Fleetowner 32906 Youngtrucker 8

IFDA supports DRIVE-Safe Act

March 19, 2021
Reintroduced legislation would allow CDL holders under 21 to cross state lines while ensuring safety with ‘rigorous’ benchmarks

The International Foodservice Distributors Association (IFDA) supports the reintroduced DRIVE-Safe Act, which seeks to address the U.S. truck driver shortage by establishing a path for commercial driver’s license (CDL) holders under 21 to cross state lines.

The Developing Responsible Individuals for a Vibrant Economy Act recently was introduced for the third time by a group of bipartisan lawmakers in the House of Representatives and Senate, with support from a coalition of more than 50 companies and trade associations, including IFDA and American Trucking Associations (ATA).

The bill first was put forward in 2018, then again in 2019, but never brought to vote.

“The DRIVE-Safe Act comes at a time when the national economy is reeling from pandemic-related job losses,” said Mark S. Allen, president and CEO of IFDA. “At the same time, the pandemic highlighted how essential professional drivers are to our everyday life, increasing the demand for this specific kind of job.

“The DRIVE-Safe Act will hasten our economic recovery by providing an opportunity for new drivers to enter the workforce while reinforcing a culture of safety far and above current standards.”

Under the proposed bill, after a driver obtains their CDL, they can begin a two-step program of additional training that requires the completion of at least 400 hours of on-duty time, and 240 hours of driving time while accompanied by an experienced driver. Trucks used for training must be equipped with safety technology, including active breaking collision mitigation systems, video event capture and a speed governor set at 65 mph or less.

IFDA says the much-needed program well help alleviate the driver shortage, which has “significantly” impacted the foodservice distribution industry. Despite the fact that most states allow individuals to obtain a CDL at 18, those same drivers are prohibited from moving goods across state lines until they are 21 years old.

The 83-year-old restriction on interstate deliveries is particularly problematic in regions like the Washington D.C. metro area where an emerging driver would be prohibited from making a 30-minute trip between Arlington VA and Bethesda MD, IFDA said. But that same driver could haul a load from Arlington to Norfolk VA—a seven-hour roundtrip.

“This bill has strong, bipartisan backing because it’s both common sense and pro-safety,” said Chris Spear, president and CEO of ATA. “It raises the bar for training standards and safety technology far above what is asked of the thousands of 18- to 20-year-old drivers who are already legally driving commercial vehicles in 49 states today.

“The DRIVE Safe Act is not a path to allow every young person to drive across state lines, but it envisions creating a safety-centered process for identifying, training and empowering the safest, most responsible 18- to 20-year-olds to more fully participate in our industry. It will create enormous opportunities for countless Americans seeking a high-paying profession without the debt burden that comes with a four-year degree.”

The DRIVE-Safe Act also is supported by the Next Generation in Trucking Association, a nonprofit that engages and trains the next generation of trucking industry professionals by partnering with high schools and community and technical colleges to offer free training to students.

DRIVE-Safe Act co-sponsors in the Senate include Sens. Todd Young (R-IN), Jon Tester (D-MT), Tom Cotton (R-AK), Angus King (I-VT), Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ), Jerry Moran (R-KS), Joe Manchin (D-WV), and Jim Inhofe (R-OK). In the House, co-sponsors include Reps. Trey Hollingsworth (R-IN), Jim Cooper (D-TN), Troy Balderson (R-Oh), Henry Cuellar (D-TX), Ashley Hinson (R-IA), Jared Golden (D-ME), Darrin LaHood (R-IL), Elissa Slotkin (D-MN) and Bruce Westerman (R-AR).

About the Author

Commercial Vehicle Staff

Sponsored Recommendations

Reducing CSA Violations & Increasing Safety With Advanced Trailer Telematics

Keep the roads safer with advanced trailer telematics. In this whitepaper, see how you can gain insights that lead to increased safety and reduced roadside incidents—keeping drivers...

80% Fewer Towable Accidents - 10 Key Strategies

After installing grille guards on all of their Class 8 trucks, a major Midwest fleet reported they had reduced their number of towable accidents by 80% post installation – including...

Proactive Fleet Safety: A Guide to Improved Efficiency and Profitability

Each year, carriers lose around 32.6 billion vehicle hours as a result of weather-related congestion. Discover how to shift from reactive to proactive, improve efficiency, and...

Tackling the Tech Shortage: Lessons in Recruiting Talent and Reducing Turnover

Discover innovative strategies for recruiting and retaining tech talent in the trucking industry during this informative webinar, where experts will share insights on competitive...

Voice your opinion!

To join the conversation, and become an exclusive member of FleetOwner, create an account today!