Hollingsworth Statement on FMCSA CDL Pilot Program

September 4, 2020

Contact: Katie Webster (202 225 5315)

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Rep. Trey Hollingsworth (IN-09) released the following statement on the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s (FMCSA) new pilot program to allow drivers aged 18, 19, and 20 to operate commercial motor vehicles (CMV) in interstate commerce: 

“I’m encouraged by the FMCSA’s pilot program and excited for its impact on federal legislation to extend interstate driving capabilities to all CDL holders. This is a commonsense edit to federal law that not only will address the driver shortage but will open up high-paid jobs to Americans looking to begin a career in the driving industry.”

Hollingsworth reintroduced the Developing Responsible Individuals for a Vibrant Economy (DRIVE-Safe) Act in the U.S. House of Representatives in February of 2019. This legislation addresses the nation’s truck driver shortage by creating a rigorous safety and training program that enables 18-20-year-old drivers, who have already obtained a commercial driver’s license (CDL), to drive across state lines. Current federal law restricts CDL holders from driving across state lines if under the age of 21. The DRIVE-Safe Act was recently included in the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee’s STARTER Act. 

The DRIVE-Safe Act creates a training program that would allow for the legal operation of a commercial motor vehicle in interstate commerce by commercial driver’s license holders under the age of 21. The employer-sponsored training program is comprised of two supervised probationary periods totaling 400 hours of in-vehicle driving and training. A candidate for an employer-sponsored training program must already hold a CDL, may begin training-supervised driving in interstate commerce when they begin the training program, and may drive in interstate commerce independently following successful completion of the program. The bill does not reduce the age requirements or alter the requirements to obtain a CDL.

FMCSA’s pilot program would allow drivers to participate if they fall within two categories: 1) 18 to 20-year-old CDL holders who operate CMV’s in interstate commerce while taking part in a 120-hour probationary period and a subsequent 280-hour probationary period under an apprenticeship program established by an employer, or 2) 19 and 20-year-old commercial drivers who have operated CMV’s in intrastate commerce for a minimum of one year and 25,000 miles. The study group drivers would not be allowed to operate vehicles hauling passengers or hazardous materials or special configuration vehicles. 

In July 2019, the American Trucking Association (ATA) released a report on the shortage of trucks in the United States, stating that the trucking industry needed 60,800 more drivers at the end of 2018 to meet the demand for freight services across the country. 

“As an industry, we need to find new ways to connect with potential new drivers,” said ATA Chairman Randy Guillot, president of Triple G Express and Southeastern Motor Freight.“By providing young people the opportunity to fully participate in the financially rewarding and dynamic world of trucking, we will be in a better position to bring in a new generation of valuable talent to our industry.”

 

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