Following the introduction of companion, bipartisan legislation in the U.S. House and Senate designed to alleviate a nationwide shortage of truck drivers, NATSO joined nearly 70 organizations in supporting the DRIVE-Safe Act, which would allow commercial drivers aged between 18 and 21 to engage in interstate trucking.
In letters to Senators Todd Young and Jon Tester and Congressmen Trey Hollingsworth and Henry Cuella, the groups said the DRIVE-Safe Act would help to alleviate the nationwide shortage of commercial drivers by providing younger drivers with the opportunity to enter the industry.
Currently, most states allow people as young as 18 to drive a commercial truck, however they are prohibited from crossing state lines.
The DRIVE-Safe Act, officially named the Developing Responsible Individuals for a Vibrant Economy Act, would allow younger drivers who have met the requirements to obtain a CDL to engage in a two-step program of additional training that would then allow them to drive in interstate commerce. The training includes performance benchmarks that each candidate must achieve.
The program will require these drivers to complete at least 400 hours of on-duty time and 240 hours of driving time with an experienced driver in the cab with them. All trucks used for training in the program must be equipped with safety technology including active braking collision mitigation systems, video event capture, and a speed governor set at 65 miles per hour or below.
The American Trucking Associations, which leads a DRIVE Safe Act Coalition along with the International Foodservice Distributors of America, praised the measures. ATA President Chris Spear said in a statement to media, “The strong bipartisan, bicameral support behind this legislation demonstrates how real a threat the driver shortage presents to our nation’s economic security over the long-term – and how serious our lawmakers are about addressing it with common-sense solutions. Given the broad coalition of interests backing this measure, there is growing understanding across the country that the impact of this issue reaches far beyond just trucking and commercial vehicles. It is a strain on the entire supply chain, from the manufacturers and producers on down to retail and the end consumer, who will see higher prices at the store.”
Other coalition members include the National Association of Manufacturers, National Restaurant Association, National Retail Federation, Retail Industry Leaders of America and more than 40 other national trade associations and companies.
The Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association (OOIDA) strongly opposes congressional efforts to lower the minimum age requirement for truck drivers engaged in interstate commerce and has called the truck driver shortage a myth.
Subscribe to Updates
NATSO provides a breadth of information created to strengthen travel plazas’ ability to meet the needs of the travelling public in an age of disruption. This includes knowledge filled blog posts, articles and publications. If you would like to receive a digest of blog post and articles directly in your inbox, please provide your name, email and the frequency of the updates you want to receive the email digest.