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JEFFERSONVILLE, IN – Today, U.S. Representative Trey Hollingsworth (IN-09) hosted a press conference to discuss workforce development and the DRIVE-Safe Act, along with representatives from Mister “P” Express, One Southern Indiana, Greater Louisville Inc., and the Indiana Motor Truck Association.

A full video recording of the event is available, here. Key excerpts are available below:

From Allan Parnell, Chairman of the Board, Mister “P” Express:

There are 3 and a half million truck drivers in the United States. There are over 10 million jobs involved in the trucking industry…trucking is the lifeblood of the nation’s economy. In a 50-mile radius of Louisville, there are 147 trucking companies which employ over 13,000 drivers…Congressman Hollingsworth certainly knows how valuable the trucking industry is to the United States economy.

From Representative Trey Hollingsworth (IN-09):

This legislation arose from exactly where it should – right here in District, from conversations with Allan and his great team here, from conversations with former Congressman Mike Sodrel and his team, and conversations with so many businesses from across the District that are facing this driver shortage that we’ve got. They’re seeing deliveries that are delayed, they’re seeing challenges in getting their products to market, they’re seeing challenges being able to operate their business because they don’t have enough drivers.

From Gary Langston, President of the Indiana Motor Truck Association

As President of the Indiana Motor Truck Association, I’m grateful to be here today to give voice to motor carriers from across our state. Without a doubt, the number one problem facing the trucking industry is the driver shortage. My message to all Hoosiers is this: the driver shortage doesn’t just affect trucking companies, it affects each and every one of you as well. Everything in your home or workplace, the food you eat, the clothes on your back, the shoes on your feet, has ridden on a truck at some point…when trucks stop our economy stops…Fortunately, Congressman Hollingsworth has shown outstanding leadership on this issue with the DRIVE-Safe Act.

From Wendy Dant Chesser, President and CEO of One Southern Indiana:

In Clark and Floyd Counties, well over 20 percent of the jobs are related to manufacturing. Those manufacturers can continue to make all the products that they want and can sell, but if they can’t get those products to their customers, via the transportation opportunities that we have here, then we are definitely hurting all of the economy…

From Iris Wilbur, Director of Government Affairs and Public Policy, Greater Louisville Inc.:

Workforce challenges are the top topics of discussion among our region’s employers, including Mister “P” Express…Within our region, we’re proud that we’re the crossroads of America, and we’re home to the world’s leading logistics hub, and freight is undeniably a major part of that success…We must address our current workforce gaps and the thousands of jobs that go unfilled every year like truck driving…The DRIVE-Safe Act is a positive step in addressing these issues. We thank Congressman Trey Hollingsworth for his efforts on behalf of our bi-state region, and we look forward to engaging the business community further in these efforts. 

Additional statements of support:

From Chris Jones, Vice President of Government Relations and Counsel, National Grocers Association:

Over 90 percent of recently surveyed NGA member companies report experiencing shipping delays in the last year, many of which can be traced back to a lack of available drivers. NGA appreciates the efforts of Representative Hunter and Representative Hollingsworth to open a pathway to allow younger drivers additional opportunities, and to do so in a way that does not compromise the safety of our roads.

From Jon Eisen, Senior Vice President of Government Affairs, International Foodservice Distributers Association:

This legislation paves the way for new drivers to sustain a safe and efficient supply chain for the more than one million restaurants and foodservice outlets in the U.S. This bill creates opportunity while reinforcing a culture of safety far and above current standards to provide the next generation of drivers with the critical skills they need to operate a truck in the 21st century.

From Chris Spear, President and CEO, American Trucking Association:

This is a common-sense proposal that will open enormous opportunities for the 18-21 year-old population, giving them access to a high-paying profession free of the debt burden that comes with a four-year degree. Moreover, this bill would strengthen training programs beyond current requirements to ensure safety and that drivers are best prepared.

Background:

The trucking industry is facing an acute shortage of drivers that is hurting small Hoosier trucking businesses. In most states individuals are allowed to obtain a commercial driver’s license at age 18, but those drivers are prevented from moving goods across state lines until they are 21. 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 DRIVE-Safe Act creates an 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 and may begin apprenticeship-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.


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