Amid Shortage of Truck Drivers, Faso Embraces DRIVE-Safe Act
Washington D.C. – Congressman John Faso (R-Kinderhook) today announced his support for the DRIVE-Safe Act (H.R. 5358) to help alleviate the nationwide shortage of commercial truck drivers. The bipartisan bill would amend federal regulations currently preventing truck drivers under the age of 21 from crossing state boundaries. Currently, the state of New York allows truck drivers under the age of 21, and the age of 18 or over, to drive within the state on intrastate highways, but not on interstate highways.
According to the Trucking Association of New York, 89% of New York communities depend exclusively on trucks to move their goods. The trucking industry in the state provides more than 275,000 jobs and pays wages in excess of $13 billion annually. However, there was an estimated 50,000-driver shortage nationwide in 2017, according to the American Trucking Association. That shortage is expected to rise to 174,000 drivers by 2026, if the current trends continue.
“Today’s truck driver shortage is worse than in any other period in the 109 years Ginsberg’s Foods has been in business,” said Ginsberg’s Foods CEO, Suzanne Rajczi. “The truck driver shortage hurts the U.S. economy, slows innovation, creates additional expense, and delays the delivery of critical resources to hospitals, schools, restaurants, and other businesses. The DRIVE-Safe Act is critical legislation that could have a profoundly positive impact on the economy and address a major threat to our country’s progress.”
“Demand for freight transportation is rising and the age of the truck driver workforce is growing older,” said Faso. “Most states across the country, including New York, already allow those under the age of 21, and at least the age of 18, to operate a commercial freight truck. This simple regulatory change would not only help alleviate the shortage, but it would also open up opportunities for young adults to enter the workforce and access good-paying jobs.”
Prior to having the regulation lapse for an individual, the prospective driver must complete sequential probationary periods where the individual must complete at least 400 hours of on-duty time with at least 240 hours driving with a qualified drive professional mentor. The additional training is more robust than current requirements. The driver must also be 18 years old.