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WASHINGTON – This week, U.S. Senators Jerry Moran (R-Kan.), Todd Young (R-Ind.) and Jon Tester (D-Mont.) introduced the Developing Responsible Individuals for a Vibrant Economy (DRIVE-Safe) Act to address the driver shortage in the trucking and logistics industry and enhance safety training and job opportunities for young truckers.

Though 49 states and the District of Columbia allow individuals to obtain a commercial driver’s license (CDL) at the age 18, federal law currently prohibits those operators from moving goods from state to state until they are 21. The DRIVE-Safe Act establishes an apprenticeship program that would allow for the legal operation of a commercial motor vehicle in interstate commerce by CDL holders under the age of 21.

“Kansas is the birthplace of the U.S. Interstate System and continues to provide a network of safe and reliable routes for interstate commerce and travel,” said Sen. Moran. “As we saw during this pandemic, a shortage of truck drivers impacts our ability to move goods across roads and highways to support our economy, including transporting Kansas products. The DRIVE-Safe Act allows young CDL holders that meet rigorous safety standards and performance benchmarks to move goods from state to state, addressing the driver shortage while continuing to deliver commodities across Kansas and the country.”

“Today, 18-year-olds can drive more than 200 miles from New Albany to Gary and back, but they aren’t allowed to drive two miles from New Albany to Louisville,” said Sen. Young. “The DRIVE-Safe Act will eliminate this ridiculous regulation and in doing so address the driver shortage while providing new career opportunities for young Hoosiers.”

“Now more than ever, young Montanans need more opportunities to get comprehensive job training, access higher paying work, and grow their careers early on,” said Sen. Tester. “This bipartisan bill will do just that, allowing younger truck drivers to get top-of-the-line apprenticeships that kick their careers into gear, all while providing a big boost to the thousands of communities across the Big Sky who rely almost exclusively on trucks to move goods in and out of the state.”

The apprenticeship training program would help ensure these drivers are trained beyond current standards while instituting rigorous safety standards and performance benchmarks. The apprenticeship program established by the DRIVE-Safe Act would require young 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, a video event capture system and a speed governor set at 65 miles per hour or below.

U.S. Senators Tom Cotton (R-Ark.), Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.), Angus King (I-Maine), Joe Manchin (D-W.V.) and Kyrsten Sinema (D-Ariz.) joined as original cosponsors of the bill. U.S. Representative Trey Hollingsworth (R-IN-09) introduced a companion bill in the House.

Click here to view the bill text.

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