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A group of supply chain industry representatives, including trucking executives, sent a letter to members of Congress on April 14 urging them to pass legislation that would allow truckers under the age of 21 to cross state borders.

The bill, titled Developing Responsible Individuals for a Vibrant Economy, or DRIVE-Safe Act, is designed to improve safety training and address the shortage of truck drivers by providing young people with more opportunities in the workplace. ‘industry. Current federal law does not allow people between the ages of 18 and 20 who have a commercial driver’s license to drive Class 8 trucks across state lines.

The legislation offers a two-step apprenticeship program that potential young drivers must complete once they have obtained a CDL. The legislation, reintroduced by a group of senators in March, would require these drivers to register 400 hours of additional training.

DRIVE Safe Act Coalition Su … by transport topics

All qualified drivers participating in the apprenticeship program would only be permitted to drive trucks equipped with the latest safety technologies, including crash-brake mitigation systems, forward-facing cameras and a set speed limiter. at 65 mph or less.

“The DRIVE-Safe Act will help our country’s goods keep moving while preserving and improving the safety of our road network,” the letter said. “It will help fill desperately needed jobs and provide young Americans with the opportunity to enter a profession with a median salary of $ 54,585, as well as health and retirement benefits. It will strengthen and support our country’s supply chain, which is an issue of increased urgency as our country recovers from the COVID-19 pandemic. “

Supply chain executives have indicated that the industry is in serious need of more truck drivers, especially as demand for freight is expected to increase as the country recovers from the COVID-19 pandemic. The letter says the trucking industry needs 60,800 more truckers immediately, a deficit expected to reach 160,000 drivers by 2028.

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Another factor is the aging of the driver population. When the expected number of driver retirements is factored into the expected growth in capacity, the industry will need to hire approximately 1.1 million new drivers over the next decade.

The driver shortage has been exacerbated by the pandemic, which has caused motor vehicle utilities to shut down or temporarily limit services. As a result, companies in the supply chain face higher transportation costs, which ultimately results in higher prices for consumers.

The letter urges congressional leaders to include the DRIVE-Safe Act in a comprehensive infrastructure package or surface transportation reauthorization bill.

American Trucking Associations, Natso (which represents truck stop operators), the National Tank Truck Carriers and the Truckload Carriers Association were among the 117 organizations that supported the letter.

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