A group of lawmakers recently forwarded correspondence to Department of Transportation (DOT) officials to support the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s (FMCSA) program.
The DOT initiative is modeled after Sen. Todd Young’s (R-IN) Responsible Individuals for a Vibrant Economy (DRIVE-Safe) Act, which establishes an apprenticeship program allowing the legal operation of commercial motor vehicles in interstate commerce by commercial driver’s license holders under the age of 21.
“In the same vein as the DRIVE-Safe Act, DOT’s proposed pilot program is also firmly based on transportation safety,” the legislators indicated via a letter to Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao. “Per the Department’s regulation of commercial vehicles, safety is the primary purpose and goal, and the proposed program will take significant steps to ensure the safe and efficient movement of interstate commerce.”
The lawmakers cited circumstances in which 49 states and the District of Columbia presently allow commercial drivers under 21 to operate in intrastate commerce.
“As established by the new pilot program, the robust training regimen goes far beyond what is currently required for 18-to-20-year-old commercial driver’s license holders,” the lawmakers concluded. “This will not only set the stage for improving safety on our roads, but will also lead to a highly trained, talented, and safety-focused workforce across the industry.”
The lawmakers noted trucking industry mobilization in response to the COVID-19 pandemic had demonstrated the workforce’s critical nature to the economy and the nation’s emergency response supply chain.