Could teenagers fill in the gaps for the trucking industry in the U.S.? There is a severe lack of drivers in the U.S. right now, and that has contributed to all sorts of supply chain problems. If you have noticed empty shelves at the local stores, it’s probably because there aren’t enough truckers to bring boxes of stuff to those stores. It certainly hasn’t helped that the world has been going through a global pandemic, where many people are getting sick and/or staying home. Officials, therefore, have decided to consider allowing teenagers between the ages of 18 and 20 to become truckers.
A New Proposal
There’s a proposed pilot program from the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration that would allow drivers aged 18 to 20 to operate commercial motor vehicles in interstate commerce after completing probationary hours. There would be some limits, though– no passengers, hazardous materials or special configuration vehicles.
In recent times, most states have allowed those 18 or older to become truck drivers, but they couldn’t drive between states until age 21. Therefore, this pilot program could definitely help boost the number of interstate truckers on the roads.
Some groups support this idea and others oppose it. At issue? Safety! People are worried that younger drivers are easily distracted and will have more crashes than older ones. There’s also some talk that teens aren’t necessarily able to correctly analyze dangerous situations.
Teens who want to drive between states would participate in a Safe Driver Apprenticeship Pilot Program. They’d have to meet the standards of their program, and be good apprentices in order to be given the go-ahead to do interstate trucking jobs.
Keep in mind that almost 75% of goods transported in the U.S. are carried by truckers! Our country needs at least 80,000 more truckers, if not more, to keep up with ever-increasing demands.
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