HUNTSVILLE, Ala. -- The Alabama truck driving industry may soon be tapping into a younger applicant pool. Just passed in the state legislature, HB479 would allow commercial driver's licenses to be issued to people between the ages of 18 and 21.
"People that are coming into the industry are kind of locked out because they can't finish their qualification until they're 21," explained Walker Cagle with the Steve Cagle Trucking Company.
Cagle said this change is needed. "As soon as they finish their college training, they can get their commercial drivers license and they can start making money in their professional field."
Currently, the company has 12 trucks and 11 drivers. Having one for each truck would be ideal. Cagle said younger drivers would help with the constant search.
"If you don't have young workers coming into the industry, your industry is in big trouble because you're gonna have people retiring, phasing out and you're going to need those young people coming in and filling that void," Cagle said.
Travel within the state would be allowed, but federal law bans travel between states for those under 21. However, the department of transportation announced a new pilot program and study allowing drivers 18-21 with military training to do so.
Cagle said he understands there are young people who may not be ready, but there are those who deserve the chance to start earning money.
"They don't need age to stop them if they're mature enough," said Cagle.
All drivers must meet federal and state testing and training. The governor's office said the bill is in the legal review process and did not indicate if or when Governor Ivey would sign it.