Under 21 Military Driver Program
Evaluating Under 21 Military Driver Safety in Interstate Commerce
Under Secretary Elaine L. Chao’s leadership, FMCSA is conducting a three-year pilot to determine the feasibility, benefits, and safety impacts of allowing 18-20 year-old military drivers to operate commercial motor vehicles (CMVs) in interstate commerce.
During the three-year program, FMCSA will compare safety records of study group participants to records from a control group of comparable size, comprised of drivers ages 21-24 who have commercial driver’s licenses (CDLs) and comparable training and experience driving commercial trucks. Comparing performance across the two groups will help determine whether age is a critical safety factor.
In addition, the program will help young military reserve and National Guard members attain civilian careers, and may help increase the pool of skilled, responsible commercial interstate drivers.
Section 5404 of the Fixing America’s Surface Transportation (FAST) Act required FMCSA to conduct this research. After the program's data is analyzed, the Secretary of Transportation will report to Congress with recommendations for future CDL licensing criteria.
How the Program Works
FMCSA is coordinating with the military services and motor carrier associations to recruit motor carrier and driver participants.
Drivers can access the list of approved motor carriers (trucking company or related business in interstate commerce) below and apply directly to them.
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 interstate (across state lines).
Military drivers who are 18-20 years old may participate in the program, if they:
- Have received heavy-vehicle driver training and experience while in military service,
- Have a designated military occupational specialty code (MOS) or job rating approved for this program, and
- Are hired by an approved motor carrier.
When participating drivers reach the age of 21, they may continue to drive for participating carriers and possibly serve as part of the driver control group.