It has been estimated that the trucking industry has lost more than 80,000 drivers over the last three years, with many of those drivers leaving due to failed drug tests and coronavirus. In response to the shortage, the DOT setup an apprenticeship program for drivers under 21. Presently, 49 states and Washington DC give commercial driver licenses (CDL) to drivers under 21 years of age. These drivers, however, can only drive in their own state, but a new DOT program will allow some of those younger drivers to haul freight across state lines. The program, proposed by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) and part of The Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, was created in September 2020 but has not been fully implemented yet. The FMCSA will issue exemptions to normal age restrictions for every young driver admitted into the program. The trucks they will be driving must include certain safety measures, which include forward-facing cameras, automatic emergency braking systems and they will be limited to driving up to 65 miles per hour. The Truck Safety Coalition has objected to this program, citing that younger drivers are more prone to accidents, and The Insurance Institute of Highway Safety stated that there is over a 500% increase in crashes attributed to drivers under 26 years of age, specifically those under 21. Young drivers entering the new DOT program will be seeking CDL examinations, so prepare to see young faces at your clinic soon.
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