Hinson says younger drivers key to national trucker shortage

MASON CITY — Iowa Congresswoman Ashley Hinson is calling for a change that would let 18, 19 and 20 year olds with a commercial driver’s license be cross-country truckers — to address a national shortage of interstate truck drivers. Federal regulations currently require truckers who travel from state-to-state to be at least 21 years old.

“Having more truckers on the road will improve supply chain efficiency, translated to lower prices for good and services,” Hinson says. “It will also provide critical career opportunities for 18 to 20 year olds not interested in a four year degree.”

Forty-nine states and the District of Columbia issue commercial driver’s licenses to people under the age of 21, but they are not allowed to cross state borders. “An 18 year old truck driver is permitted to drive 300 miles from let’s say a project in Sioux City all the way back to Dubuque County, but according to current regulations that same driver is not allowed to drive the truck the three miles across the Julian Dubuque Bridge for a project cross the state line in Illinois,” Hinson says. “That doesn’t make any sense to me.”

Hinson, a Republican from Marion, has introduced a bill called the “Reciprocity, Efficiency and Age Limitation” or REAL Act in the U.S. House to let 18, 19 and 20 years drive cross-country if they have a commercial driver’s license. Hinson is visiting the Semi-Driving program at North Iowa Area Community College today to discuss her idea with trucking industry leaders.