U.S. to let teens drive big rigs in test program to help ease supply chain shortage
DETROIT — The federal government is moving forward with a plan to let teenagers drive big rigs from state to state in a test program.
Currently, truckers who cross state lines must be at least 21 years old, but an apprenticeship program required by Congress to help ease supply chain backlogs would let 18-to-20-year-old truckers drive outside their home states.
The pilot program, detailed Thursday in a proposed regulation from the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, would screen the teens, barring any with driving-while-impaired violations or traffic tickets for causing a crash.
But safety advocates say the program runs counter to data showing that younger drivers get in more crashes than older ones. They say it’s unwise to let teenage drivers be responsible for rigs that can weigh 80,000 pounds and cause catastrophic damage when they hit lighter vehicles.