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The DRIVE Safe Act: How Younger Truckers Would Get Experience

An apprenticeship program may make it easier for younger people to get into the trucking industry.

WASHINGTON, D.C.--A truck driver shortage has caused prices for food, furniture, and many other products delivered by big trucks to go up. The DRIVE Safe Act could be a solution to that, says Mark Allen, president and CEO of the IFDA, the association for the food service delivery industry.

Sen. Todd Young (R-Ind.) and Rep. Trey Hollingsworth (R-Ind.), are helping put together bi-partisan support for the Act, which would allow younger drivers to be able to cross state lines while driving big trucks. Right now they can get a commercial license, but can only drive in state.

"Somebody as young as 18 years old can get a commercial drivers license in 48 out of 50 states. But, they can't cross a state boundary," said Allen.

He said his organization has proposed an apprenticeship program that would require a younger driver to spend 400 hours in the truck with a more experienced driver. Allen said 240 of those hours would be spent driving along side that driver.

"The truck would have to have certain safety technology: in-cab cameras, anti-braking technology, speed limiters and things of that nature."

Allen said he believes that would answer objections by people who say the younger drivers lack the judgment of older, more experienced drivers.

He also said it would provide a gateway into the industry for people who may not have college in their sights. He said in the food service delivery industry, drivers make as much as $63,000 per year.

Allen also cited a poll conducted in early March that says 9 out of 10 people surveyed support the DRIVE Safe Act.

PHOTO: Chris Davis/Emmis

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