Refrigeratedtransporter 3263 Us Capitol Building

DRIVE-Safe Act gains momentum, heads into US Senate

Aug. 20, 2018
See how the DRIVE-Safe Act introduced in the US Senate would address the national truck driver shortage.

US Senators Todd Young (R-IN), Jerry Moran (R-KS) and James M Inhofe (R-OK), with support from the International Foodservice Distributors Association (IFDA), have introduced the DRIVE-Safe Act. This legislation addresses the massive driver shortage affecting movement of commerce in the United States and provides enhanced safety training for emerging trucking professionals.

This is the Senate companion bill to HR5358 introduced by Representatives Duncan Hunter (R-CA) and Trey Hollingsworth (R-IN) in March with more than 71 bipartisan co-sponsors to date.

A shortage in drivers has disproportionally impacted the foodservice distribution industry, which requires timely delivery of hundreds of thousands of products to professional kitchens each day. Further complicating matters, commercial drivers are stymied by antiquated laws, which in most states allow individuals to obtain a commercial driver license at age 18, but prevents those drivers from moving goods interstate until they are 21.

This restriction on interstate deliveries is particularly problematic in regions like the greater District of Columbia metro area, where an emerging driver would be prohibited from making a quick trip between Arlington VA and Bethesda MD. But the same driver could haul a load from Arlington to Norfolk VA, a more than six-hour drive roundtrip.

“This legislation paves the way for new drivers to sustain a safe and efficient supply chain for the more than one million restaurants and foodservice outlets in the United States,” said Mark Allen, president and CEO of IFDA. “This bill also 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 in the 21st century.”

The DRIVE-Safe Act, officially named the Developing Responsible Individuals for a Vibrant Economy Act, will help train tomorrow’s drivers far and above current standards. Under the legislation, once a driver has met the requirements to obtain a CDL, he or she may begin a two-step program of additional training that includes rigorous performance benchmarks each candidate must achieve. The program will require these drivers to complete at least 400 hours of on-duty time and 240 hours of driving time with an experienced driver in the cab with them.

All trucks used for training in the program must be equipped with safety technology including active braking collision mitigation systems, video event capture, and a speed governor set at 65 miles per hour or below.

The American Trucking Associations projects the driver shortage to reach more than 174,000 by 2026. In the next decade, 890,000 drivers will be needed to keep pace with growth and demand for freight transportation.

Visit www.ifdaonline.org/ for more details about IFDA.

For more information about the DRIVE-Safe Act, access www.drivesafeact.com.

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