Obtaining a commercial driver’s license (CDL) might become easier to do for the younger generation in the upcoming years or even months. Currently, the age to obtain a CDL is 18 years old. There are many restrictions though if you are under 21 years of age. These restrictions include only being able to drive intrastate or in your state of residence and you also cannot haul hazardous materials.
The current age to obtain a CDL for driving out of state and to haul hazardous materials is 21 years old. Congress is trying to help younger truckers obtain a CDL by reintroducing the DRIVE-Safe Act. “The DRIVE-Safe Act would allow certified CDL holders to participate in an apprenticeship program that includes at least 400 hours of on-duty time and 240 hours of driving time with an experienced driver in the cab.”
Congress has tried to pass something similar in the past but was denied. “There are hopes it will be different this time” says Chris Spear, the president of the American Trucking Associations (ATA). He refers to this bill as “critically important to the American economy.” There are over 40 national trade associations including ATA apart of the DRIVE Safe Act Coalition supporting the passage of this bill.
One thing standing in the way of this federal law being changed is the difficulty these trucking companies and drivers will face in obtaining insurance coverage to travel across state lines. Also, having a younger driver on the road isn’t something many people want to see. “The last time the DRIVE-Safe Act was introduced, the Owner Operator Independent Driver Association and several safety advocacy groups signed a letter opposing the bill.”
Todd Spencer, the president of the Owner Operator Independent Driver Association, thinks the focus should instead be on fixing the staggering turnover rate with better pay and working conditions than lowering the age to obtain a CDL.