FMCSA is requesting a 60-day public comment period to determine whether drivers under age 21 with military experience should operate commercial motor vehicles in interstate commerce.
The program, which will be posted in the Federal Register on July 6, is part of the Fixing America’s Surface Transportation Act 2015 (FAST Act). During the three-year period, FMCSA will study crashes, moving violations, inspection violations, and safety critical events as available of drivers under the age of 21 with military experience.
FMCSA initially proposed this pilot and solicited public comment on Aug. 22, 2016. The prior 60-day notice sought comment on program operations, including whether any additional safeguards are needed to ensure that the pilot provides a level of safety equivalent to current safety levels.
According to the agency, the FAST Act requires the establishment of a data collection program to collect and analyze data regarding crashes involving drivers participating in the pilot program and drivers under the age of 21 operating CMVs in intrastate commerce. A report detailing the findings will be submitted to Congress no later than a year after completing data collection.
The plan for the data collection task is to have approximately 50 motor carriers participating in the pilot program at a time who will then identify and employ at least one under-21 military CDL driver and report their safety and activity data to FMCSA. FMCSA said it expects to include an average of 600 drivers in the study per year.
Because of high driver turnover in commercial trucking and given that many participating drivers will turn 21 through the course of the program, the agency noted participating carriers must work with the project team to add additional drivers to the program over time.
Throughout the program, FMCSA will collect the following information:
- A carrier application (completed once at the time of application) for participation in the pilot program will provide the project team with the carrier’s contact information and demographic data.
- Each participating driver will need to complete a driver background information form and sign an informed consent form, which the carrier will submit on the driver’s behalf. This is a one-time task for each driver.
- On a monthly basis, carriers will submit data on driver activity (e.g., duty hours, driving hours, off-duty time, restart breaks), safety outcomes (e.g., crashes, violations, and safety-critical events) and any additional supporting information (e.g., OBMS logs, investigative reports from previous crashes).
- Carriers will be required to notify FMCSA within 24 hours of: any injury or fatality crashes involving a participating driver, a participating driver receiving an alcohol-related citation (e.g., driving under the influence, driving while intoxicated), a participating driver choosing to leave the pilot program, a participating driver leaving the carrier, or a participating driver failing a random or post-crash drug/alcohol test.