WASHINGTON, D.C. — Forty-two trade associations ranging from grocers to distributors and restaurants released a letter urging Congressman Bill Shuster, Chair and Ranking Member of the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure to support the DRIVE-Safe Act (H.R.5358) to train younger drivers, and move it through the committee quickly.
The DRIVE-Safe Act promotes a skill development and safety-training program for drivers under the age of 21 to engage in interstate commerce.
“The truck driver shortage is slowing the movement of commerce in this country, raising consumer prices and wait times for goods,” said Mark Allen, President and CEO of the International Foodservice Distributors Association (IFDA). “Nowhere is this threat more evident than in the foodservice distribution industry which delivers food and supplies to the over one million professional kitchens across the country every day.”
The letter says while 48 states currently allow drivers to obtain a commercial driver’s license (CDL) at 18, those same drivers are prohibited from driving in interstate commerce until they are 21. Under current federal law, a 20-year-old truck driver could not drive 14 miles from Springfield, Virginia to Washington D.C., but that same driver could haul a load from Arlington to Norfolk, Virginia, a more than six-hour drive roundtrip.
“The DRIVE-Safe Act is a common-sense proposal that will open enormous opportunities for an emerging workforce and strengthen safety training programs,” Allen said.
The DRIVE-Safe Act creates a two-step training program to allow younger drivers to enter the industry safely. Candidates would be accompanied in the cab by experienced drivers for a total of 400 hours of on-duty time with at least 240 hours of driving time. Trucks would be required to be outfitted with the latest safety technology including active braking collision mitigation systems, forward-facing event recording cameras, speed limiters set at 65 miles per hour or less and automatic or automatic manual transmissions.
The International Foodservice Distributors Association (IFDA) is the premier trade organization representing the foodservice distribution industry. With a combined annual sales volume of almost $300 billion, foodservice distributors play a crucial role in our nation’s infrastructure. This industry ensures a safe and efficient supply chain of food and products for more than one million restaurants and foodservice outlets in the U.S. every day. IFDA member companies operate more than 800 facilities in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, and around the world. For more information visit: http://www.ifdaonline.org/