U.S. To Allow Teen Drivers Drive Big Rigs: Will Help Supply Chain Issues


Different make and models big rig semi trucks with semi trailers standing on the truck stop parking lot under the lighted shelter in night

Photo: Getty Images

In hopes of easing, supply chain issues, the United States will now let teenagers drive big rigs across different states in a new test program that was signed into law on November 15th, 2021.

Right now in the United States, big rig drivers that cross state lines must be 21 years old, but under the new apprenticeship program, 18 to 20-year-old drivers would now be able to cross state lines - in hopes of easing backlog issues.

According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, hopeful drivers would need to be screened. Any drivers with previous driving-while-impaired violations or traffic violations due to a car accident would automatically be barred from becoming a driver.

Congress required this new program as part of the infrastructure bill that was signed on November 15th, 2021. FMSA was required to start the program within 60 days.

The American Trucking Association estimates that currently in the United States there is a shortage of approximately 80,000 drivers. They support the new program as a way to help fill the void of drivers across the nation.

Through the new apprenticeship, drivers would be able to drive across state lines in 120-hour and 280-hour periods with an experienced driver in the passenger seat. Big rigs that would be used in this new program would have to have an electric braking crash mitigation system, speeds will be limited to 65 mph, and a front-facing camera will be required.


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