The trucking industry is facing low unemployment! Truck transportation has added 3,200 jobs since last year and the numbers are still climbing. Due to the economic boost and the increase in e-commerce from online retailers there is a huge demand for trucks and drivers; however, with older truckers retiring who will replace them? Young adults seem to be turning their cheeks to any job openings perhaps because of the now self-driving trucks in Atlanta, but more likely because the driver must be at least 21 to apply. This deters them from starting trucking right after high school which makes it hard to find truckers these days.
But good news is on the horizon! The DRIVE- Safe Act, presented by Representatives Duncan Hunter and Trey Hollingsworth, is a bill that helps get young drivers eligibility while keeping them and us safe. It fixes the technicality that allows drivers under 21 to drive eight or more hours through a long state (like FL), but doesn't allow for a fourteen-mile drive from VA to Washington DC. There are, of course, requirements and benchmarks an 18 to 21 year old must attain before getting a CDL such as additional training via a two-step program and 400 hours of apprenticeship.
This bill keeps the young drivers safe by making sure their trucks have a limit of 65 MPH, have forward-facing video event capture, and have systems to help avoid collisions. With the DRIVE-Safe Act the next generation of truckers can safely and securely fill open jobs without having to worry so much about what to do between high school graduation and the day they turn 21. Now retirees can be swiftly replaced and the trucking industry can continue.
These days freight markets have somewhat stabilized after an upsurge in demand at the end of 2017. Even though there’s still a shortage of drivers, wages and benefits for them are spiking in hopes to attract newcomers as well as keep oldtimers. Self-driving trucks won’t completely drown out human truckers and young men and women can start driving across state lines much younger; there will be enough jobs and workers for the next decade.