If you’ve been reading the news about the trucking industry lately, then you know it faces a driver shortage. The industry is looking for 60,000+ new drivers. Where are they? This is a pressing, on-going issue that’s not easily solved. That said, a group of bipartisan legislators have reintroduced the DRIVE-Safe Act in order to address this particular issue.
They hope to make it so commercial truck drivers under the age of 21 can legally cross state lines after completing extra safety training and a proper apprenticeship. Why would this help? Well, it would open the door for more young drivers, aged 18-20, to take on long hauls, therefore filling a need in the industry.
Right now, young drivers under 21 who want to be professional truckers must meet the requirements of obtaining a CDL (commercial driver’s license). If the DRIVE-Safe Act passes, then they’d take a two-step program of additional training in order to meet rigorous performance benchmarks. The program would involve 400+ hours of on-duty time and 240 hours of driving time with an experienced driver in the cab with them. And what kind of trucks would they use? Ones equipped with safety technology including braking collision mitigation systems, video event capture and a speed governor set at 65mph or less. If and when the young driver can handle all of this and handle it well, then he or she receives permission to cross state lines.
Hopefully the DRIVE-Safe Act will pass and this will help see a boost in the number of job seekers for interstate trucking jobs. Too often, qualified candidates are lost to other industries and the trucking industry experiences a never-ending driver shortage. If and when the DRIVE-Safe Act passes, then a safety-centered process goes into effect, identifying, training and empowering 18 to 20-year-olds to more fully participate in trucking as a viable, money-making career.
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