Evaluating Under 21 Military CDL Driver Safety in Interstate Commerce

NOTE: FMCSA is coordinating with the military services and motor carrier associations to recruit driver and motor carrier participants. See current notices.

FMCSA is conducting a three-year pilot program to study the feasibility, benefits, and safety impacts of allowing 18-20 year-old drivers to operate commercial motor vehicles (CMVs) in interstate commerce.  

How the Pilot Study Works
This program will allow 18-20 year-old drivers to participate in this Pilot, if they:

  • Have received heavy-vehicle driver training and experience while in military service,
  • Carry a designated MOS or job rating approved for this Pilot, and 
  • Are sponsored (hired) by a participating motor carrier.  

As part of this pilot program, FMCSA will compare safety records of the study group’s participating drivers to records from a control group of comparable size, comprised of drivers 21-24 who have a commercial driver’s licenses and comparable training and experience driving commercial trucks. 

Comparing performance across the two groups will help determine whether age is a critical safety factor. This comparison will provide data to the Secretary of Transportation, who will report to Congress with recommendations for future commercial driver’s license licensing criteria.

When participating drivers reach the age of 21, they will no longer participate in the program and will be replaced by new study group participants meeting the eligibility requirements.

Section 5404 of the Fixing America’s Surface Transportation (FAST) Act 
Required FMCSA to conduct research on drivers who are 18-20 years of age, are members of the armed forces or reserve components, and who are qualified in a military occupational specialty or rating to operate a CMV or similar vehicle.

The program will enhance opportunities for drivers with relevant military training to enter the CMV industry. 

While many drivers in this age group drive CMVs intrastate (within a single state), drivers younger than 21 cannot currently drive in interstate (across state lines) operations. 

FMCSA has published three Federal Register notices that provide additional information.


August 2016 Federal Register notice regarding the proposed pilot program.
Read the Notice

July 2018 Federal Register notice with additional program details.
Read the Notice

July 2018 Federal Register Information Collection Request to the Office of Management & Budget.
Read the Notice