New state law allows 18-20 year olds to obtain Class A CDL

Posted at 5:14 PM, Nov 30, 2021
and last updated 2021-11-30 17:14:52-05

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WKBW) — New York State is addressing the truck driver shortage.

“Due to an aging workforce there’s an urgent and critical need for new drivers,” New York State Senator Tim Kennedy said.

The American Trucking Association estimates a shortage of 80,000 truck drivers across the United States right now, up 30% since the start of the pandemic.

“The supply chain crisis compounded the demand and costs that we typically see through the holiday rush,” Sen. Kennedy said.

The American Transportation Research Institute said the trucking industry is responsible for 1 in 27 jobs in New York State, that’s 3% of all jobs throughout the state.

“We can’t get those goods from point A to point B if we don’t have the truck drivers to transport the product,” Sen. Kennedy said.

In order help alleviate that shortage, NYS is now allowing 18–20-year-olds to obtain their Class A CDL.

“We trust them to vote, we trust them to serve in our military, we trust them to work in our community,” Sen. Kennedy said.

Up until now, 18–20-year-olds could get a Class B CDL , but they were limited to driving within state lines. Now, young drivers can travel outside New York after completing Class A CDL training.

“It probably would take a good two to three months, but again we want to make sure its done properly and safely," Tom Mulvaney said.

Tom Mulvaney is the corporate recruiting manager of Wadhams Enterprises. He said there has been a shortage of drivers for a few years, but the need for more has now reached a critical stage.

“I could use 90 today just in our northeast network,” Mulvaney said.

“There is a job for you,” Sen. Kennedy said.

There are a few CDL training schools in Buffalo:

National Tractor Trailer School

Buffalo CDL Training Institute

Stevens Truck School

Completing the course can cost a couple thousand dollars, but you can apply for financial aid and grants.