FMCSA Proposes Promising Pilot Program

On September 4, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) proposed a pilot program that would allow 18-, 19- and 20-year-old drivers to operate commercial motor vehicles (CMVs) in interstate commerce, a move hailed by FMCSA Deputy Administrator Wiley Deck as an opportunity that will allow the agency to “carefully examine safety, feasibility and possible economic benefits.”

Aimed at curbing the industry’s aging workforce and overall driver shortage, the program seeks to bring data into the initiative to safely remove barriers to entry for the next generation of operators. As 2020 began, the American Trucking Associations estimated a current shortage of over 60,000 drivers, a number that’s expected to rise to over 100,000 in next five years and top more than 160,000 in the five years following, as older operators retire.

Currently, 18- to 20-year-olds are only allowed to operate CMVs in intrastate commerce in 49 states. The FMCSA program would expand on that, permitting drivers to participate if they fall into either of two categories:

1) 18- to 20-year-old commercial driver’s license (CDL) holders who would 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.

Additionally, study group drivers would be prohibited to operate special configuration vehicles hauling passengers or hazardous materials.

The feasibility study is modeled after the DRIVE-Safe Act, bipartisan legislation currently under consideration in the House and Senate that would encourage younger individuals to join the trucking industry. Enhancing safety and training standards, the proposed bill includes a two-step program for prospective young drivers to complete once they obtain a CDL. As the legislation presently stands, these drivers would be required to log 400 hours of on-duty time and 240 hours of driving time with an experienced driver in the cab after earning a CDL. Once completed, the young driver would be able to participate in interstate commerce.

Program proponents are optimistic that the project’s data will put additional pressure on Congress to create a more permanent path for younger driver participation in this essential industry. If you’d like assistance navigating current transportation and logistics industry business conditions, contact us and visit the Schneider Downs Transportation & Logistics Industry Group. For additional industry articles, visit the Our Thoughts On blogsite.

You’ve heard our thoughts… We’d like to hear yours

The Schneider Downs Our Thoughts On blog exists to create a dialogue on issues that are important to organizations and individuals. While we enjoy sharing our ideas and insights, we’re especially interested in what you may have to say. If you have a question or a comment about this article – or any article from the Our Thoughts On blog – we hope you’ll share it with us. After all, a dialogue is an exchange of ideas, and we’d like to hear from you. Email us at [email protected].

Material discussed is meant for informational purposes only, and it is not to be construed as investment, tax, or legal advice. Please note that individual situations can vary. Therefore, this information should be relied upon when coordinated with individual professional advice.

© 2021 Schneider Downs. All rights-reserved. All content on this site is property of Schneider Downs unless otherwise noted and should not be used without written permission.

our thoughts on
Welcome News for the Trucking Industry - Clarification of 100% Meals and Entertainment Deduction for Per Diems
Estates and Trusts Tax Update - November 2021
Lease Accounting Guidelines for the Trucking Industry
President Biden Signs K-12 Cybersecurity Act into Law
Schneider Downs Trucking Industry White Paper Series
Biden Administration Announces First Ever Sanctions Against Cryptocurrency Exchange
Register to receive our weekly newsletter with our most recent columns and insights.
Have a question? Ask us!

We’d love to hear from you. Drop us a note, and we’ll respond to you as quickly as possible.

Ask us
contact us

This site uses cookies to ensure that we give you the best user experience. Cookies assist in navigation, analyzing traffic and in our marketing efforts as described in our Privacy Policy.