FMCSA To Initiate pilot to Test 18 – 20-year-old Vets
A so-called Military Pilot Program designed by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration will soon be implemented in order to test the driving ability of 18- to 20-year-old men and women.
The pilot is a provision of the Fixing America’s Surface Transportation Act that would allow the U.S. military personnel between 18 and 21 years of age to operate a commercial motor vehicle in interstate commerce. According to the Fixing America’s Surface Transportation Act, the working group for the project must represent members of the armed forces, drivers, industry, state licensing officials, safety advocacy organizations and enforcement officials.
In order to qualify for the pilot program, all participants must be aged from 18-21, and be a former member of the armed forces or any reserve of it. In addition, they must also hold credentials that qualify them to operate a commercial vehicle.
After the announcement, two major organizations, Truckload Carriers Association and the American Trucking Association, came forward and supported the pilot although holding the view that this pilot program should confine itself to military personnel. A broadened view is what the trucking industry needs right now, they claimed.
Presenting his views, Dave Heller, Truckload Carriers Association’s director of safety and security believed, “With the lack of data out there that surrounds the 18- to 21-year-old driver, any effort to gather that type data we would support entirely. The 18- 21-year-old interstate driver data is obviously an unstudied group.”
While Sean McNally, the vice president of communications at ATA stated, “It’s good news that Congress has created an opportunity for young veterans to transition to the trucking industry and that FMCSA is moving forward with this program,” said Sean McNally, vice president of communications at the American Trucking Associations. “However, we are disappointed that qualified, young, non-military CDL holders cannot have the same opportunity.”
Sean further added, “In our view, that’s illogical since CDL holders as young as 18 years of age currently operate in intrastate commerce in each of the 48 contiguous states. Moreover, limiting the program to veterans under the age of 21 who have military truck driving experience will yield a very small study population. However, we look forward to the results of the study called for by the FAST Act of younger commercial drivers.”
Lastly, a webpage was also launched last week by FMCSA to offer one-stop shop solution, resources and initiatives for military members looking for a transition to normal civilian life, the agency reported. The webpage will be an excellent opportunity for all those who had previously operated large trucks and vehicles in their military careers and now are looking for travel and transportation careers. This comes as good news for the trucking industry as it will get the most out of experienced and skilled drivers.