(WASHINGTON, D.C.) – Tuesday, Representative Trey Hollingsworth (IN-09) and Representative Henry Cuellar (TX-28) reintroduced the Developing Responsible Individuals for a Vibrant Economy (DRIVE-Safe) Act. This bipartisan legislation increases job opportunities for those just entering the workforce, enhance safety training for new members of the trucking industry, and addresses the economic consequences of the driver shortage faced by a variety of industries.
“Indiana is the ‘Crossroads of America’ and a national hub of transportation and logistics that keeps our economy going,” said Representative Hollingsworth. “The current driver shortage puts our dynamic economy at risk and closes off high-paying trucking careers to young Americans. The DRIVE-Safe Act is an opportunity to improve the lives of many young Americans, give them opportunities for advancement, increase safety and skills training, and enhance the economy by eliminating the obstacles currently preventing the trucking industry from alleviating its workforce shortage.”
“Truckers are the backbone of our economy and are essential to international trade and commerce, especially in my district,” said Congressman Cuellar. “Every day thousands of trucks go through the US-Mexico border in my hometown Laredo resulting in $1.3 billion in revenue a day for the U.S. economy. It is crucial that we have well-prepared drivers that have the best safety training for this essential part of our economy. The DRIVE-Safe Act will address the shortage of drivers and better prepare young American truck drivers through the employer-sponsored training programs, as well as ensure safety on the roads. It will also facilitate interstate commerce and boost our economy while creating new jobs.”
The Senate version of the DRIVE-Safe Act was introduced by Senator Todd Young (R-IN).
“Hoosiers know Indiana as the Crossroads of America thanks to our strong infrastructure network and numerous logistics providers that call Indiana home. We understand more than anyone the need to develop a responsible pathway to safely train more drivers,” said Senator Young. “This apprenticeship program will address the driver shortage, create new career opportunities for young Hoosiers, and substantially raise training standards to ensure safety on the roads.”
Read the full text of the legislation, here.
The trucking industry and all industries that rely on trucks to deliver consumer goods are facing a driver shortage. According to the American Trucking Association (ATA), over the next decade, we will need 890,000 drivers to keep pace with growth and demand for freight transportation. Indiana and nearly all other states allow individuals to obtain a commercial driver’s license (CDL) at the age of 18, but these drivers are prohibited by federal law from driving across a state line until they are 21. That means a 20-year-old delivery driver working for a bakery in New Albany can’t take the 10-mile trip to Louisville, but the same 20-year-old driver could make a 600-mile run from Jeffersonville to Michigan City and back.
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 employer-sponsored training program is comprised of two supervised probationary periods totaling 400 hours of in-vehicle driving and training. A candidate for an employer-sponsored training program must already hold a CDL, may begin training-supervised driving in interstate commerce when they begin the training program, and may drive in interstate commerce independently following successful completion of the program.
The bill does not reduce the age requirements or alter the requirements to obtain a CDL.