New York to offer CDL training program for drivers under 21

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FILE —11 In this Dec. 17, 2010 file photo, trucks make their way eastbound, in Livermore, Calif. More than 75 national companies are throwing their weight behind a drive to make trucks, vans and other large commercial fleet vehicles cleaner as a climate change initiative. Several states, including Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, Oregon and Washington, already are backing the move. (AP Photo/Ben Margot, File)

NEW YORK (WWTI) — Individuals under the age of 21 can now work to obtain a Class A commercial driver’s license. New York passed Senate Bill S5486A, which will officially establish a commercial driver’s license class A young adult training program in the state.

Before the new legislation being signed into law, individuals in New York were ineligible to apply for a Class A CDL until they turned 21 years old. This group was previously permitted to obtain a Class B CDL to drive within state lines. New York is now the 50th state to allow individuals under the age of 21 to obtain a Class A CDL for operation within state borders.

According to the legislation text, new training will be similar to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s entry-level driver training requirements. It will also require students to complete a minimum of 300 hours of “behind-the-wheel” training under experienced driver supervision.

Similar legislation was introduced by Senator Patty Ritchie in 2017 aiming to establish a CDL Class A young adult licensing pilot program. She commented on the signing of S.5486-A into law.

“Truck drivers are the backbone of our state and national economies—unfortunately though, in recent years, I have heard from many local businesses who have felt the impact of the truck driver shortage,” Senator Ritchie said in a press release. “I’m pleased legislation to accomplish this has been signed into law and look forward to seeing how it provides relief to the trucking industry, small businesses, and our overall supply chain.”

The New York Department of Transportation will now work to establish the Class A CDL young adult training program. This is expected to be available in the next year.

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