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Congress bills aimed at reducing driver shortage issue

Acts would allow drivers under 21 to engage in interstate commerce

Posted February 28, 2019

Bills were reintroduced in Congress on February 26, 2019, to address driver shortage in the trucking industry and enhance safety training and job opportunities for young truckers.

The Developing Responsible Individuals for a Vibrant Economy (DRIVE-Safe) Act seeks to establish an apprenticeship program that would allow for the legal operation of a commercial motor vehicle (CMV) in interstate commerce by commercial driver’s license (CDL) holders under the age of 21. The training program would help ensure that drivers are trained beyond current standards and institute stricter safety standards and performance benchmarks.

Under the legislation, once a driver obtains his or her CDL, drivers would begin a program of additional training that includes completing at least 400 hours of on-duty time and 240 hours of driving time with an experienced driver. Trucks used in the training program must also be equipped with active braking collision mitigation systems, a forward-facing video event capture, and be operate at governed speeds of 65 mph at the pedal and 65 mph under cruise control.

Many states currently allow individuals to obtain a CDL at age 18, but federal law prohibits those drivers from engaging in interstate commerce until they are 21.

DRIVE-Safe was reintroduced by U.S. Senators Todd Young of Indiana and Jon Tester of Montana. Representative Trey Hollingsworth of Indiana introduced a companion bill in the House.

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