Feds nix TCA's young-driver test

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has denied a Truckload Carriers Assn. (TCA) petition for a pilot program that would allow people 18 to 20 years of age to drive commercial vehicles in interstate commerce. FMCSA said it did not have sufficient information to make a determination that the safety measures described in the pilot program would achieve a level of safety at least equal

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has denied a Truckload Carriers Assn. (TCA) petition for a pilot program that would allow people 18 to 20 years of age to drive commercial vehicles in interstate commerce.

FMCSA said it did not have sufficient information to make a determination that the safety measures described in the pilot program would achieve a level of safety at least equal to that provided by the current minimum driving age of 21.

The TCA program, proposed in 2000, would have screened candidate drivers, trained them at approved truck-driving schools, and provided apprenticeships with approved motor carriers until the drivers reached age 21. To be allowed to drive solo, a successful student would have completed one year of training and be at least 19 years of age.

While expressing disappointment over FMCSA's denial of the petition, TCA President Bob Hirsch stated: "I am nonetheless pleased by the fact that FMCSA did not rule out entirely considering a similar pilot in the future. Intended benefits include high-paying entry-level jobs to qualified youths, particularly in disadvantaged areas.

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