Three U.S. senators introduced legislation that would create a training program giving those under the age of 21 the opportunity to operate commercial vehicles in interstate trucking.
The DRIVE-Safe Act was introduced by Sens. Todd Young (R-IN), Jerry Moran (R-KS), and Jim Inhofe (R-OK). It would create an apprenticeship training program to ensure these younger drivers are trained beyond current standards.
Similar legislation was introduced in the U.S. House earlier this year.
In a joint statement, the senators pointed out many states allow people as young as 18 to operate trucks for intrastate freight movements.
“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 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.”
The bill calls for young drivers to complete a minimum of 400 hours of on-duty time, and 240 hours of driving time with an experienced driver. All trucks involved in the program must be equipped with safety technologies including active braking, a video system, and a speed governor set at a maximum of 65 mph.
“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,” said Chris Spear, president and CEO of American Trucking Associations.
“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,” said Mark Allen, president and CEO of the International Foodservice Distributor Association.