Message to Congress on “Teen Truckers” Pilot Program

  • August 5, 2021
150 150 Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety

Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety (Advocates) sent the message below to Congress on August 5, 2021:

Dangerous pilot program allowing “teen truckers” to drive large trucks in interstate commerce must be stripped.

Provision could result in 25,000 young drivers a year, 75,000 over the three-year life of the program, behind the wheel of big rig trucks.

Proposals to lower the age for truck drivers to operate in Interstate commerce are widely opposed, and for good reason.  Fatal truck crashes continue to occur at an alarmingly high rate.  Commercial motor vehicle (CMV) drivers under the age of 19 are four times more likely to be involved in fatal crashes and CMV drivers between the ages of 19 and 20 are six times more likely to be involved in fatal crashes than all truck drivers. Clearly, this sweeping anti-safety effort doesn’t belong in the infrastructure bill.  Still not convinced?  Read on for compelling reasons to support its removal:

  • ICYMI: See below story from HuffPost, “Infrastructure Deal Could Pave Way For 18-Year-Old Truck Drivers” (8/2/2021)
  • Read this message to Congress from Russ Swift, Co-Chair of Parents Against Tired Truckers (P.A.T.T.)“Nearly 28 years ago, October 14, 1993, our 23-year-old son, Jasen, died a violent death, early in the morning on a dark road, because of breathtakingly bad judgment by a 17-year-old truck driver.  The circumstances that led to his death have changed little since then.  It is incomprehensible to me that Congress is yet again considering legislation allowing 18–20-year-olds to get behind the wheel of massive 18-wheelers on interstate highways throughout the nation.  This is a terrible idea…”  More here.
  • See this letter from safety advocates, truck drivers, and labor representatives, “The trucking industry is facing a retention crisis, not a driver shortage…Instead of advancing initiatives that will not address the retention issue but instead will degrade public safety, the industry should be focused on keeping drivers through improved safe working conditions.” (6/2/2021)
  • Hear from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) regarding the so-called “driver shortage,” — “the labor market for truck drivers works about as well as the labor markets for other blue-collar occupations” and “a deeper look [at the truck industry labor market] does not find evidence of a secular shortage.” (March 2019)

Truck Crashes Have Gone Up. The Truck Driving Age Could Go Down.
A bipartisan provision to lower the commercial driving age to 18 will likely be in the infrastructure bill. Advocates are calling it an industry handout.

By Arthur Delaney

People under the age of 21 could get a chance to work as long-haul truck drivers thanks to a bipartisan infrastructure bill that could soon pass the U.S. Senate.

After weeks of negotiations, senators over the weekend finally released the legislative text of their bill, which would allocate more than $500 billion to fix up roads and bridges, improve passenger rail and expand broadband internet access… (CLICK HERE FOR FULL STORY)