United States: Drive-Safe Act Seeks To Address Truck Driver Shortage

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Currently, CDL holders must be at least 21 years old to engage in interstate commerce. That may soon change if the DRIVE-Safe Act (S.659, HR1745), which has received bipartisan support, is approved by Congress. The legislation aims to address a nationwide driver shortage by allowing CDL holders between the ages of 18 and 21 to embark on a two-stage apprenticeship program that would ultimately allow them to cross the road. state borders.

On April 14, 2021, more than 100 organizations signed a letter sent to members of Congress expressing their support for the inclusion of the DRIVE-Safe Act in future infrastructure legislation. The letter explains that 70% of our country’s freight is transported by commercial trucks and demand is only expected to increase. According to these industry leaders, the trucking industry needs an immediate influx of 60,800 truckers and demand is growing. Moreover, they argue that “the threat posed by the shortage of drivers risks disrupting the continuity of the supply chain”.

To qualify under the DRIVE-Safe Act, applicants would be required to complete 400 hours of additional training, which is well beyond what is required of any other CDL holder. In addition, “all qualified drivers participating in the apprenticeship program … would only be permitted to drive trucks equipped with the latest safety technologies, including active brake collision mitigation systems, recording cameras. forward-facing events, speed limiters set to 65 miles per hour. hour or less, and automatic or manual automatic transmissions. While participating in the apprenticeship program, qualified drivers must also be accompanied by an experienced driver.

As the DRIVE-Safe Act continues to gain support, it should be noted that the bill is being challenged by the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association (OOIDA). Time will tell if the DRIVE-Safe Act receives enough support to get through Congress.

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