The question of whether a nationwide truck driver shortage exists is under debate, as is a proposal to let younger drivers enter the industry by driving interstate commerce.
Most states permit drivers to obtain a commercial driver’s license at 18 but federal law requires that drivers be at least 21 to truck commerce across state lines, according to trucker.com, an industry news site.
Most Americans support legislation the U.S. Congress is considering to change federal law and let younger drivers take part in interstate trucking.
What survey results reveal
A survey by The Harris Poll for the International Foodservice Distributors Association found 86 percent of Americans support the DRIVE-Safe Act legislation. The Harris Poll survey was done online from March 5-7, 2019, among 2,015 U.S. adults 18 and older.
The legislation paves the way for the new drivers needed to ensure “a safe and efficient supply chain” for America’s one million restaurants and food-service outlets, said Mark Allen, president and CEO of the International Foodservice Distributors Association.
The proposed legislation would establish opportunities in the form of jobs, reinforce safety standards and set up the next generation of skilled truck drivers, Allen said.
According to The Harris Poll survey that found the majority supports young truck drivers crossing state lines, 95 percent believe that the current commercial truck driver shortage has an impact on U.S. consumers
The American Trucking Associations, an industry advocate, said on its website that the industry struggles to find enough qualified drivers, despite the low national unemployment rate.
Over 70 percent of freight moved in America goes by truck. Some industry estimates say that 50,000 more skilled truck drivers are needed to keep pace.
In the face of the survey that found the majority supports young truck drivers crossing state lines, the legislation in Congress — formally, the Developing Responsible Individuals for a Vibrant Economy Act — would establish a “rigorous” training program.
Once drivers between the ages of 18-21 qualify for a commercial driver’s license, they must complete at least 400 hours of on-duty time and 240 hours of driving time in the cab with an experienced driver.
All training of the younger drivers would take place on trucks equipped with new safety technology. That includes active braking collision mitigation systems and components that limit speeds to 65 miles per hour.
Is there a truck driver shortage?
An analysis by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics found that “truck driving is a relatively stable occupational choice.” The federal analysis said that the market for truck drivers appears to work as well as any other blue-collar labor market.
The Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association agreed with the federal analysis and said the assertion that there’s a truck driver shortage is a “myth.”
Trucking industry officials said that the Bureau of Labor Statistics analysis was flawed and showed a misunderstanding about truck driving. For example, trucking companies must reject 90 percent of driver applicants because they fail to meet the job’s qualifications.
Contact Recht Law Offices today if you’ve been hurt in a truck accident, as well as for questions about car crashes, motorcycle wrecks, and other personal injury cases.