(WEHT)- In most states, you have to be 16 to get a driver’s license, but how about driving semis across state lines? As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to highlight supply chain issues, partially brought on by a shortage of qualified truck drivers, some drivers and instructors are welcoming a federal program to allow drivers as young as 18 years old to drive trucks across state lines.
Vic Chamness, who oversees Ivy Tech’s CDL program that helps get drivers the license they need to operate trucks, says the change was at least partially brought on to address the supply chain issues and the empty shelves shoppers across the country have seen. Chamness adds that even younger drivers, with the right training and education, can help bridge the gap in the industry.
Ivy Tech instructor and truck driver Casey Bell says the switch will open doors for young drivers in Indiana and help them earn more money by crossing state lines rather than stay in the Hoosier State. Bell says drivers typically get paid by mileage and by opening up routes to other states like Kentucky, Illinois, or Ohio, drivers can get paid more than a trip to Indianapolis.
Still, not everyone is on board with the plan. Henderson trucking company owner Mark Springer says companies like his own, D & G Inc, haul most of the freight in the country but the younger drivers will likely have to opt for bigger companies who don’t go through the same insurance procedures.
Springer says he appreciates the government trying to help, but without changes to insurance company policies looking for drivers who are at least 23 years old with two years of driving experience, Springer says he won’t be able to bring on the younger drivers.