WASHINGTON, DC – More than 80 bipartisan House members sent a letter to Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg Thursday demanding the Department of Transportation (DOT) allow truck drivers under 21 to cross state lines.
Supply chain disruptions are creating a lack of goods and higher prices across the country. The COVID-19 pandemic continues to impact transportation for wholesale, commercial and industrial businesses and ultimately, consumers.
“Amid the growing supply chain crisis, drivers in the trucking industry have stepped up to ensure the timely delivery of goods. Yet even with their efforts, there simply aren’t enough truckers on the road to meet the demand,” the letter says. “As our supply chain issues continue to grow, we should be doing everything we can to fix the problem.
Midwest Trucker’s Association Executive Director Don Schaefer told Brownfield Ag News the program could allow truck drivers under 21 to cross state lines to move ag products. “To push this pilot program, has been a task that’s been tried for years and years and years but now when you start talking, we have a shortage of truck drivers anywhere from 60,000 to 80,000, it makes this issue even more important and it’s not just for the ag industries but all across the board.”
Currently, 49 states and the District of Columbia allow 18 to 20-year-old commercial driver license (CDL) holders to operate commercial motor vehicles (CMVs) in intrastate commerce but these same drivers, who may have been driving safely for three years, are unable to drive across state lines.
House Representative Dusty Johnson (R-SD) argued at an earlier hearing this week on the matter that getting people involved in trucking younger would not only help the economy but also their economic futures. “Getting people connected younger presumably would help them make better careers even earlier,” he said.