August 16, 2018

Senators Introduce DRIVE-Safe Act to Expand Career Opportunities in Trucking Industry

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senators Todd Young (R-Ind.), Jerry Moran (R-Kan.), and Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.) today introduced the Developing Responsible Individuals for a Vibrant Economy (DRIVE-Safe) ActS. 3352, 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 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. The apprenticeship training program would help ensure younger drivers are trained beyond current standards while instituting rigorous safety standards andperformance benchmarks.

“Indiana is the Crossroads of America and the truck driver shortage has a significant impact on our state,” said Senator Young. “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. TheDRIVE-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,” said Senator Moran. “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. 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,” said Senator Inhofe.

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 capturesystem, and a speed governor set at 65 miles per hour or below. 

U.S. Representatives Trey Hollingsworth (R-IN-09) and Duncan Hunter (R-CA-50) introduced companion legislation in the House earlier this year (H.R. 5358).  

What they are saying:  

“As an industry that is uniquely impacted by this issue, we are thankful to Senator Young for his leadership driving this legislation forward,” said Mark Allen, President and CEO of the International Foodservice Distributor Association (IFDA). “This bill reinforces a culture of safety far and above current standards to provide the next generation of drivers with the critical skills they need to operate a truck safely on our nation’s highways.”

“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.”