In order to receive an automobile driver’s license in most states, you must be 16 years old; however, in order to be a commercial truck driver that can cross state lines, you must be 21 years old. Currently, federal regulations allow 18 year olds to obtain their CDL (Commercial Drivers License) and travel within their state lines as a commercial truck driver, but cannot travel into another state until they reach the age of 21, even if that next state is 30 minutes away. The DRIVE Safe Act is a strong attempt to address and change this issue.
The Changes Proposed by This Act
“DRIVE” Safe Act stands for Developing Responsible Individuals for a Vibrant Economy and is a bipartisan supported bill that if passed, will change the current legal age to haul freight across state lines from 21 to 18, which is aimed to reduce the current truck driver shortage.
The current driver shortage is a real problem that if not addressed, will affect the nation’s overall economic security. Strong bipartisan supporters contend this is a great opportunity to improve the lives of many young people by allowing them opportunities and room to grow in the trucking industry. By expanding the work force to younger people, the driver shortage can be lessened and the gap closed.
Regarding any safety concerns, this Act has established a required completion of an apprenticeship that entails riding with an experience driver for 240 hours AND completing at least 400 hours of on-duty drive time. Many people opposed to this Act argue that this requirement pales in comparison to maturity and experience that accompanies age.
Secondly, regarding safety concerns, the Drive Safe Act is designed to offer trucks that are safety equipped with active braking systems, speed control overseers that prohibit speeds of over 65 mph, along with forward-facing video dash cameras.
Despite the strong support, those opposed still argue that drivers this young and inexperienced will have a difficult time obtaining insurance to cover this type of risk, the expansion of the work force will drive down the truck driver wages, and because of inexperience, young drivers will endanger others on the highways. Together, this will have a “backfire” effect on the driver shortage problem.
If you have any questions regarding the Drive Safe Act, feel free to contact Burkett & Associates Insurance Agency at 256-704-7400 and we will be glad to assist you. While there are strong arguments for both sides, the vote has yet to be finalized one way or the other. Stay tuned!