The trucking industry has remained resilient throughout the pandemic, but one of the main issues that is constantly making headlines is the shortage of drivers. On November 5th a $1 trillion infrastructure package that includes reworking roads, bridges and a program that will bring younger drivers into the trucking industry was approved. The Developing Responsible Individuals for a Vibrant Economy, or DRIVE-Safe Act, that was sponsored by Senator Todd Young of Indiana is intended to address industry wide shortage of truck drivers.
According to Bob Costello Chief Economist of the American Trucking Association (ATA), “trucking is short at least 80,000 drivers”.
The DRIVE-Safe Act will change the current federal law that individuals may obtain a commercial driver’s license at the age of 18 but may not transport goods from state to state until they are 21 years of age. According to the ATA this would allow up to 3,000 drivers aged 18 to 20 to undergo specific training and mentoring, permitting them to drive across state lines. Currently, only qualified CDL drivers 21 and older are allowed to drive on interstates across state lines. This is a small step to close the 80,000-job gap but according to ATA “if nothing is done, the industry’s shortage will worsen to 160,000 drivers by 2030”.
With people now starting to see delays in goods needed for the holiday season the passing of this $1 trillion infrastructure package gives hope to the trucking industry. Which could be another step closer to getting back to a sense of normal since the pandemic began.