Legislation aiming to allow young commercial drivers to transport freight from ports was recently introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives by Rep. Brian Mast (R-Fla.). The Ceasing Age-Based (CAB) Trucking Restrictions Act would classify certain statewide freight operations linked to ports as in-state matters.
Rep. Mast (Transportation and Infrastructure Committee) is introducing a bill to fix the supply chain by allowing qualified drivers 18-20 years old to transport freight from U.S. ports.
“America’s supply chain is in crisis,” Representative Owens (a member of the transportation panel) said shortly after the bill’s introduction. “Struggling businesses in Utah and across the nation require immediate action to ease these harmful disruptions and rebound from key product shortages.”
Other Republican sponsors of the bill include Reps. Tom McClintock (CA), Michael Guest (MS), and Randy Feenstra (IA). Feenstra, a member of the Budget Committee, said: “Federal over-regulation has exacerbated trucker shortages and prevented household goods from reaching the market. I’m proud to help introduce common-sense legislation to streamline our supply chains, and ensure that qualified, safe drivers can more efficiently transport everyday goods.”
This year, House Transportation Committee Chairman Sam Graves (R-Mo.) has expressed a willingness to pursue efforts to improve supply chain connectivity: “I look forward to … develop solutions to improve our infrastructure, strengthen transportation programs, and help alleviate ongoing energy and supply chain problems.”
The CAB Trucking Restrictions Act, specific to ports, would expedite efforts to turn to a young driver workforce. This spurred the Safe Driver Apprenticeship Pilot Program to train truckers under 21, connecting them with interstate trucking careers. The Biden administration emphasized that the 2021 Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act would enhance safety and connectivity in commercial supply chains.
American Trucking Associations determined the industry is short 78,000 drivers, down from their previous estimate of 80,000. ATA executive vice president Bill Sullivan commended Mast’s bill, noting that “widening and deepening the pool of talent to drive those trucks is vital to addressing economic growth, mitigating inflation, and ensuring delivery of our nation’s freight.”
Jonathan Eisen, executive director of ATA Intermodal Motor Carriers Conference, said: “The inability of the intermodal supply chain to handle imported freight for two years has had long-term impacts on our economy. The Conference believes this legislation allowing CDL drivers to carry freight within the same state will help increase the pool of available drivers to avoid similar issues in the future.”
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