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10/8/2012 8:00:00 AM Write a Letter to the Editor Write a letter to the Editor

Letters: 85 mph Road, Driver Shortage, Biofuels vs. Food

Steve D.

Currently Unemployed Driver

Flagstaff, Ariz.

I would like to address the driver-shortage issue — and perhaps offer some out-of-the-box thinking: If someone 16 years old can get a pilot’s license and fly a plane, why can’t we find a way with the proper curriculum in our high schools and vocational schools to train young men and women to be truck drivers?

I know that it would take some legislative action to review the commercial driver license age. It also would require insurance companies to reevaluate their thinking.

The curriculum could require training not only in basic driving, but also driving in various weather conditions and road conditions, driving in the mountains or in congested traffic, proper loading and securing of loads, map reading, vehicle maintenance, safety inspections and defensive driving. After graduating from high school — also required — the student could go into some type of truck driver apprenticeship program. Or maybe the apprenticeship could be done during the senior year in high school.

I get irritated when I see so many drivers coming out of truck driving schools but still not prepared to be professional drivers. Simply because they have passed the test and are age-qualified at 21, 22, 23 or older, they now can be a truck driver. I strongly believe that by working with high school students we could provide better, more qualified drivers than many of the truck driving schools.

These young people would be trained and available for jobs in our industry at 19 to 20 years old if the age requirement was eased. But because of that requirement, we are losing them to other jobs before a career in truck driving has a chance.

Thanks for reading my letter. Perhaps this concept would be a good one for the American Transportation Research Institute to consider as a project. I believe that in some European countries an idea similar to this already is being used.

Gary Mathis


Mathis Moving & Storage Co.

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