New amendments to P.E.I.'s Highway Traffic Act would permit an 18-year-old in the last stages of their graduated driver's licence to receive a Class 3 license to operate a heavy truck.

'It is important we have qualified heavy truck operators available.' - David Mol, P.E.I. Federation of Agriculture

Under current rules, drivers must have completed GDL to get a truck licence. That makes the minimum age 18 years, nine months for a driver who has done a driver education program, or 19 for someone who hasn't.

P.E.I. Federation of Agriculture president David Mol said the change will help address a crucial labour shortage in his industry.

 "As spring planting gets underway and we enter another busy season, it is important we have qualified heavy truck operators available across the Island," said Mol in a news release.

Other restrictions under the GDL will remain in place, including zero blood alcohol, passenger restrictions and reduced demerit points.

The change places the Island's age of entry for heavy truck drivers on par with other provinces and territories.