This week Congress was in recess, taking its annual President’s Day break from the nation’s capital. FRA took the opportunity to make the rounds with several House and Senate offices to recruit support for our transportation-related issue priorities, namely the DRIVE-Safe Act, and legislation allowing trucks traveling at the maximum weight limit on state roads to travel at that weight limit on that state’s portion of the interstate highway system.
The Developing Responsible Individuals for a Vibrant Economy (DRIVE) Safe Act would create apprenticeships that train 18-21-year olds to drive trucks interstate. The bill seeks to remove the single biggest regulatory barrier underlying the truck driver shortage: the recruitment of young drivers. Under the legislation, an apprenticeship program would be developed that addresses safety concerns of young drivers, a component of which requires 400 hours behind the wheel. Two hundred forty of those hours must be drive time with an experienced driver. The bill is expected to be introduced next week. Rep. Hank Johnson (D-GA), a member of the House Transportation & Infrastructure (T&I) Committee, has committed to be the lead Democrat for the bill. Rep. Al Green (D-TX) also indicated he will be an original cosponsor. On the Republican side, Paul Mitchell (R-MI), also a T&I Committee member, will lead the bill alongside Trey Hollingsworth (R-IN). In the Senate, Senators. Todd Young (R-IN) and Jon Tester (D-MT) are the Republican and Democrat leads, respectively.