We’ve all seen the empty store shelves — everything from food to toys to health care items to, in some cases, toilet paper (again). And we’ve all heard the stories about global supply chain issues, a complex problem with many moving (and, not moving) parts. Part of the problem in the U.S. is we don’t have enough long-haul commercial truck drivers to meet the demand. As drivers of the Baby Boom generation are retiring, fewer younger drivers are stepping up to fill those vacancies.
Until now, the minimum age to obtain an interstate commercial driver’s license (CDL) was 21. But with President Biden’s massive $1 trillion infrastructure bill signed into law last month, a new provision will give younger, teenage drivers a shot at getting their interstate truck driving licenses.
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration is behind a pilot apprenticeship program that will allow trucking companies to hire and train interstate commercial truck drivers as young as 18 years old. Proponents of the program say it will help replace the aging generation of long-haul truckers, and get freight stuck in supply chain limbo moving again. Opponents point to data that says teenage drivers are four times as likely to be involved in traffic crashes (due to lack of experience and poor judgment), and they fear more deadly truck accidents on our nation’s highways.