EMBED >More News Videos After more than 5 million people signed an online petition, the governor of Colorado has reduced the 110-year sentence for truck driver Rogel Aguilera-Mederos to just 10 years.
They say it's unwise to let teenage drivers be responsible for rigs that can weigh 80,000 pounds and cause catastrophic damage when they hit lighter vehicles.The apprenticeship pilot program was required by Congress as part of the infrastructure bill signed into law Nov. 15.
It requires the FMCSA, which is part of the Transportation Department, to start the program within 60 days.The American Trucking Associations, a large industry trade group, supports the measure as a way to help with a shortage of drivers.
Trucks used in the program have to have an electronic braking crash mitigation system, a forward facing video camera, and their speeds must be limited to 65 mph.After probation, they can drive on their own, but companies have to monitor their performance until they are 21.
"This program creates a rigorous safety training program, requiring an additional 400 hours of advanced safety training, in which participants are evaluated against specific performance benchmarks," Geale said.
The program will ensure that the industry has enough drivers to meet growing freight demands, he said.But Peter Kurdock, general counsel for Advocates for Highway & Auto Safety, said federal data shows that younger drivers have far higher crash rates than older ones.
He fears the industry will use skewed data from the program to push for teenage truckers nationwide. »