, 19, and 20-year-old drivers are driving trucks in the United States. What these pilot programs will do is set out a path for these drivers to fully participate in our industry by allowing them to drive interstate.”
“Allowing younger drivers, who are already moving goods intrastate, to drive interstate is a common sense step that has support not just from the trucking industry, but from a broad coalition,” Spear added.
“Between FMCSA’s proposed pilot project and the bipartisan support for the Drive SAFE Act in Congress, we hope we will soon create a path for more young people to fully participate in our industry.”
The announcement becomes official when it is published in the Federal Register today, May 15. It is titled, "Commercial Driver’s Licenses; Pilot Program to Allow Drivers Under 21 to Operate Commercial Motor Vehicles in Interstate Commerce," and will be listed under Docket number FMCSA-2018-0346.
Persons wishing to comment on the proposed pilot program for non-military, under-21 drivers may do so by:
- Visiting the Federal eRulemaking Portal: www.regulations.gov, And following the online instructions for submitting comments.
- Mailing to Docket Management Facility, U.S. Department of Transportation, 1200 New Jersey Avenue, SE., West Building, Ground Floor, Room W12-140, Washington, DC 20590-0001.
- Hand Delivering or sending by courier to West Building, Ground Floor, Room W12-140, 1200 New Jersey Avenue, SE., between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m., Monday through Friday, except Federal holidays.
- Or by faxing to 1-202-493-2251
Submissions must include the agency name and the docket number, and FMCSA states that all comments will be posted at www.regulations.gov, where they will be available for viewing. Be sure to input the docket number, FMCSA-2018-0346, into the search field.
Background of the proposed new pilot program
Back in October 2000 the Truckload Carriers Association, along with motor carriers, truck driver training schools, trade associations and an insurance company petitioned the FMCSA to conduct a younger-driver pilot program to determine if drivers under 21 years old could safely operate big rigs in interstate commerce.
There were several reasons for this request, primarily for addressing the looming driver shortage problem. Petitioners figured that it would be easier to recruit potential drivers from a pool of recent high school graduates.
Early in 2001 the FMCSA opened the question to public comment. Some 1,600 comments were received – with 90-percent being against under-21 interstate drivers. Commenters cited their belief that under-21 drivers "lacked the maturity and judgment to operate a CMV," according to the FMCSA.
But comments were notable for their lack of data, said the FMCSA, and for not showing any understanding that most states have concluded that under-21 intrastate drivers have not been found to have any record of diminished safety.
Also, very few of the 1,600 comments were from truck drivers or carriers, but most of the comments that were from these groups opposed the pilot program.
In 2003, FMCSA denied this first under-21 proposal.
Then there was a 13-year hiatus until FMCSA published a notice August 2016 asking for comments for a pilot program allowing under-21 military trained drivers to drive interstate. The agency received 67 comments; of which 40 were in favor and 9 opposed. The remaining 18 were from those asking FMCSA to add an exemption to allow under-21 drivers engaged in agricultural transportation to drive across state lines.
In July 2018, the FMCSA published notice of rules and requirements for a pilot program allowing under-21 drivers with military training to drive interstate. The notice included instructions for carriers, covered drivers, a control group of drivers and intrastate-only drivers to participate in the pilot program.
Then in December 2018 the FMCSA published rules establishing minimum entry-level training requirements for under-21 interstate drivers.
In February of this year both houses of the United States Congress passed companion bills enacting the DRIVE-Safe Act proposing to lower the age requirement for interstate drivers with the following conditions:
- Drivers under the age of 21 are participating in an apprenticeship program that includes separate 120-hour and 280-hour probationary periods
- Drivers would operate CMVs under the supervision of an experienced driver and must achieve specific performance benchmarks before advancing.
- Younger drivers would also drive vehicles equipped with active braking collision mitigation systems, forward-facing video event capture, and speed limiters set to 65 miles per hour.
What FMCSA wants to know
The FMCSA is looking for responses to two broad questions:
What data are currently available on the safety performance (e.g. crash involvement, etc.) of 18-20-year-old drivers operating CMVs in intrastate commerce?
And are there concerns about obtaining insurance coverage for drivers under 21 who operate CMVs in intrastate commerce, and would these challenges be greater for interstate operations?
And the FMCSA wishes respondents to address these detailed questions:
- What is the minimum driving experience that should be required for a driver to be admitted to a pilot?
- Should there be a requirement for experience driving non-commercial vehicles (e.g., to hold a regular driver’s license for some minimum period of time)?
- Should there be a requirement for experience driving a CMV in intrastate commerce for some minimum period of time? If so, what should that period be and how should it be measured (e.g., time with a CDL, hours driven, vehicle miles traveled) and why?
- Is there a minimum amount of time a younger driver should be required to hold a CLP or CDL? If so, how long and why? Are there driver training topics that should be equired for younger drivers beyond those covered in the ELDT final rule? If so, what are they and why?
- What kind of supervision, and how much, should be required for drivers under 21 in a pilot?
- Should there be any specific training / qualification requirements for mentors, supervisors or co-drivers? If so, what type of training or qualifications?
- Should FMCSA require that participating motor carriers establish a formal apprenticeship program according to Department of Labor Standards? If so, why?
- Should there be time or distance restrictions on younger drivers? If so, what should these be and why?
- Should younger drivers have more limited hours of service, such as a maximum of 8 hours of driving each day? If so, what limits should be applied and why?
- Should younger drivers be prohibited from transporting hazardous materials, passengers, and/or operating tank vehicles or oversize/overweight vehicles? Should there be other restrictions?
- What safety standards should participating motor carriers have to meet? Are the requirements from the Under 21 Military Pilot Program appropriate?
- What safety standards should participating drivers have to meet? Are the requirements from the Under 21 Military Pilot program appropriate?
- What action(s) should the Agency consider taking if drivers in this pilot program are convicted of violations while operating in interstate commerce?
- At what point should FMCSA remove a driver or motor carrier from a pilot program?
- Should FMCSA include requirements for safety equipment or on-board recording systems in a pilot program for younger CMV drivers? If so, what equipment and why?
- Are the technologies proposed in the DRIVE-Safe Act appropriate?
- Should FMCSA include other technologies? If so, what technologies are appropriate?
- Will insurance companies be willing to cover younger drivers operating CMVs in interstate commerce?
- What is the surcharge for insuring a younger driver?
- Will motor carriers be able to afford the insurance coverage for these younger drivers?
- What type of data could be provided to the Agency to evaluate the safety performance of drivers under 21 who operate in intrastate commerce, e.g., State managed safety performance data?
- Are traffic violations, crashes, and inspection violations adequate to allow a comparison of safety records? If not, what other safety performance measures should be used?
- What research should the Agency consider to assess the safety impacts of younger interstate CMV drivers?
The full text of the FMCSA publication can be viewed or downloaded as a PDF.
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