x
Breaking News
More () »

Feds looking to lower age requirement for semi-truck drivers amid national shortage

The program is an attempt by the federal government to ease some supply chain issues related to interstate driving.

BEAUMONT, Texas — Federal regulators are looking to lower the age requirement for semi-truck drivers with a new program.

The program is an attempt by the federal government to ease some supply chain issues related to interstate driving.

We drive past them every day, big rigs, also known as 18-wheelers. They are everywhere, but the current reality out on the road is that there are not enough drivers.

The American Trucking Association said the industry is short by about 80,000 drivers.

This pilot program required by Congress would allow 18 to 20-year-old drivers the ability to make journeys outside of their home state across the country.

Alan Artola, 18, is training for his CDL license at the Lamar Institute of Technology. He wants this pilot program to succeed.

“I really hope so because there is a lot of lowes coming in and out of Texas,” Artola said. “So, it will not only help the economy but also give a lot of young drivers more opportunities to drive out. I mean I am excited for it. I'm all for it. I would be able to drive interstate instead of intrastate. I'm all for it."

This pilot program would have strategic regulations in place. During a driver's probationary period, an experienced driver must also ride along.     

Marc Jones the director of the trucking school said we need these younger drivers.

“That young right out of high school,” Jones said. “With the older drivers retiring. Moving into different parts of their lives. We need to continue to bring in younger drivers in, that can have longevity in this industry.”

And many of Jones' students want a long career behind the wheel. Just ask Artola, he's got plans for his future.

“My dad has a trucking business, and I see him driving all the time,” Artola said. “There is a lot of money-making opportunities, but I have gone with him many times, on lots of trips. I did enjoy it so he told me go get your license you can drive with me.”

The current program at LIT lasts six weeks and ends with students working and ready for a CDL license.

Also on 12NewsNow.com ...