The American Trucking Associations (ATA) is looking to lower the truck driving age down to 18 years old. The primary reason is that the greater need for hauling freight has resulted in a truck driver shortage. In order to relieve the issue, the ATA is seeking to lower the minimum truckdriver age and place it in the new highway bill that is currently being debated.
The issue is not without controversy as many people, especially experienced truck drivers feel that 18 and 19 year olds are simply not mature enough to handle the rigors of driving large vehicles over a long period of time. Representatives of the ATA seem to agree that not everyone who is 18 or 19 should be behind the wheel of a big rig. However, they believe that there are enough young people with the capabilities of driving a truck who should not be denied after reaching what most people consider to be the legal age of adulthood.
The belief is that if the truck driver gets the right training and oversight, they can develop quickly into becoming excellent drivers on the road. However, there will no doubt be a great deal of monitoring on this issue. However, the ATA is also working on other issues as well such as changing back the hours-of-service restart and promoting a new fuel tax to help support the Highway Trust Fund which is sorely in need of new funding to help fix bridges and roads around the country.
The federal minimum truck driver age is 21. However this only applies to drivers who cross state lines. In states the age for becoming a commercial truck driver is 18, however they are usually not exposed to the very long drives experienced by those who cross state lines. So, while the question of whether an 18 year old can successfully handle a big truck is not really in question, it is still up for debate about whether they have the maturity to drive a truck for the long hours necessary across the country.
The ATA is also convinced that they are losing 18 to 21 year olds who come out of high school and looking to go into some type of trade rather than college. However, because they are prevented from driving a truck across state lines many of them will go into the fields rather than becoming a truck driver. The ATA hopes to reverse that trend by allowing 18 year olds to achieve the same status as older truck drivers.
Another issue that is hoped to be addressed is the average age of the truck driver which has steadily gotten older over the past few decades. If the trend is not reversed, then it will put a large crunch on the transportation industry as the Baby Boomer generation retires and far fewer drivers take their place. Reducing the minimum truck driver age just may be the boost needed for the industry which has been suffering in recent years from a dearth of new, skilled drivers entering the work force.
This article is sponsored by: SpearsJobs.com