U.S. Department of Transportation
Office of Public Affairs
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Andy Beck, 202-366-8810
Monday, June 9, 2003
USDOT Denies Proposed Pilot Program To Allow Younger Drivers in Trucks
The U.S. Department of Transportation's Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) today denied a petition of the Truckload Carriers Association (TCA) that proposed a pilot program to allow drivers 18 to 20 years of age to drive trucks in interstate commerce under certain conditions. Under current federal regulations, such drivers must be at least 21 years of age.
FMCSA is denying the petition because it does not have sufficient information at this time to make a determination that the safety measures in the pilot program would achieve a level of safety at least equal to that provided by complying with the minimum 21-year age requirement to operate a commercial motor vehicle (CMV).
The pilot program proposed by TCA on Oct. 2, 2000, would screen candidate drivers, train them at approved truck-driving schools, and provide an apprenticeship with an approved motor carrier until age 21.
FMCSA said that denial of the TCA petition should not be construed as a rejection of the argument that screening, training, and mentoring could improve the safety performance of younger CMV drivers.
The agency received 1,634 comments in response to the proposal. More than 90 percent of the comments were opposed to the pilot program. The most common reason given by those opposed to the younger commercial driver pilot training program was that younger drivers do not have the level of maturity or the driving experience necessary to operate a CMV in interstate commerce.
Pilot programs are authorized under the Transportation Equity Act for the 21st Century (TEA-21). The Act provides the U.S. Secretary of Transportation authority to grant exemptions from the Federal Motor Carrier Regulations (FMCSRs) so that alternatives to regulations can be evaluated.
The TCA represents truckload carriers operating within North America that employ both company drivers and owner-operators.
Notice of Denial of petition to initiate a pilot program
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