Senator Todd Young (R-IN) and a bipartisan group of seven other senators have reintroduced the “Developing Responsible Individuals for a Vibrant Economy Act” or “DRIVE Safe Act,” in the Senate. The bill would allow 18-to-20-year-old-drivers to operate commercial motor vehicles (CMVs), including vehicles transporting hazardous materials, in interstate commerce under certain safeguards and conditions.
The bill, which was first introduced in the last Congress, would require the completion of two separate apprenticeships before a driver under 21 years of age could drive a CMV in interstate commerce.
The probationary apprenticeship would require a minimum of 120 on-duty hours, with at least 80 hours behind the wheel of a CMV accompanied by an experienced driver. The apprentice would have to pass established performance benchmarks, including: interstate, city traffic, rural 2-lane, and evening driving; safety awareness; speed and space management; lane control; mirror scanning; right and left turns; and logging and complying with rules relating to hours of service.
The second apprenticeship would require a minimum of 280 on-duty hours, with at least 160 hours behind the wheel of a CMV. The apprentice would have to pass additional performance benchmarks, including: backing and maneuvering in close quarters; pre-trip inspections; fueling procedures; weighing loads, weight distribution, and sliding tandems; coupling and uncoupling procedure; and trip planning, truck routes, map reading, navigation, and permits.
This legislation is an attempt to mitigate the driver shortage throughout the trucking industry. The American Trucking Association has produced a fact sheet on the legislation.