Apprenticeship Pilot Program Allows Teens to Drive Semi Trucks
Faced with a truck driver shortage in the United States, the federal government gives a pilot program the green light to let teens drive large commercial trucks from state to state. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) and Department of Transportation (DOT) made the announcement earlier this month.
Currently, young drivers ages 18 to 20 in most states can drive semi-trucks within their own state, but the new Safe Driver Apprenticeship Pilot Program will allow them to drive big rigs outside their home state.
The program will run up to three years and train as many as 3,000 young truckers. Semi-trucks used in this program will have a forward-facing video camera, an electronic braking crash mitigation system, and their speeds must not exceed 65 mph.
How Does the Apprenticeship Pilot Program Work?
Through the program, drivers 18 to 20 years old must complete 400 probationary hours of training with an experienced truck driver. They can drive on their own after the probation period, but their performance will constantly be monitored until they turn 21. Their driving record will also be thoroughly reviewed before they can participate in the program.
The apprenticeship pilot program is part of President Biden’s infrastructure package, an attempt to ease the nation’s truck driver shortage.
Trade Groups Support the Pilot Program
Trade groups like the American Trucking Associations (ATA) approve of the program and say it would provide a much-needed boost for the trucking industry.
The group estimates a national shortage of more than 80,000 truck drivers, a number that has grown worse during the pandemic. According to an analysis by the ATA, the number of truck drivers in the U.S. dropped 7 percent from 2019 to 2020.
Auto Safety Advocate Groups are Concerned with the New Program
What’s Next for the Pilot Program?
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration is in charge of starting the teen truck driving pilot program within 60 days after the measure was signed into law on November 15, 2021. The start date for the pilot program has not been announced yet.
Watch YouTube Video: Semi-truck Driving Apprenticeship Pilot Program Moving Forward for 18-20-Year-Olds. The video from Scripps National News below discusses the pilot program and safety concerns for young truck drivers.
Contact Our Truck Accident Attorneys in Oakley, CA
An accident with a large commercial truck can cause devastating, life-altering injuries. Call our experienced Oakley truck accident lawyers for free and friendly legal advice if you or a family member was severely hurt in a trucking crash. We can be reached at (925) 428-5220 or (800) 404-5400 or through our online contact form.
Our skilled injury lawyers have helped Oakley and Northern California residents with personal injury and wrongful death cases since 1982.
Photo by Darwis Alwan from Pexels
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