FMCSA Announces Pilot Program for Under 21 Interstate Commerce Drivers

Truck driver 21

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has proposed a new pilot program allowing non-military drivers between the ages of 18-20 years old to operate a commercial motor vehicle (CMV) in interstate commerce. Currently, 49 states and the District of Columbia already allow 18 to 20-year-old CDL holders to operate CMVs in intrastate commerce (within state borders); this new program would allow them to cross state borders.

The proposal would allow a limited number of CDL who are already permitted to drive inside the state to participate in a challenging apprenticeship that will help them master interstate driving. Drivers would also be required to meet higher standards for safety and skill requirements. The program is seeking public comments for feedback on safety, feasibility, and possible economic benefits. Currently, the FMCSA has a similar program in place for military drivers, and this new program would expand to those who are non-military.

Who Can Participate?

According to the FMCSA, the pilot program suggests that the following individuals are allowed to participate as long as they fall within two categories:

“1) 18 to 20-year-old commercial driver’s license (CDL) holders who operate CMVs in interstate commerce while taking part in a 120-hour probationary period and a subsequent 280-hour probationary period under an apprenticeship program established by an employer, or

2) 19 and 20-year-old commercial drivers who have operated CMVs in intrastate commerce for a minimum of one year and 25,000 miles.”

In addition, drivers would not be allowed to operate vehicles hauling passengers, hazardous materials, or special configuration vehicles.

How Can DISA Help?

The transportation industry continues to see a shortage of drivers due to the increased demand for delivered goods and services caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. As the FMCSA makes changes to regulations and programs, it’s vital that employers remain up-to-date to ensure they meet and maintain compliance standards. DISA’s Transportation Compliance (DTC) team can assist you with maintaining compliance during such uncertain and everchanging times. Our professionals can help you navigate the complexities of drug and alcohol testing and employment screening regardless of the DOT agency you report to, including FAA, FRA, FTA, FMCSA, PHMSA, and USCG.

Helpful Links:

· FMCSA Proposed Pilot Program

· FMCSA Under 21 Military Drivers Program

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