Truck Driving School

Drive Safe Act 2021: How Will It Affect the Trucking Industry?


Truck driving is a difficult career. You need to drive safe many hours for long distances and often must sleep in your truck’s cab. But truck drivers must meet few requirements to get a foot in the door of this dangerous industry.

As you know, the US is facing a huge truck driver shortage nowadays. It affects the economy because the cost of consumer goods are increased. According to the American Trucking Associations about 61 000 driving jobs went unfilled in 2019 and the situation is getting worse. Trucking is a difficult job that's why the average age for a truck driver is 46 years old that means trucking companies faces a retiring workforce.

Today 49 states allow individuals to earn their CDL if they are under 21 years of age and they can operate trucks in intrastate commerce. However, they are not allowed to across state lines until they turn 21.

Without essential actions from Congress, it would be difficult for many trucking carriers to find necessary number of truck drivers.

Congress introduced a new bill that could make requirements for truck drivers more lenient. The DRIVE-Safe Act might be the solution. Let’s learn how the DRIVE-Safe Act can affect the trucking industry.

How Can the DRIVE-Safe Act Help The US Economy?

The trucking industry in the United States is highly competitive. Carrier companies in this industry benefit from a professional workforce and relatively low costs. The trucking industry is an appealing career for younger drivers because of the flexible schedule and the greater control over their income.

Now when the world is recovering from the COVID-19 pandemic, many companies are continuing to advocate for the most important problems affecting the trucking industry. On April 14, 117 companies that represent the manufacturing, agriculture, retail, food service and trucking industries, sent a letter to Congress leaders asking to pass the DRIVE-Safe Act that can solve the huge shortage of truck drivers.

According to the federal law, most US states allow individuals to become a truck driver at the age of 18. However, if you are under the age of 21 you cannot transport goods from state to state. The DRIVE-Safe Act 2021 is going to change this regulation.

The drive safe act would offer a two-part apprenticeship program that would allow truck drivers under the age of 21 to operate a commercial vehicle in interstate commerce. But CDL truck drivers under the age of 21 would need to complete additional training – 400 hours of on-duty time and 240 hours of total driving time with a professional instructor supervising them in the cab.

During the training program, young truck drivers would be allowed to operate trucks equipped with the latest safety technology such as forward-facing dash cams, active braking collision mitigation systems,  speed limiters set at 65 mph (or lower), and automatic-manual transmissions.

This legislation would improve the situation with the shortage of truck drivers, as it would allow younger truck drivers to fill vacancies in the trucking industry. Additionally, younger drivers can start their careers and get more time to grow into their roles.

Reasons Why the DRIVE-Safe Act Is Important In The Trucking Industry

House Representatives Duncan Hunter and Trey Hollingsworth introduced the DRIVE Safe Act on March 20. It would help not only solve the problem with the driver shortage but also promote enhanced safety training for young truck drivers. The main reasons for driver act:

  • Trucking companies need truck drivers

As we know many trucking companies are facing a retiring workforce. The act drive will help trucking companies to fill vacancies, as trucking industry will need to hire about 1 million new truck drivers over the next decade.

  • The current law should reflect the reality

According to a 1938 law, truck drivers under the age of 21 are not allowed to take trips between states. That means they can drive hundreds of miles within a state but they are not allowed to take a simple 5-mile trip into another state. It simply doesn’t make sense. Today we have safer roads and vehicles, so current regulation should reflect this reality.

  • This Act gives an opportunity for young drivers to pursue trucking, without compromising safety

The current law as for interstate drivers under the age of 21 limits opportunities in the trucking career for recent high school graduates who choose not to go to college. That means they will be old enough to be interstate truck drivers when they end up in other careers. The drivesafe act solves this problem by creating two-stage apprenticeship programs with strong training and safety requirements to ensure that drivers between 18 and 21 can safely operate a commercial vehicles. In fact, these training and safety standards exceed those for over-21 truck drivers, potentially helping these truck drivers be better trained.

  • Truck driving is a well-paid job

In the United States, the average salary for truck drivers is about $75, 000 per year, compared with the average high school graduate’s annual salary of $38,000. So the requirements shouldn’t limit the trucking career but earn potential for young truck drivers.

Why Is The DRIVE-Safe Act Important?

The trucking industry is an essential part in transporting goods all over the nation. Truck drivers carry a variety of consumer goods, everything from food to raw materials.

The main reason of this law is that the US has a driver shortage in the trucking industry. So would allow younger individuals to fill those vacancies. Younger drivers will have more time to develop their skills and grow into their roles as professional truckers.

The trucking industry is continue to grow, as it is an important part of commerce and e-commerce in the United States. The DRIVE Safe Act is a solution that will help create a safer industry and develop the trucking industry in the United States in the upcoming years.