FMCSA Asks: Should 18 to 20-Year-Olds Be Allowed To Drive Cross-Country?

Washington D.C. – The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) announced today it is seeking public comment on a potential pilot program that would allow drivers ages 18-20 to operate commercial motor vehicles (CMVs) in interstate commerce.

Drivers ages 18-20 may currently only operate CMVs in intrastate commerce.

In July 2018, USDOT announced the details of the Commercial Driver Pilot Program required under the Fixing America’s Surface Transportation (FAST) Act, which allows certain 18- to 20-year-olds with military training to operate CMVs in interstate commerce.


Today’s action requests comments on a second pilot program to allow non-military drivers ages 18-20 to operate CMVs in interstate commerce.

FMCSA is requesting comments on the training, qualifications, driving limitations, and vehicle safety systems that FMCSA should consider in developing options or approaches for a second pilot program for younger drivers.

“We want input from the public on efforts that offer the potential to create more jobs in the commercial motor vehicle industry, while maintaining the highest level of safety,” FMCSA Administrator Raymond P. Martinez said in the announcement.

“We encourage all CMV stakeholders to submit comments on a potential interstate pilot program for younger drivers,” he urged.

Stay logged on to for REACTION and ANALYSIS to today’s announcement!


How To Comment?

The quickest way to comment is to log on to and follow the online instructions to complete your comment.

However, you can also mail your comment to: Docket Management Facility, U.S. Department of Transportation, 1200, New Jersey Avenue, SE., West Building, Ground Floor, Room W12-140, Washington, DC 20590-0001.

You can hand deliver your comment to: West Building, Ground Floor, Room W12-140, 1200 New Jersey Avenue, SE., between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m., Monday through Friday, except Federal holidays.

You can also fax your comment to: 1-202-493-2251

It’s IMPORTANT to note when making a comment, you must include the DOCKET NO. which is: Docket ID FMCSA-2018-0346



What Specifically Is FMCSA Asking?

The FMCSA is asking commenters to address a host of issues. The questions are included below for your reference now or in the future.


1.) What data are currently available on the safety performance (e.g. crash involvement, etc.) of 18-20-year-old drivers operating CMVs in intrastate commerce?

2.) Are there concerns about obtaining insurance coverage for drivers under 21 who operate CMVs in intrastate commerce, and would these challenges be greater for interstate operations?


Training and Experience

1.) What is the minimum driving experience that should be required for a driver to be admitted to a pilot?

2.) Should there be a requirement for experience driving non-commercial vehicles (e.g., to hold a regular driver’s license for some minimum period of time)?

3.) Should there be a requirement for experience driving a CMV in intrastate commerce for some minimum period of time? If so, what should that period be and how should it be measured (e.g., time with a CDL, hours driven, vehicle miles traveled) and why?

4.) Is there a minimum amount of time a younger driver should be required to hold a CLP or CDL? If so, how long and why? Are there driver training topics that should be required for younger drivers beyond those covered in the ELDT final rule? If so, what are they and why?

5.) What kind of supervision, and how much, should be required for drivers under 21 in a pilot?

6.) Should there be any specific training / qualification requirements for mentors, supervisors or co-drivers? If so, what type of training or qualifications?

7.) Should FMCSA require that participating motor carriers establish a formal apprenticeship program according to Department of Labor Standards? If so, why?


Operational Requirements

1.) Should there be time or distance restrictions on younger drivers? If so, what should these be and why?

2.) Should younger drivers have more limited hours of service, such as a maximum of 8 hours of driving each day? If so, what limits should be applied and why?

3.) Should younger drivers be prohibited from transporting hazardous materials, passengers, and/or operating tank vehicles or oversize/overweight vehicles? Should there be other restrictions?

Requirements for Participation

1.) What safety standards should participating motor carriers have to meet? Are the requirements from the Under 21 Military Pilot Program appropriate?

2.) What safety standards should participating drivers have to meet? Are the requirements from the Under 21 Military Pilot program appropriate?

3.) What action(s) should the Agency consider taking if drivers in this pilot program are convicted of violations while operating in interstate commerce?

4.) At what point should FMCSA remove a driver or motor carrier from a pilot program?


Technology Requirements

1.) Should FMCSA include requirements for safety equipment or on-board recording systems in a pilot program for younger CMV drivers? If so, what equipment and why?

2.) Are the technologies proposed in the DRIVE-Safe Act appropriate?

3.) Should FMCSA include other technologies? If so, what technologies are



1.) Will insurance companies be willing to cover younger drivers operating CMVs in interstate commerce?

2.) What is the surcharge for insuring a younger driver?

3.) Will motor carriers be able to afford the insurance coverage for these younger drivers?


Research and Data

1.) What type of data could be provided to the Agency to evaluate the safety performance of drivers under 21 who operate in intrastate commerce, e.g., State- managed safety performance data?

2.) Are traffic violations, crashes, and inspection violations adequate to allow a comparison of safety records? If not, what other safety performance measures should be used?

3.) What research should the Agency consider to assess the safety impacts of younger interstate CMV drivers.

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Comment (1)

  1. My name is Tyler Tucker and I am 19 years old. I am not a CDL holder but I am about to start my CDL schooling soon. This is my opinion about this whole ordeal: I believe that we 18-20 year olds should be allowed to drive these CMV across the state lines of our states since we can join the military as young as 17 years old and we can fight for our country. Yes, we get all the discipline and maturity if we go to the military but what if we choose not to go to the military. The military isn’t for everyone. An idea that would help the young truck drivers get more used to driving these big vehicles would be to create a Graduated Learning Program, one like all the new teen drivers gotta go through when they get their Learner’s Permit. I know that helped me be a safe driver and helped my parents to slowly let me drive more and trust me. My dad has been an OTR truck driver for almost 20 years and he has helped me learn about the trucking industry and what happens in the day to day life of driving. I believe there should be a pilot program to give us a chance to show that we can handle the responsibilities of this career. I know some truckers will be like we don’t need these inexperienced drivers driving across the country endangering the highways, well everybody starts out as inexperienced on everything. There’s times when I’m driving down the road and I see drivers of both CMVs and automobiles driving all over the road or talking on their phones without being hands-free. We can’t prove that we can go drive cross country unless the laws gives us a chance.


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