September 4, 2020

Proposed Pilot Program Modeled After Senator Young’s DRIVE-Safe Act

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. – Today, U.S. Senator Todd Young (R-Ind.) announced that a new pilot program modeled after his DRIVE-Safe Act is being proposed by the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA). A notice was sent to the Federal Register this morning requesting public comment on the proposed pilot program, which would allow 18 to 20-year old commercial driver’s license holders to operate commercial motor vehicles in interstate commerce while taking part in an apprenticeship program.


Similar to the proposed pilot program, Senator Young’s Developing Responsible Individuals for a Vibrant Economy (DRIVE-Safe) Act would establish an apprenticeship program that would allow for the legal operation of commercial motor vehicles in interstate commerce by commercial driver’s license holders under the age of 21. The apprenticeship training program would help ensure these drivers are trained beyond current standards while instituting rigorous safety standards and performance benchmarks. Though 49 states allow individuals to obtain a commercial driver’s license at the age 18, federal law currently prohibits those operators from moving goods from state to state until they are 21. This program would help address the nationwide driver shortage in the trucking and logistics industry and enhance safety training and job opportunities for young truckers.


“Like my DRIVE-Safe Act, this proposed pilot program will develop a responsible pathway to safely train more drivers, create new career opportunities for young Hoosiers, and substantially raise training standards to ensure safety on the road,” said Senator Young. “Indiana is known to many as the Crossroads of America, and having responsible drivers on our roads is critical to the safe transportation of people and goods. While this proposed pilot program works its way through the comment period, I will continue pushing for the passage of my DRIVE-Safe Act to codify this important change.”


“This is a significant step toward improving safety on our nation’s roads, setting a standard for these drivers that is well beyond what 49 states currently require,” said American Trucking Associations (ATA) President and CEO, Chris Spear. “This is an amazing block of talent with unlimited potential. If our freedom can be defended from tyranny around the world by our men in women in uniform, many well below the age of 21, then it’s quite clear that we can train that same group how to safely and responsibly cross state lines in a commercial vehicle.”


“As aging drivers retire and growing online purchasing increases long-term freight demand, the DRIVE-Safe Act provides a path to bring needed younger drivers safely into the industry. This pilot program is an important next step in providing young adults with well-paying careers without the burden of college debt.  We thank Senator Todd Young for his continued leadership on this critical initiative,” said Mark S. Allen, President and CEO of the International Foodservice Distributors Association (IFDA).


Senator Young introduced the DRIVE-Safe Act in February 2019 along with Senators Jon Tester (D-Mont.), Tom Cotton (R-Ark.), Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.), Angus King (I-Maine), Joe Manchin (D-W.V.), and Jerry Moran (R-Kan.). Since then, nearly 30 additional Senators have cosponsored the bill. 


Click here to view the Federal Register Notice.