Hollingsworth Reintroduces Workforce Development Legislation
March 10, 2021
Washington, D.C.- Representative Trey Hollingsworth (IN-09) released the following statement after reintroducing the Developing Responsible Individuals for a Vibrant Economy (DRIVE-Safe) Act in the House of Representatives. This legislation promotes job opportunities, enhances safety training for new members of the workforce, and addresses the issues driver shortages cause the trucking and foodservice distributer industries as well as consumers across the nation.
“DRIVE-Safe creates more career opportunities for hard-working Hoosiers to get involved in a growing, 21st century economy workforce,” said Rep. Hollingsworth. “This bill also breaks down barriers for small businesses who want to grow and hire qualified employees.”
“This bill has strong, bipartisan backing because it’s both common sense and pro-safety,” said Chris Spear, President and CEO of American Trucking Associations. “It raises the bar for training standards and safety technology far above what is asked of the thousands of 18- to 20-year-old drivers who are already legally driving commercial vehicles in 49 states today. The DRIVE Safe Act is not a path to allow every young person to drive across state lines, but it envisions creating a safety-centered process for identifying, training and empowering the safest, most responsible 18- to 20-year-olds to more fully participate in our industry. It will create enormous opportunities for countless Americans seeking a high-paying profession without the debt burden that comes with a four-year degree.”
“This common-sense proposal will open enormous opportunities for the 18-21 year-old population, giving them access to a high-paying profession and free of the debt burden that comes with a college degree,” said Mark S. Allen, President and CEO of the International Foodservice Distributors Association. “We thank Congressman Hollingsworth for his continued leadership on this issue.”
“The coronavirus pandemic has worsened America’s severe truck driver shortage and is threatening to undermine America’s supply chains when we need them most. Driver availability is at an all-time low, and it’s clear that action is needed to reduce barriers to entering the trucking industry,” said National Association of Chemical Distributors (NACD) CEO & President Eric R. Byer.
“NACD applauds Rep. Trey Hollingsworth (R-IN) for his leadership in recognizing the importance of finding solutions to this crisis by re-introducing the DRIVE Safe Act. This legislation will help address America’s severe truck driver shortage by lowering the interstate commercial driving age to 18 and creating pathways to employment for a new segment of the workforce, while strengthening training programs beyond current requirements to ensure continued safety.
“We urge the House to move quickly in passing the DRIVE Safe Act to ensure our nation’s trucking workforce is able to effectively and efficiently conduct commerce across the country.”
Recent estimates suggest trucking companies will need to hire an additional 1.1 million drivers to keep up with the rate of retiring drivers, among other factors, over the next several years.
49 states, including Indiana, allow commercial driver’s licenses (CDLs) to be issued to drivers at the age of 18; federal regulation restricts CDL-holding drivers from operating across state lines until they are 21. Currently, there is no additional training required for drivers when they turn 21 and become eligible to participate in interstate commerce transportation, but the arbitrary delay hampers the hiring of prospective truck drivers under 21 and dissuades those skilled workers from pursuing the driving industry. This issue is particularly problematic in regions like our Southern Indiana area where an emerging driver would be prohibited from making a quick trip from New Albany, IN across the river to Louisville, KY. But, the same driver could haul a load from New Albany, IN to South Bend, IN, nearly 260 miles away.
The “Developing Responsible Individuals for a Vibrant Economy Act”, or the “DRIVE-Safe Act” would allow employers to provide CDL holders below the age of 21 with an extensive training program that will allow them to safely participate in interstate commerce upon completion.
The bill has broad regional, bipartisan, and bicameral support. In the House, Reps. Cuellar, Westerman, Cooper, LaHood, Slotkin, Hinson, Balderson and Golden joined Hollingsworth as original cosponsors for the bill. In the Senate, Senators Tester, Moran, King, Inhofe, Sinema, Cotton, and Manchin introduced the companion bill.
Read full text of the legislation here.