This has been a hot topic for years. Currently, to be an Interstate Driver you have to be 21 years of age. What is being proposed is to change the requirement to 18 years of age. Many are banging on the maturity level of 18-year-olds; does your age determine how mature you are? They are also saying that they barely have experience driving a car; putting them behind the wheel of a big rig is not safe. Big Associations like OOIDA (the Owner Operator’s Independent Driver Association) is fighting hard against this change. They are stating that allowing younger drivers to obtain CDL’s would “…not only be detrimental to road safety, but also to those seeking to enter the trucking industry as professional drivers.”
Wow…I’d say that is a bit much. They must not know that anyone that is 18 years of age can currently get a CDL; they just can’t cross state lines until they are 21 years of age. As with most professions, skills and learning are required. One of the legislative proposals H.R. 5358, the Developing Responsible Individuals for a Vibrant Economy (DRIVE Safe) Act seems like a better thought process and path to be taking. I can’t agree with everything in the DRIVE Safe Act, but I think it is moving in the right direction.
I believe, as with most things, skills are acquired by learning. So let’s change the way we approach the CDL. Make it mandatory for people to have to take schooling to get a CDL. Make the schooling something useful and accountable. Put a training guideline and requirements in place that all schools have to abide by in order to have a program and successfully graduate a student from the program. 18-year-olds are getting CDL’s, but the trucking industry’s safety and professionalism are not in question because of 18-year-olds; it is in question because of the unprofessional, unskilled, undertrained people that are driving around currently with a CDL.
You can’t turn on the TV or hit the social media highway without seeing some sort of complaint, accident, or meme about the trucking industry. The only way to correct the way truckers are viewed and the safety of all drivers on the road is to train and help build up the skills needed to be a professional truck driver. We have partnered with Riverland Community College; our partnership along with a few other credible companies and the awesome instructor, Johnathan, have taken the time to build a program that not only produces CLD Drivers but produces professional CDL Drivers!