- 20% of young people aged 15-24 worldwide (267 million) are not in employment, education or training.1
- 21% of truck driver positions and 19% of bus and coach driver positions in Europe and the CIS are unfilled.2
IRU is calling on governments to lower the minimum age for professional drivers to 18 in all sectors (truck, bus and coach). This simple measure will ease long-term driver shortages by guiding school leavers directly into professional training, helping combat youth unemployment.
Minimum age regulations for professional drivers currently vary significantly throughout the world. While the minimum age is already 18 in the Middle East and some European countries, it is 21 in many other parts of the world and up to 26 for coach drivers in countries like China and Turkey. In the European Union alone, there is a complicated patchwork of different ages and rules for truck, bus and coach drivers. Regulations can even vary within a country, depending on whether the transport is national or international.
Such restrictive minimum age rules pose a serious obstacle to young people joining the profession at a time when youth unemployment exceeds 30% in some countries.3
Meeting global demand
Despite labour market fluctuations during the pandemic, driver shortage is a long-term issue, exacerbated by an ageing workforce.
Driver shortage is a global concern because it endangers mobility and trade. In Europe, one fifth of driver positions are unfilled. In the USA, the driver shortage, already around 60,000, is expected to double over the next decade.4 IRU research shows that South Africa needs about 15,000 new professional truck drivers every year, but is not able to recruit them.