Driving a truck takes a lot of precision and competence, as well as a heightened sense of responsibility. Think about it: a truck driver directs 80,000 pounds and over five yards’ worth of machinery. In addition to keeping it stable, he must also control and maneuver it just as smoothly as if he were driving a four-door sedan. It takes skill.
Most truck drivers go through rigorous hours of practice before being able to comfortably handle their vehicles; it make take additional months of experience on the road before a driver can truly be called competent. That’s why federal regulations require extensive training and testing before an applicant is awarded his commercial driver’s license (CDL) and is allowed to start a career as a truck driver.
Currently the United States Department of Transportation’s regulations on acquiring commercial driver’s licenses with regards to truck driving are as follows:
- The driver must be certified by an accredited course.
- The driver must pass a driver’s examination test specific for commercial vehicles.
- The driver must complete a FMCSA (Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration) application.
- If driving solely within one state’s borders, the driver must be at least 18 years old.
- Drivers must be 21 years of age to transport commerce across state lines.
- If transporting commerce that originated outside the state, even if the transportation of it remains in state, the driver must be at least 21 years old.
Hauling a New Legislation
These regulations, however—especially the age restrictions—have begun to create an uproar among trucking industry leaders and pro-trucking politicians. They claim that it is ridiculous to claim an 18-year-old is responsible enough to drive a truck from the top of California to the bottom, but not responsible enough to drive it over state borders. Of course, another motivation is provided by trucking companies that wish to be able to hire more drivers right out of high school and pay them entry-level wages.
As a result of this age-discrimination discourse, U.S. Senator Deb Fischer (R / Nebraska) has introduced legislation to create a pilot program lowering the commercial drivers license age to 18. The long-term goal of this bill is ultimately to create an apprenticeship system in which trucking companies can hire kids right out of high school to fill driving gaps created by retiring truckers.
Are an 18-Year-Old’s Hands Too Young to Hold Your Family’s Future?
Given the potential risks involved, do you think it’s appropriate for young adults to have the responsibility and burden of driving dangerous trucks? Would you feel comfortable if your teenager was behind the wheel of a big rig truck? Does the thought of your children driving next to a truck driven by an inexperienced driver just out of high school give you chills?
Being a family-oriented firm, it certainly puts doubts in our minds.
Let us know how you feel by leaving your opinions and questions in the comment section provided on this page. We want to know if you’d feel insecure knowing the truck driver beside you has only two years’ worth of experience on the road. Can someone so young have the skill and aptitude to keep his truck from hurting you and your family? Share your concerns and opinions with us and see how we can help put your mind at ease.