FMCSA Releases Details of 18–20-Year-Old Driver Apprenticeship Program

by Jan 19, 2022Idealease, News, Safety, Truck Driver Safety

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration has released the details of its apprenticeship program for 18–20-year-old drivers to operate commercial motor vehicles in interstate commerce. The notice is an Information Collection Request seeking emergency approval by the Office of Management and Budget to move forward with the program. The recently enacted infrastructure legislation requires the Secretary of Transportation to conduct a commercial driver Apprenticeship Pilot Program. An “apprentice” is defined as a person under the age of 21 who holds a commercial driver’s license. Under this program, these apprentices will complete two probationary periods, during which they may operate in interstate commerce only under the supervision of an experienced driver in the passenger seat. An experienced driver is defined as a driver who is not younger than 26 years old, who has held a CDL and been employed for at least the past 2 years, and who has at least 5 years of interstate CMV experience and meets the other safety criteria defined in the Act. The first probationary period must include at least 120-hours of on-duty time, of which at least 80 hours are driving time in a CMV.

To complete this probationary period, the employer must determine competency in:

  • Interstate, city traffic, rural 2-lane, and evening driving
  • Safety awareness
  • Speed and space management
  • Lane control
  • Mirror scanning
  • Right and left turns
  • Logging and complying with rules relating to hours of service

The second probationary period must include at least 280 hours of on-duty time, including not less than 160 hours driving time in a CMV.

To complete this probationary period, the employer must determine competency in:

  • Backing and maneuvering in close quarters
  • Pre-trip inspections
  • Fueling procedures
  • Weighing loads, weight distribution, and sliding tandems
  • Coupling and uncoupling procedures
  • Trip planning, truck routes, map reading, navigation, and permits

After completion of the second probationary period, the apprentice may begin operating CMVs in interstate commerce unaccompanied by an experienced driver.

A driver under the age of 21 may not operate a vehicle in this program to transport passengers or hazardous materials.

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