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FMCSA opens up carrier registrations for under-21 driver pilot program

From Fleet Owner.

Registration opened this week for fleets looking to participate in Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s Safe Driver Apprenticeship Pilot Program, which will study how younger drivers operate in interstate commerce.

Up to 3,000 commercial drivers between 18 and 20 years old will be accepted into the program, which is backed by the departments of Transportation and Labor and is part of the 2021 Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act. Professional drivers younger than 21 are not permitted to operate beyond their home state. This pilot program would grant those drivers exemptions from this federal law.

FMCSA is seeking up to 1,000 motor carriers to participate in the program, according to Nikki McDavid, chief of the Commercial Driver’s License Division in the FMCSA’s Office of Safety Programs. The agency is also looking for fleets of all sizes and operations across the country to gather as much diverse data, she added.

“Safety is our focus and will remain our focus for the entire duration of the pilot program,” McDavid said during an FMCSA information session she led on July 25.

As part of the safety focus, only carriers in the highest standing with FMCSA can participate in the pilot program. Participating drivers younger than 21 must have a valid CDL and clean driving record (no past license suspension, traffic law or DUI convictions, driving-related felonies, or refusals to take a drug or alcohol test, etc.).

The pilot requires those young apprentices to be in trucks with automated manual transmissions, active braking collision mitigation systems, in-cab cameras, and a governed speed of 65 mph. They also must complete training periods under the supervision of an experienced commercial driver in the passenger seat.

See the complete article online at Fleet Owner.