Should Teens Be Allowed to Drive Big Rigs on Interstate Routes?

It’s no secret that the trucking industry is experiencing a worker shortage. Is the answer to that
problem allowing teens to drive trucks on interstate routes?

The recently approved Senate infrastructure bill includes a provision that would set up a teen
trucking pilot program. This would allow teens 18 to 20 years old to participate in driving
tractor-trailers across state lines. Currently, one needs to be 21 to get a commercial driver’s
license to drive interstate.

There are advantages and drawbacks to this solution, depending on who you ask. Read on for an
overview of the debate.

Why let teens drive interstate?

Since the trucking industry is experiencing a worker shortage, it makes sense to open up the
available worker pool. Trucking can be a grueling job—the older you get, the harder it is to drive
long hours every day. Spending time away from home and family is also less appealing when
you’re older. Younger truck drivers may not have those same ties. They’re also eager to get out
and start making their own way.

Proponents of younger interstate truckers point out that a lot of teenagers are already driving
long distances every day. In large states like California and Texas, it’s not uncommon to drive
400 or more miles within state lines. Is it really that different, just because they’re crossing state

Finally, the pilot program would require that younger truckers get an additional 400 hours of
safety training: another safety measure that will protect truckers and others on the road.

Arguments against allowing younger interstate truckers

Some people and organizations are adamantly against teens driving big rigs on interstate routes.
First, opening up the worker pool doesn’t address the core issues with the industry. These include
low pay, spending too much time away from home and demanding work conditions. A lot of
truckers trade in their CDLs for other blue collar professions, like construction. In fact, the issue
might not be a worker shortage at all. Instead, worker turnover is driving the issues within the
trucking industry.

Another reason to reject teen drivers is safety. With lax supervision on the road—and the fact
that teens already are more likely to get into highway accidents—long, grueling days of driving
may pose a danger to everyone else on the road. Is the potential human cost worth the expanded
job opportunity?

Should teens be behind the wheel?

Ultimately, teens driving big rigs on interstate routes is an issue for the House to resolve.
Whichever side of the debate you fall upon, you can call your Congressional representatives and
senators to make your opinion known. As a truck driver, you possess knowledge and skills that
your government representatives may not.

Whatever the rules for teens and trucking, Energy Trucking is committed to complying. We take
federal, state and local regulations very seriously. Whether you need freight hauling or want to
work with us, we’re here to help. Call us today to get started