U.S. Secretary of Transportation Elaine L. Chao, joined Nebraska Senator Deb Fischer and Congressman Don Bacon to announce that the Department of Transportation will launch a pilot program to permit 18-20 year olds who possess the U.S. Military equivalent of a commercial driver’s license (CDL) to operate large trucks in interstate commerce.
“This program will allow our Veterans and Reservists, to translate their extensive training into good-paying jobs operating commercial vehicles safely across the country, while also addressing the nationwide driver shortage,” said Secretary Chao.
As directed by Section 5404 of the Fixing America’s Surface Transportation (FAST) Act, the pilot program will grant a limited number of individuals between the ages of 18 and 20 to operate large trucks in interstate commerce—provided they possess the Military equivalent of a CDL and are sponsored by a participating trucking company.
“As our nation prepares to celebrate Independence Day, Secretary Chao and I were excited to highlight a program I helped champion to provide truck driver jobs to young veterans,” said Senator Fischer.
“This innovative program offers a way for our younger Veterans and Reservists to transition to the civilian workforce. I personally thank Secretary Chao and officials with the DOT who continue to find ways to utilise the training and talent of the men and women who served in uniform for our country,” said Congressman Bacon.
During the pilot program, which is slated to run for three years, the safety records of these drivers will be compared to the records of a control group of drivers.
An advance copy of the pilot program is available on FMCSA’s website at https://www.fmcsa.dot.gov/under-21-pilot-program-frn.
Before the pilot program can officially commence, FMCSA is required by Federal statute to allow a public comment period, followed by the Agency’s published responses in the Federal Register.