BELOW IS A MESSAGE FROM ATA PRESIDENT AND CEO CHRIS SPEAR ANNOUNCING THE PILOT PROGRAM ALLOWING 18-20 YEAR OLDS TO DRIVE IN INTERSTATE COMMERCE
September 4, 2020
Dear ATA Members:
FMCSA announced today a proposed pilot program that would allow non-military 18-20 year olds to operate commercial vehicles across state lines. The pilot program is modeled on the bipartisan DRIVE Safe Act, a Tier 1 strategic policy issue for ATA, and one that ATA’s Workforce Development and Safety Policy Committees have pursued. ATA thanks Transportation Secretary Chao and Acting FMCSA Administrator Wiley Deck for putting safety first and using data to drive policy.
This is a significant step toward improving safety on our nation’s roads, setting a standard for these drivers that is well beyond what 49 states currently require.
ATA has co-led the DRIVE Safe Act Coalition with the International Foodservice Distributors of America, and has the support of more than 90 other national trade associations and companies. The DRIVE SAFE Act legislation is co-sponsored by 144 congressmen and 34 senators.
The pilot proposal would allow a limited number of CDL holders already permitted to drive inside the state with the opportunity to participate in a rigorous apprenticeship program designed to help them master interstate driving, while also promoting enhanced safety. The pilot program would require drivers to meet safety and skill requirements far and above current standards.
This announcement follows a May 2019 initial request for comments on the training, qualifications, driving limitations, and vehicle safety systems that FMCSA should consider in developing the program. ATA provided robust comments on behalf of our members in support of that original request, many of which are in the new proposal.
The existing strong bipartisan support for the Drive SAFE Act in Congress, coupled with new data from this pilot program, will put additional pressure on Congress to create a permanent path for more young professionals to fully participate in our industry.
Once published in the Federal Register, the proposed pilot program will have a 60-day comment period, and we encourage you to provide comments, along with ATA. If you have any questions, please contact ATA VP of Workforce Nicholas Geale or VP of Safety Policy Dan Horvath.
Special thanks to our members and leaders including Barry Pottle, John M. Smith, Randy Guillot and Sherri Garner Brumbaugh for their strong advocacy.
This is a great step forward in bringing a younger generation of talent into our industry.
President & CEO