FMCSA extends comment period on pilot program for younger drivers

July 15, 2019

Mark Schremmer

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The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration has extended the comment period regarding the possibility of a nonmilitary pilot program to allow under-21 drivers to operate a commercial motor vehicle in interstate commerce.

The comment period was set to end July 15 but has been extended until Aug. 14, the agency has announced. The American Trucking Associations requested the extension.

In July 2018, FMCSA published a notice announcing the details of a pilot program that would allow 18- to 20-year-old military veterans and reservists to drive interstate. A possible second pilot program would involve nonmilitary drivers.

The Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association is against the continued efforts to allow younger truck drivers to cross state lines, saying it would lead to a decrease in safety and allow large motor carriers to pay lower wages.

“OOIDA naturally has concerns about efforts by large motor carriers to allow teenagers to become interstate drivers,” said Collin Long, OOIDA’s director of government affairs. “First and foremost, research and data has consistently indicated younger drivers are less safe behind the wheel than their older counterparts.”

FMCSA requests comments on the training, qualifications, driving limitations, and vehicle safety systems the agency should consider in developing options or approaches for a second pilot program for younger 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,” the FMCSA Administrator Ray Martinez said in a news release. “We encourage all commercial motor vehicle stakeholders to submit comments on a potential interstate pilot program for younger drivers.”

Comments will be accepted until Aug. 14 and can be submitted at Regulations.gov by including Docket ID FMCSA-2018-0346, or by mailing Docket Management Facility; U.S. Department of Transportation; 1200 New Jersey Ave. SE; West Building Ground Floor Room W-12-140; Washington, D.C. 20590-0001.

Mark Schremmer

Mark Schremmer, staff writer, joined Land Line in 2015. An award-winning journalist and former assistant news editor at The Topeka Capital-Journal, he brings fresh ideas, solid reporting skills, and nearly two decades of journalism experience to our staff.