Truck drivers younger than 21 required to complete apprenticeship program before taking the wheel
BATON ROUGE - The pandemic has placed an enormous amount of pressure on every industry, including truck drivers who were already struggling prior to the recent labor shortage.
That's why the Drive SAFE Act, signed as part of President Biden's recent infrastructure bill, will allow drivers as young as 18 to operate large trucks. In order to qualify, they must complete a lengthy training process before they can start working.
“As far as training, they’re going to be more like an apprentice. So you can’t just get your CDL like before and go out and drive. They’re going to be required to drive with someone who has experience who obviously the company can trust before they can go out and get their CDL," said Renee Amar with the Louisiana Motor Transport Association.
Driving candidates will complete a two-part apprenticeship with an experienced driver. The apprenticeship could take up to a year, according to Amar.
The 18-wheelers driven by 18-20 year olds will also incorporate more technology, including speed limiters set at 65 miles per hour or less, and anti-collision brakes.
“So we believe that when it’s all said and done this is going to be the safest of the safe and the cream of the crop that’s gonna come out of this program," said Amar.
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