Roehl Transport is an approved trucking company for a new pilot program through the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) that allows drivers between the ages of 18-20 with an intrastate commercial driver’s license to operate interstate commerce.

Currently, CDL-A truck drivers who are younger than 21 cannot transport loads that traverse states; instead, they are only able to haul loads that start and end in the same state.

The Safe Driver Apprenticeship Program (SDAP) is a pilot program that allows up to 3,000 drivers under age 21 to earn their CDL to perform interstate driving. The FMCSA has published the requirements for motor carriers to be included in the pilot. Roehl Transport, one of North America’s safest and most successful trucking companies, has been training new CDL A truck drivers for more than 30 years. Roehl’s Get Your CDL Program provides on-the-job CDL A training - approved candidates are hired on the first day and training to pass their CDL test is part of their job.

The trucking industry has long been experiencing a shortage of drivers. According to data from the American Trucking Associations (ATA) as of 2022, an estimated 80,000 additional drivers were required to meet the industry's demand. The Safe Driver Apprenticeship Program was established through the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA), also known as the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law (BIL).

If you are 18, 19 or 20 years old and you’re interested in exploring an interstate trucking career, you can apply through Roehl for this apprenticeship pilot program. We recommend you contact Roehl’s Driver Employment Center via email or phone call at 715-591-7050 to start the process.

About the Safe Driver Apprenticeship Program

Although most states allow drivers aged 18 to 20 to hold a Class A CDL, interstate travel is not permitted for these drivers. The Safe Driver Apprentice Program was created to allow drivers between the ages of 18 and 20 to hold a CDL and perform interstate driving, giving them more and earlier opportunities to grow their trucking career.

The SDAP will run for three years, allowing up to 3,000 drivers to participate at any given time. When drivers graduate from the program, they can be replaced by new apprentices. All apprentices participating in the program must apply through participating motor carriers, which are listed on the FMCSA website. Interested drivers can get started with the program by contacting carriers directly (we recommend you contact Roehl via email or phone call at 715-591-7050 to start the process).

While an apprentice, drivers must complete an extensive training program that includes 400 hours of behind-the-wheel training with a registered and approved driver trainer . Apprentices must have an onboard monitoring system including cameras forward-facing and in-cab. They must also operate vehicles with an active braking collision mitigation system, and an automatic manual or automatic transmission, and must drive at speeds no more than 65 miles per hour. Apprentice drivers have their performance monitored on a monthly basis until they turn age 21.

CDL Driving Requirements for Drivers 18 to 20

People aged 18 to 20 who want to participate in SDAP must also meet certain requirements. These requirements are similar to CDL driving requirements for drivers age 21+. They must provide all the same forms of identification and must meet all the same requirements required of older drivers, and for the last two years, they must not have:

  • Had a license that was disqualified, suspended, revoked, or canceled
  • Had more than one license (except for a military license)
  • Been convicted of any violation regarding:
    • Operating a motor vehicle while under the influence of alcohol
    • Operating a motor vehicle under the influence of a controlled substance
    • Using a vehicle to commit a felony
    • Leaving the scene of a crash or refusing to take an alcohol test
  • Had any conviction for a violation of vehicle traffic laws in connection with any traffic crash, or had a record of a crash where they were at fault
  • Been convicted of one or more of the violations below while operating a commercial motor vehicle:
    • Driving while their CDL is revoked, canceled or suspended, or while they were disqualified from operating a CMV
    • Homicide by motor vehicle, negligent homicide, or motor vehicle manslaughter
    • Operating with a blood alcohol level of 0.04 or higher
  • Been convicted for any of the violations below more than once:
    • Reckless driving including driving in disregard for the safety of people or property
    • Violating a state or local law or ordinance that prohibits texting while driving, or laws prohibiting the use of hand-held mobile phones while driving
    • Driving a CMV without the required CDL

CDL Driving Requirements for Drivers 21 Years and Older

Drivers aged 21 years and older can get a CDL that allows them to cross state lines without going through SDAP. For these drivers, CDL requirements are as follows:

  • Must have a valid non-commercial driver's license and at least one or two years of driving experience (depending on the state)
  • Must provide proof of citizenship or lawful permanent residency (birth certificate, green card, social security card)
  • Must pass background screenings and have no active driver license suspensions or revocations
  • Must certify that he or she is not subject to disqualification based on FMCSA 383.51 or any state law, and that he or she does not have a driver's license from more than one state or jurisdiction
  • Must provide the names of all states where he or she has been licensed to drive a motor vehicle during the previous 10 years.
  • Must be able to speak and read English and must be able to pass state written exams (given only in English).

In addition, drivers cannot hold a CDL in more than one state, and they must meet specific medical requirements.

To learn more about Roehl’s on-the-job CDL A training including hiring areas and additional details, please review this job posting .

About Roehl Transport, CDL Training & the Safe Driver Apprenticeship Program

Roehl Transport recently celebrated 60 Years of Safety & Success, and the company’s long history of investing in CDL A training, safe driving techniques and delivering for customers is reflection of Roehl’s values.

Participating in the Safe Driver Apprenticeship Program aligns with Roehl’s values of Delivering Success and Innovation because carriers who are approved to participate in this program must have a record of safety and good standing with the FMCSA.

Roehl also offers a two-year Apprenticeship Program (approved by the US Department of Labor & the Department of Veterans Affairs), and the trucking company has repeatedly been awarded and recognized for its employment practices (Military Friendly Employer, Top Company for Women to Work for in Transportation, America’s Best Mid-Size Employers).

Are you an 18-20 year old who would like to learn more about becoming a truck driver? Would you like to participate in SDAP through an award-winning carrier? We recommend you contact Roehl via email or phone call at 715-591-7050 to start the process.

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This page was last updated on 09/11/2023