A bill has been introduced in the House which would allow truckers under the age of 21 to drive trucks across state lines.
Reps. Duncan Hunter (R-CA) and Trey Hollingsworth (R-IN) have introduced the Developing Responsible Individuals for a Vibrant Economy Act, which they’re calling the DRIVE-Safe Act. The bill would create a pathway for young drivers between the ages of 18 and 21 to earn the right to drive commercial vehicles from coast to coast.
In the proposed bill, young drivers are referred to as “apprentices” and would need to fulfill multiple requirements to earn the right to drive interstate. The first step is to obtain a CDL. Then, the apprentice would need to complete at least 400 hours of on-duty time. During that time, it is their employer’s responsibility to ensure that the apprentice is “competent” in multiple areas including both essential driving (backing, traffic laws, safety awareness, etc.) and non-driving tasks (logging hours, inspections, trip planning, navigation, etc.).
Of those 400 hours of on-duty time, at least 240 hours must be spent actually driving. While they are driving, they must have an experienced driver in the cab with them.
In addition, the apprentice must operate a CMV that is governed at no more than 65 miles per hour, has active braking collision mitigation systems, and has forward-facing video cameras.
Once the apprentice has completed all of the requirements, he or she will be able to operate over state lines in exactly the same way as a trucker aged 21+.
The bill is backed by the American Trucking Association and International Foodservice Distributors Association who are looking for a way to address the “driver shortage.”
“[The bill is] a common-sense proposal that will open enormous opportunities for the 18-21 year-old population, giving them access to a high-paying profession free of the debt burden that comes with a four-year degree,” said ATA President and CEO Chris Spear. “Moreover, this bill would strengthen training programs beyond current requirements to ensure safety and that drivers are best prepared.”