The Missouri House has approved a resolution
calling for the federal government to consider lowering the minimum age for
interstate commercial motor vehicle drivers.
Sponsored by Rep. J.C. Kuessner,
D-Eminence, the House Concurrent Resolution, HCR18, encourages the Federal
Motor Carrier Safety Administration to establish a pilot program to evaluate
lowering the age requirements from 21 years of age to 18.
The resolution also calls on the
federal government to include “behind-the-wheel” training for commercial
drivers, which is something the Owner-Operators Independent Drivers Association
requested when it challenged the FMCSA’s driver training rule. A federal court
ruled in favor of OOIDA in December 2005 and ordered the agency to rewrite the
Rep. Bryan Pratt, R-Blue Springs,
who chairs the Missouri House committee that sent the resolution to the House
floor for consideration, said the resolution amounts to a symbolic gesture.
“The intention was to raise
awareness to the issue. It does not do anything to change state law. It’s
nonbinding,” Pratt told Land Line.
Since April 1992, drivers have
been required by the Federal Highway Administration to have a commercial
driver’s license to get behind the wheel of a commercial motor vehicle.
States are allowed to issue CDLs
to qualified people 18 years of age or older if they are an intrastate
operation. Kuessner’s effort attempts to include interstate operation in the
The resolution also calls for the
FMCSA to “include behind-the-wheel training, mentoring and an evaluation
component” for prospective drivers.
Kuessner wrote that the pilot
program “has the potential of relieving a severe commercial motor vehicle
driver shortage in the states and nation, and creating excellent career
OOIDA Executive Vice President
Todd Spencer said this effort is another tact by carriers to influence public
“They’re trying to put lipstick on
a pig. While it is certainly true the industry is sorely in need of meaningful
required driver training standards and on-the-job training, unfortunately
maturity is not something that can be taught. Accident statistics
overwhelmingly show that younger drivers are going to be involved in more, and
more serious, crashes. If age is any determinant of the likelihood of
accidents, statistics show that we shouldn’t be considering taking it down. We
should consider taking it up,” Spencer said.
The resolution has been sent to
the state’s Senate for consideration. If approved there, it would be presented
to the FMCSA and Missouri’s congressional delegation.
– By Keith Goble, state