The state legislature of Alabama has passed a bill that will allow the state to issue Class A commercial driver’s licenses to applicants as young as 18 years old for use in intrastate commerce.
The bill, HB 479, will lower the driving age for commercial drivers for work done within state lines and was done to help trucking companies in the state find new drivers. The bill states that current economic conditions are such that the number of qualified commercial drivers is insufficient to move the amount of available freight.
All new drivers must meet safety training and testing guidelines set forth by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration and the Alabama Law Enforcement Agency, and drivers under the age of 21 may not operate a commercial motor vehicle transporting hazardous material.
Previously, Alabama was one of only two states that prohibited 18 year olds from acquiring a Class A CDL. Once the bill is signed into law by the Alabama Governor Kay Ivey, the new rules would take effect on Feb. 7, 2020.
“This legislation is a win-win for motor carriers, shippers and consumers,” said Frank Filgo, Alabama Trucking Association president. “The ongoing truck driver shortage, now estimated to be more than 60,000 nationally, is a burden to the economy. With the passage of this bill, additional drivers will help advance long-term, sustainable profitability for Alabama motor carriers and suppliers.”