Lowering the CDL age in the U.S. a mistake: OOIDA

by Truck News

GRAIN VALLEY, Mo. – The Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association (OOIDA) is calling on the U.S. House of Representatives to block efforts to lower the age at which a commercial driver’s license can be obtained.

The organization sent a letter to the committee on transportation and infrastructure saying the move would be detrimental to road safety, as well as those seeing to enter the trucking industry as professional drivers.

Two legislative proposals in the U.S. would allow those over the age of 18 to operate a commercial motor vehicle and take it over state lines.

The bills currently before the House are H.R. 5358, the Developing Responsible Individuals for a Vibrant Economy (DRIVE-Safe) Act and H.R. 3889, the Waiving Hindrances to Economic Enterprise and Labor (WHEEL) Act.

While groups like the American Trucking Associations (ATA) have been lobbying for the younger ages in order to help fleets facing an unprecedented driver shortage, the OOIDA argues the age change will put all road users at risk.

The letter says that CMV drivers under the age of 20 are four to six times more likely to be involved in a fatal crash than those that are older.

“We think it’s irresponsible to put young drivers behind the wheel of a truck in order to avoid addressing the real problems of high turnover,” said Todd Spencer, acting president of OOIDA. “The focus should instead be on fixing the staggering turnover rate with better pay and working conditions.”

The letter also mentions a previous attempt to lower the CDL age to 18 in 2001. That attempt was unsuccessful.

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  • OOIDA’s position, aimed at protecting the increased rate structure owner-operators are now enjoying due to the lack of drivers for the available freight, has an added benefit.
    It seriously stunts the potential growth of the driver force available to carriers, regardless of whether they are company drivers or owner-operators, and provides a significant incentive for carriers and shippers alike to hasten the development and use of the fully autonomous truck.
    While the use of the full autonomous truck will not negate a job for a company driver, as that driver will simply switch seats from inside a truck, driving, to an office seat, monitoring the autonomous truck, but it certainly will negate the need for the owner-operator.
    The fully autonomous truck is the inevitable future. OOIDA would be better to position themselves as part of the future, and become a partner at the table to ensure the future of the owner-operator, regardless of the technology moving the truck down the road, instead of desperately trying to hold onto the past.
    Imagine, if you will, an OOIDA that wields its weight as a significant force to ensure the future of owner-operators. The aggregate buying power alone is greater than the top five, probably top ten, carriers alone.
    The sooner OOIDA gets its head out of 1975 White Line Fever days, the sooner the owner-operator community can start mapping its future into the coming decades.
    I seriously doubt OOIDA can survive if they don’t stop being a voice for the past and start becoming a voice for the future.

  • Want to stop the high turnover and driver shortage? Pay us what we’re worth and treat us as people, not machines!

  • !8 years old is way too young and not mature enough to go on the road with a 80000lbs unit.
    Unless there is a training system done from either the school and a on the job training than when the kid reach 20 years old he would have made his mind on the type of job he wants to do and what kind of money he is looking to make.

  • Yes William you’re right you guys need to be paid that’s what we do here localboyzz Trucking if you’re worth good money you get paid good money if not accomplish that goal I know as far as the 18 year old age limit out of state goes I know a lot of kids that can do that but it could be scary have a good day be safe. Piece