Worried about the driver shortage? Help may be on the way in a new proposed Senate rule.
If there’s one issue that’s constantly discussed in the trucking industry, it’s the shortage of drivers. That’s become even more of an issue as the economy improves and demand for freight increases. Couple a shortage of drivers with new HOS regulations and you can see how this can keep fleet owners and managers up at night.
One of the things we, and others in the industry, have talked about is the need to attract younger drivers, to make driving a career of choice for those entering the workforce. Back in March, I wrote a blog on how to recruit millennials. Now a Senate bill has been introduced that will hopefully help mitigate the problem. Senator Deb Fischer (R-NE), along with co-sponsor Sen. Jon Tester (D-MT), introduced the Commercial Driver Act (S.1672). This law would permit contiguous states to enter into “interstate compacts with contiguous States and the District of Columbia to enter into interstate compacts with contiguous States to standardize the requirements for drivers operating commercial motor vehicles in interstate commerce,” including for drivers under the age of 21. Those drivers under the age of 21 may have some restrictions placed on them, but they would still be able to hold a license and, hopefully, put a dent in the driver shortage.
According to an article on Truckinginfo.com, the ATA supports this Act, since it estimates that the industry will need to recruit almost 100,000 new drivers per year for the next ten years to meet demand. The article points out that, besides helping reduce the shortage of drivers, the ruling has an additional silver lining. The unemployment rate for 18-21 year olds with a high school degree is higher than for the population over 21. Opening up the driver market provides job opportunity and a potential wellspring of drivers for the long haul…literally.
What are your thoughts on this new Act?