WASHINGTON — Republican Sens. Todd Young of Indiana, Jerry Moran of Kansas and Jim Infohe of Oklahoma Thursday introduced the Developing Responsible Individuals for a Vibrant Economy (DRIVE-Safe) Act, designed, they said, to address the driver shortage in the trucking and logistics industry, and enhance safety training and job opportunities for young truckers.
Though many states allow individuals to obtain a commercial driver’s license at the age of 18, federal law currently prohibits those operators from moving goods from state to state until they are 21.
The DRIVE-Safe Act creates a training program that would allow for the legal operation of a commercial motor vehicle in interstate commerce by commercial driver’s license holders under the age of 21.
Republican Reps. Trey Hollingsworth of Indiana and Duncan Hunter of California on March 22 introduced companion legislation in the House. HR 5358 was referred to the House Transportation and Infrastructure, which has not debated the bill.
The apprenticeship training program would help ensure younger drivers are trained beyond current standards while instituting rigorous safety standards and performance benchmarks. the senators said.
“Indiana is the Crossroads of America and the truck driver shortage has a significant impact on our state,” Young said. “As I’ve traveled throughout Indiana, I have heard from Hoosiers that a pathway is needed to qualify more drivers to move goods safely and efficiently. The DRIVE-Safe Act will help address the driver shortage, enhance safety, and create new career opportunities for young Hoosiers.”
“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,” Moran said. “This legislation includes important provisions that would help curb the trucker shortage, train safe drivers, and deliver goods and supplies to the Kansans that need them.”
“As home to three inland ports, nearly 4,000 miles of rail and over 12,000 miles of highways, Oklahoma is rightfully recognized as and benefits from being one of the nation’s leading transportation hubs and America’s Corner,” Inhofe said. “By expanding the opportunity for all commercial license holders to engage in interstate commerce, we can meaningfully address the driver shortage while improving transportation safety and give younger Americans the ability to be competitive in a strong economy so they can fully benefit from a skilled career.”
“The trucking industry’s shortage of drivers threatens our economy,” said American Trucking Associations President and CEO Chris Spear. “The Drive-Safe Act would open the door to millions of Americans who are seeking a career and a path to the middle class by training young men and women to safely and reliably move freight across state lines. Senators Young, Moran and Inhofe should be commended for their thoughtful leadership in creating a safe apprenticeship pathway for young people looking to go into trucking.”
The apprenticeship program established by the DRIVE-Safe Act would require young drivers to complete at least 400 hours of on-duty time and 240 hours of driving time with an experienced driver in the cab with them. All trucks used for training in the program must be equipped with safety technology including active braking collision mitigation systems, a video event capture system, and a speed governor set at 65 miles per hour or below.
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