WASHINGTON — According to industry analysts, the U.S. faces a shortage of truck drivers, and steps have already been taken to address the issue. The industry has engaged in an effort to make the career field appealing to an undertapped segment the nation’s workforce in recent years through recruiting more female drivers. In addition, the National Transportation Safety Board has been considering lowering the qualifying age for interstate drivers — particularly those with military driving experience — for some time.
The COVID-19 pandemic only amplified the shortages and the pressing need to recruit more truck drivers.
“During the pandemic, truckers didn’t have any remote options — yet they went to work every single day to keep our economy moving and our communities strong,” said Rep. Abigail Spanberger (D-Virginia). With the support of co-sponsor Rep. Mike Gallagher (R-Wisconsin), a new round of legislation is making its way through the halls of Congress, which will hopefully make careers in trucking more appealing to the workforce.
And this time, Congress is putting its money where its mouth is.
This week (April 2-8, 2023)The bipartisan Strengthening Supply Chains through Truck Driver Incentives Act was reintroduced to Congress after failing to gain traction in 2022. The co-sponsors developed the legislation to provide financial incentives to qualified drivers through refundable tax credits. The credits are intended to make truck driving a more lucrative career — one that is more appealing to new drivers, and one that can retain those who have already chosen trucking as a career.
The bill’s provisions for tax credits address three areas.
- First, it will create a new refundable credit of up to $7,500 for Class A CDL drivers who log at least 1,900 hours during the year (an average of about 37 hours per week). The credit is planned for two years (2023 and 2024).
- Second, a new refundable credit of up to $10,000 would apply to new drivers or prospective drivers enrolled in a registered trucking apprenticeship (also for 2023 and 2024).
- Finally, the bill will allow new drivers to be eligible for the credit if they did not drive a commercial truck in the previous year or drive at least 1,420 hours in the current year. New CDL holders who drive less than 1,420 hours for the year — but at least an average of 40 hours a week once they begin to drive professionally — would be eligible to receive a partial credit.
According to Gallagher, passage of the bill would do more than simply increase the number of young men and women who consider trucking as a career path.
“This bipartisan bill is a commonsense way to recruit and retain more drivers to keep our shelves stocked and our economy moving,” he said.
The bill has already received the support of a host of stakeholders including the American Logger’s Association, the National Grocers Association, the International Foodservice Distributors Association, the American Building Materials Alliance, the Forest Resources Association, the Hardwood Federation, the Wood Machinery Manufacturers of America, Third Way and the National Pork Producers Council.
The bill has been referred to the House Ways and Means Committee for consideration.
Since retiring from a career as an outdoor recreation professional from the State of Arkansas, Kris Rutherford has worked as a freelance writer and, with his wife, owns and publishes a small Northeast Texas newspaper, The Roxton Progress. Kris has worked as a ghostwriter and editor and has authored seven books of his own. He became interested in the trucking industry as a child in the 1970s when his family traveled the interstates twice a year between their home in Maine and their native Texas. He has been a classic country music enthusiast since the age of nine when he developed a special interest in trucking songs.
If the National Grocers Association, the International Foodservice Distributors Association, and the National Pork Producers Council want to increase truck capacity, they should unload our trucks in something resembling a reasonable time frame. They’ll get those trucks back on the road and maybe fewer drivers will quit.
trucking otr ain’t worth a damn any more due to traffic zombies, ELD unsafe timing to perform your pick up and making deliveries, shortage of parking, truckers wages, more regulations and restrictions to keep truck drivers unsafe and disrespected .young and inexperienced new recruits who make the roads dangerous and deadly.
trucking companies abuse of the poor working truckers and the list goes on.
congress is corrupt , diluted to the core and detached from reality like always.
Look, this is a start to help getting more drivers in rigs. I’m a trucker with 7yrs under my belt and wages have gone up, but so has inflation and fuel. Drivers are always dangled a carrot from carriers to be retained; most never get to enjoy that carrot but just keep chasing it. Hence: I hope this isn’t a carrot from big brother who watch us run after that carrot like a hamster on a wheel without having any real intentions on paying it out because hardly any drivers will qualify because of red tape policy. If they really want Drivers then lower fuel costs for Driver’s and Carriers or better yet give grants for truckers to start their own companies to finance a truck.
Well Congress should go ahead and give other countries the tax credit because all you have on the road anymore is people not from this country. Most of them do not speak english and definitely do not know a damn thing about trucking. Congress should stop these big trucking companies like Schneider, Swift, and Werner from training drivers overseas to get their CDL. They come over tp America on a work visa and work for them under contract for maybe .30 per mile. WELL HELL YEA THAT IS GOOD MONEY IN ETHIOPIA. That is just one of the problems keeping the wages down for truckers.
Another problem is FMCSA and others that do not have a clue what is going on our highways. They need to quit always focusing on the big rigs and maybe focus on the out of date highway signs and rules for big trucks.
They also never mention how many vehicles jumped in front of a big truck that got their ass smashed in because they slammed on their brakes to try and break in line at the off ramp.
They want to put more trucks on the road. REALLY CONGRESS!!!!
THAT JUST PROVES RIGHT THERE THAT THEY DO NOT HAVE A CLUE WHAT IS GOING ON OUT THERE ON THE HIGHWAYS.
Hell there is no place to park, you have to wait sometimes a full 10 hours in a door to get unloaded and the companies want to pay you 100 dollars for detention. Maybe Congress should look into the recevers and put a boot in there ass like they have done to the drivers.
REMEMBER THIS CONGRESS AND THAT IS!! IF IT WAS NOT FOR TRUCKS YOU WOULD ALL BE HOMELESS, HUNGRY AND NAKED.