The Colorado State House passed a bill Monday to lower the age requirement for interstate Commercial Drivers Licenses licenses from 21 to 18.
The bill, 19-018, passed the Senate without a single no-vote and passed the house 60-3 and one abstention.
It comes as the American Trucking Association predicts there will be a nationwide shortage of about 150,000 commercial truck drivers by 2024.
Currently, state law allows 18-year-olds to drive commercial vehicles with a CDL license on local routes within the state and in order to drive out-of-state routes and on interstates, drivers must be 21-years-old with their CDL.
“They want you on the road because then you’ve been through different weather conditions, different city environments. Like Colorado Springs versus Chicago is no contest,” said Mark Haefner, director of training for the United States Truck Driving school south of Fountain, Colo.
Haefner has his concerns about 18-year-olds driving big rigs across on longer routes, but thinks it would be a good idea to team a young driver up with a veteran as they continue to learn the job.
He doesn’t think there is much more companies can do to inspire more drivers into the industry as many have already offered more per-mile pay, benefits and sign-on bonuses.
Sen. Ray Scott, a Republican from Mesa County who sponsored the legislation said, “The industry is asking for a change like this because many times, young people have already begun their career by the time they are 21 and this will get a younger generation in the industry sooner.”