In an effort to ease the trucking industry’s current driver shortage, a new bill that would allow drivers between the ages of 18 and 21 to drive interstate was introduced in the U.S. Senate on August 16.
Like the Developing Responsible Individuals for a Vibrant Economy (DRIVE-Safe Act) that was proposed in the House of Representatives in March, S. 3352 would require under-21 drivers to complete at least 400 hours of on-duty time and 240 hours of driving time with an experienced driver in the cab after earning their CDL. The younger drivers would be allowed to drive interstate not only once the program is completed, but during the supervised training as well.
According to the bill’s proponents, the apprenticeship training program would help ensure younger drivers are trained beyond current standards while instituting rigorous safety standards and performance benchmarks.
The legislation also mandates that all trucks used for training in the program 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.
Currently, commercial driver’s license holders between the ages of 18-21 are only able to move freight within the state that their license is valid.
U.S. Sens. Todd Young (R-IN.), Jerry Moran (R-KS.), and Jim Inhofe (R-OK), the bill’s sponsors, say that in addition to mitigating the truck driver shortage, the legislation would open the door to millions of Americans who are seeking a career path, and help move the supply chain nationwide in a more expeditious manner.
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