The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has started matching up drivers with carriers as part of its pilot project allowing drivers between the ages of 18 and 20 with military experience to haul interstate freight.
Werner Enterprises [NASDAQ: WERN], UPS [NYSE: UPS] subsidiary UPS Freight and Prime Inc. are among the largest of the initial trucking companies participating in the pilot project, according to a new website unveiled by FMCSA on Oct. 28. Military service members, reservists, National Guard, active duty or veterans who have the equivalent of a commercial driver’s license can use the website to learn about job opportunities available with participating motor carriers.
“Our country has a shortage of truck drivers. This resource will help military service members translate their training into good-paying jobs safely operating commercial vehicles across the country,” commented U.S. Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao.
FMCSA Deputy Administrator Jim Mullen added, “With our country’s economy growing at record pace, we know motor carriers around the country are looking to hire skilled drivers. We encourage servicemembers, National Guard and reservists to visit this online directory and look for a trucking job today.”
During the three-year pilot program, which started in June, safety records of participating drivers will be compared to the records of a control group to help determine whether a driver’s age is a critical safety factor.
Former FMCSA Administrator Ray Martinez acknowledged at a congressional hearing earlier this year that getting at least 200 drivers signed up for the project – the number envisioned when the project was announced in 2018 – could be difficult.
But the agency also noted that the program is being launched “at a time of sustained job growth for the U.S. economy,” citing federal job data showing that the country’s unemployment rate fell to a 50-year low of 3.5% in September.
Martinez pointed out at the hearing that he’s the agency will be able to get more accurate information on under-21 driver safety through a broader pilot program that will be open to nonmilitary drivers as well. The agency received more than 1,000 comments on the proposal, the launch of which is still pending.