- Reps. Duncan Hunter (R-CA) and Trey Hollingsworth (R-IN) introduced on Wednesday the DRIVE-Safe Act, which allows truck drivers ages 18 to 21 to cross state lines after going through a training program. In most states, drivers can get a commercial driver's license at age 18 but can't move goods across state lines until age 21.
- The bill would implement a two-step training program, requiring young truckers to complete at least 400 hours of on-duty time and 240 hours of driving time, accompanied by an experienced driver.
- The American Trucking Associations (ATA) backs the legislation, calling it a "common sense proposal" that opens opportunities for young drivers and increases safety measures.
Heavy snow in DC not keeping CA Trucking Association from joining— Rep. Duncan Hunter (@Rep_Hunter) March 21, 2018
me in introducing the DRIVE-Safe Act. My bill installs a rigorous apprenticeship training program for interstate commerce while, at the same time, creating jobs and addressing driver shortages. #jobs pic.twitter.com/8RDXwa9eGI
While some trucking companies have tried monetary incentives to attract and retain drivers, this legislation takes aim at a key demographic that's notably absent from the trucking industry: millennials.
The average trucker is 55-years-old, and as drivers approach retirement age, the talent pool shrinks further, without a younger generation to fill the pipeline.
Thus it's no surprise industries — especially food and retail organizations — backs the DRIVE-Safe Act. For shippers and distributors hurting from the trucking capacity crunch, any legislation that could draw more talent into the profession would be welcome.
How drivers react to the legislation remains to be seen. Although the electronic logging device (ELD) mandate sought to making truck driving safer, it turned off many drivers who found the requirements burdensome.
If DRIVE-Safe becomes law, it could face a similar fate. Under current law, once a driver with a CDL turns 21, that individual can transport goods across state lines, with no additional training needed. With the new legislation, an 18-year-old can drive interstate, but only after several hundred hours of training.