- Colorado Gov. Jared Polis signed into law a piece of legislation last week that allows people as young as 18 years of age to drive a commercial vehicle in interstate commerce. First, though, it has to be made legal on the federal level, which has previously prohibited 18-21 year olds from driving Class 8 trucks across state lines.
- The trucking industry supports the legislation. Jay Hicks, representing the Colorado Motor Carriers Association and Western States Transportation Alliance, testified in support of the bill on Feb. 5. And the American Trucking Associations has voiced support for a change at the federal level.
- State Sen. Ray Scott said the law will help with a nationwide driver shortage, according to Transport Topics.
"Not only would the DRIVE-Safe Act create new career opportunities for young Kansans, but it would also help move the supply-chain nationwide in a more expeditious manner – benefitting many sectors of the Kansas economy," Sen. Jerry Moran, R-Kan., said in a statement when the law was introduced last year.
The American Trucking Associations (ATA) estimates a shortage of 51,000 drivers around the country, and it expects this to increase to nearly 100,000 by 2021, according to USA Today.
Many companies use higher wages and other financial incentives to attract drivers. Walmart was able to hire 1,400 drivers last year by offering $1,500 referral bonuses and some of the most competitive salaries in the business.
The driver shortage is also leading many companies to look at creative solutions to offset increases in salary expenses. Sysco, for example, is considering smaller vehicles that wouldn't require drivers to have a CDL. And US Foods wants to use technology to make its routing more efficient.