The economic initiative of the U.S. Congress is aimed at combating the shortage of drivers of long-distance trunk trucks.
The U.S. government is implementing a plan in which young drivers under the age of 21 will have the right to work as long-distance truck drivers on long-distance intercity routes.
At the moment, truckers driving heavy trucks from state to state must be at least 21 years old. The Congressional proposal, implemented as part of a strategy to overcome the crisis in the supply of goods to the consumer market that arose in the United States as a result of the coronavirus pandemic, will allow young men aged 18 and over to go on long-haul flights.
Drivers who have previously been fined for driving under the influence or provoking accidents will not be able to participate in the program, according to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA).
Opponents of the initiative claim that the pilot program runs counter to statistics saying that young drivers get into more accidents, and say that it is unwise to trust them with multi-ton trucks, which are especially dangerous in serious accidents.
In turn, the American Trucking Association expressed support for this measure aimed at combating the shortage of drivers. According to the association’s estimates, more than 80 thousand truckers are now required in the USA, and the need for cargo transportation reaches a historical maximum.
As part of the pilot program, young drivers can move from state to state during a 120-hour and 280-hour trial period if they are paired with an experienced mentor driver. Trucks used in the program must have an electronic braking collision avoidance system and a forward-facing video camera, and their maximum speed must be limited to 65 mph (about 109 km/h).
After the trial period, young drivers will be able to travel on their own, but companies will be required to monitor them carefully until the age of 21.