Federal Laws Restrict Driving On the Job For Workers Under Age 18

Statistics involving the safety of young drivers on the job are frightening. Motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of work-related fatalities among young people in the United States, and many employers are not aware of the federal laws that exist on the subject.

The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) applies to businesses engaged in interstate commerce with gross revenues of at least $500,000 per year. Under the law, non-agricultural workers younger than age 17 may not drive a motor vehicle or work as an outside helper (riding or hanging onto the outside of the cab while helping to transport or deliver goods).

Federal law also prohibits minors in non-agricultural jobs from operating a motor vehicle as a regular part of their employment. Hazardous Occupations Order No. 2 (HO 2) specifically prohibits a youth under 18 years of age from working as a delivery driver.

On-the-job driving for minors may not involve:

  • Towing vehicles
  • Route deliveries or route sales
  • Transportation for hire of property, goods or passengers
  • Making time-sensitive deliveries (such as pizza deliveries)
  • Transporting more than three passengers, including other employees
  • Driving beyond a 30-mile radius of the teen’s place of employment
  • Making more than two trips per day away from the primary place of employment to deliver goods to a customer or transport passengers other than employees

Even if workers provide their own vehicles, employers share the responsibility for safe operation of those vehicles if used on the job. Employers also must follow state child labor laws, which may be more restrictive than federal laws.

The National Institute for Occupational Health Safety (NIOSH) offers fact sheets regarding young drivers, one for employers and another for parents and young workers. The sheets include risk factors that place young drivers at greater risk of motor vehicle crashes, case reports to review with learning points and recommendations on how to stay safe on the job.

Download copies of the factsheets at http://www.cdc.gov/niosh/docs/2013-152/ and http://www.cdc.gov/niosh/docs/2013-153/.

To learn more about preventing work-related injuries among younger employees, contact Chad Clippard, business liaison, at 573-331-3019.