Bills in Congress would allow drivers under-21 to operate interstate

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Introduced into both chambers of Congress on Tuesday was a bill that would allow CDL holders under the age of 21 to cross state lines and drive in interstate operations. Currently, federal law only allows CDL holders 21 and older to operate interstate.

The bill, if passed, would also institute new training criteria for such under-21 operators to be able to drive interstate. Those requirements include at least 400 hours of on-duty time and 240 hours of driving time — both with an experienced operator training them. Trucks used for this training would be equipped with active braking systems, forward-facing video recorders and speed governors that cap speeds at 65 mph.

The DRIVE Safe Act was filed in the Senate by Senators Todd Young (R-Indiana) and Jon Tester (D-Montana) and in the House by Reps. Trey Hollingsworth (R-Indiana) and Henry Cuellar (D-Texas).

The legislation was also introduced in both chambers last Congress, though it did not proceed past its introduction.

Though federal law prohibits truck drivers under the age of 21 from crossing state lines, 48 states allow drivers 18 and older to operate Class 8 trucks within state borders. The American Trucking Associations, a strong proponent of the legislation, has argued that it could help mitigate the driver shortage and help the trucking industry tap into a larger pool of prospective career drivers.