The U.S. Department of Transportation took steps this week to help alleviate the truck driver shortage affecting carriers nationwide.
The department's Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) said Monday it launched a job opportunities website designed to help 18- to 20-year olds who have the military equivalent of a commercial driver's license (CDL) apply for jobs with interstate trucking companies.
The job opportunity site is part of the FMCSA's Under 21 Military Driver Pilot Program, launched in June and aimed at addressing a driver shortfall many trucking and transportation companies say they are experiencing. The program is designed to widen the pool of potential candidates for open jobs, which is limited to drivers age 21 and older for interstate commerce. Currently, 48 states allow individuals to obtain a CDL and drive trucks at age 18, but federal regulations prevent those drivers from crossing state lines until they turn 21.
FMCSA said its pilot program will allow a limited number of individuals between the ages of 18 and 20 operate large trucks in interstate commerce. During the pilot program, which is slated to run for up to three years, FMCSA will compare the safety records of these drivers to the records of a control group of drivers to help determine whether age is a critical safety factor, the department said.
"Our country has a shortage of truck drivers. This resource will help military service members translate their training into good-paying jobs safely operating commercial vehicles across the country," U.S. Transportation Secretary Elaine L. Chao said in a statement announcing the resource.
Interested service members, reservists, National Guard, active duty, or military veterans who have the equivalent of a CDL can use the job listing resource to learn more about job opportunities that are available with participating motor carriers.