Recently, the government officially publish a new law regarding the CDL age requirement change for drivers. This new law brought several disagreeing opinions due to the lowering of driver’s age from 21 to 18 years old. In this article, we are going to analyze its advantages and disadvantages to know whether it is risky or not, as well as answer the frequently asked questions about the CDL age requirement topic. Let’s get started!


cdl age requirement for drivers
Is the CDL age requirement for drivers changing?


1. What is the CDL age requirement?

CDL age requirement is one of the CDL requirements that all drivers must follow when operating a commercial vehicle. It is the limit that allows CDL drivers to operate their trucks at the proper age. In general, the interstate CDL age requirement includes:

  • At least 18 years old to obtain a CDL in every state
  • At least 21 years old to drive a CDL vehicle within their states
  • More than 21 years old to drive a CDL all over the US


2. What is the change in the CDL age requirement?

Due to the bad effects of Covid-19, there is a great shortage of truck drivers. Thus, the government decided to change the CDL age limit law. More specifically, the age limit to drive interstate is lower from 21 to 18. This change brought many controversial opinions from the public. Some agree with the law due to its benefits for the transportation field, the more drivers the more materials and goods can be transformed and delivered. On the other hand, some raise questions and worries about the high rate of fatal crashes since the law changed. Thus, we are going to break down what are the positive and negative sides of the CDL age limit change in the next section.


3. What are the advantages & disadvantages of the CDL age requirement change?


3.1. Advantages of CDL age requirement change

First and foremost, the benefit of this law is to ease the shortage of truck drivers. For a while now time, the truck driving industry is currently undergoing a driver shortage. The shortfall of drivers is projected to be between 35,000 and 40,000 people. In addition, about 70% of the nation’s freight is transported by commercial trucks, not enough truck drivers lead to a disruption in the supply chain. Thus, hiring 18 years old people is a good solution for the growth in demand and driver requirements in the next decade. U.S. Rep. Warren Davidson, R-Troy said  “We let 18-year-olds enter the Military, so I see no issue with allowing them to earn a commercial driver’s license. As we move out of the pandemic, I hope we’ll pass this bill to help not only the trucking industry but the wider economy.” 

The next bright side of lowing the CDL age requirement is allowing reaching out to the real passionate commercial drivers. In fact, not everyone does their jobs because of their passion. By applying the new law, there will be more talented drivers joining the party, especially women. According to Sarah, a female truck driver “We have to find a way to bring more talent into the trucking industry, especially women, minorities, and others.”


3.2. Disadvantages of CDL age requirement change

Right from the beginning, the change in the CDL age requirement raised a difference in civilian opinions. While people show their support, others think of great concerns. The very first issue to consider is the high rate of fatality on roadways. According to the U.S Bureau, the number of the truck crashed increased by 13%, including nearly 6000 deaths, the highest number in a year since 1988. In addition, the rate of catastrophic crashes involving under 19 drivers is reported 4 times higher and between 19 to 20 is even six times higher than others. Hence, this is an alarm to find a solution to this safety issue. 

The second impact of lowering the CDL age limit is the payment shortage. We agree that trucking is a good earn industry. However, the payment market is vary. For instance, 18 years old drivers can be extorted for what they actually deserve. 

Last but not least, the high rate of turnover is also an urgent concern. Unlike an adult, between 18 to 21 is considered poor decided people. In addition, most of them don’t get married yet, thus, there will be no family build-up issue. For this reason, they can turn over if they feel bored with the long-haul or don’t want to continue their job. Moreover, because they are still young and fresh, they can start their career with other jobs easily. Hence, if the government decided to change the CDL age requirement law, there will be a great change in drivers’ benefits. 


cdl age requirement
Advantages and disadvantages of changing in CDL age requirement 


4. What can disqualify you to be a commercial driver?

Even if you fulfill the aforementioned qualifying standards, the following concerns may derail your plans to become a new truck driver:

  • Using specific prescribed drugs
  • Containing health issues include diabetes, hypertension, and sleep apnea
  • Have some physical limitations
  • Charging for criminal acts such as drunk driving
  • Convicting for felony offenses such as abduction, arson, and extortion

Overall, not all crimes will preclude you from obtaining a CDL. When applying for truck driving employment after receiving your commercial driver’s license, make it important to inquire about each company’s rules on impairments and felony convictions. Thus, make sure you do not get in any trouble with CDL disqualifications


5. What are the FAQs about the CDL age limit requirement?


5.1. Is there a maximum age for CDL drivers?

No, there is no limit age for truck drivers in the United States as long as you are physically capable of doing the work. 


5.2. Are there official age limit restrictions for Class A drivers?

No, in the US there aren’t any age limit restrictions for Class A drivers. 


cdl age requirement change
Class A drivers has no age restrictions 


5.3. What are the suitable jobs for 18 years old drivers?

Local pick-up and delivery, operating dump and tow trucks, oil field work, and carrying timber and other construction supplies are all trucking occupations for CDL holders aged 18 to 21 in the US. 


5.4. I’m 60 years old. Am I too old to become a commercial driver?

No, you are not too old to become a trucker if you are physically healthy, can pass a DOT physical, and can drive a truck. Anyone who can pass the examinations and execute the work safely will have an excellent career.


5.5. To apply for CDL, do I need to take the drug test? 

No. But when applying for a job, you are required to pass the DOT drugs and alcohol tests.


In summary, there are still controversial opinions about the new law regarding the CDL age limit. However, no matter how old you are, your task is to carry your vehicle as safely as you can. After reading our article “Is changing in CDL age requirement a risky?”, we hope you have a clear understanding of the CDL age limit requirement, as well as the benefit and impact of becoming a CDL driver at the age of 18. Besides, if you are looking for a website to practice, CDL Practice Test is here for you!