The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) released a notice on Jan. 14 that establishes the Safe Driver Apprenticeship Pilot Program, an apprenticeship program for certain 18-, 19-, and 20-year-old drivers to operate commercial vehicles across state lines. NATSO has supported efforts to create an apprenticeship program to relieve the commercial driver shortage.
The Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA) included provisions directing FMCSA to create an apprenticeship pilot program that would allow individuals between the ages of 18 and 21 to operate a commercial motor vehicle across state lines if they complete the training requirements. The Safe Driver Apprenticeship Pilot Program effectuates IIJA’s requirements and will begin taking applications for approximately 3,000 drivers to participate in the program in the coming months.
FMCSA released an information collection request as part of its effort to implement the program. The information collection request is one of the requirements FMCSA must meet to receive approval from the Office of Management and Budget to open the program for applications. NATSO, as part of a coalition of organizations that support the pilot program, submitted a short letter outlining some concerns with the information collection that could make it difficult for carriers to participate. NATSO argued that as drafted the “administrative burdens may inhibit participation in the program by stakeholders of various sizes.”
NATSO continues to engage with FMCSA on this issue and will alert members when the pilot program is accepting applications for drivers.
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