ATLANTA, Ga. (CBS46) The person driving that 18-wheeler next to you on the connector may not even be old enough to drink. State law allows people as young as 18 to get behind the wheel of big rigs, and they could be driving futher than before.
Ken Cooper has been driving trucks for decades, but now he also teaches truckers-in-training at Katlaw Truck Driving School.
"Straight-line backing, parallel parking also offset and Allie docking," are just some of the skills learned on the road to getting a commercial drivers license.
"The rule in Georgia is you can actually get a CDL at 18, but if you're going to be crossing state lines they are regulated by the Federal government and they say you have to be 21," said Cooper.
However, the Department of Transportation has proposed the legal age be lowered to 18.
"With this 80,000 pound vehicle, no, no, no," quipped Crystal Brandon, a student at Katlaw Truck Driving School. "I do not want an 18-year-old driving."
"Fill some of those driving jobs that are much needed everywhere. There's some people who are over 21 putting driver safety at risk out there," said Cooper.
He believes lowering the age should also come with a requirement of additional supervised training hours.
"I think for 18-year-old, 19 really should be even more training requirement like an apprenticeship program," said Tansley.
To show just how necessary training is, reporter Brittany Miller got behind the wheel of a big rig for just a few minutes.