Tester’s Bipartisan Workforce Development Bill Expands Career Opportunities for Truckers

Senator’s DRIVE Safe Act cuts red tape and establishes a new apprenticeship opportunity for Montanans

(U.S. Senate) – U.S. Senators Jon Tester (D-Mont.) and Todd Young (R-Ind.) today introduced legislation to establish a new training initiative for 18 to 20-year-old truck drivers by removing federal regulatory barriers that prevent them from entering the interstate workforce before they turn 21.

Tester’s Developing Responsible Individuals for a Vibrant Economy (DRIVE) Safe Act would lift federal regulations that prevent Montana truck drivers under 21 years of age from transporting goods across state lines while requiring them to complete extensive apprenticeship training with experienced drivers. Most states, including Montana, permit individuals to obtain a commercial driver’s license at age 18, but federal rules restrict those drivers from moving goods across state lines until they are 21. Tester’s bill would lift this regulation.

“Providing this workforce development opportunity for young drivers will lead to more comprehensive training, expanded career opportunities, and access to higher paying jobs,” Tester said. “This bipartisan bill will also provide a big boost to Montana communities that rely almost exclusively on trucks to move goods in and out of the state.”

“Hoosiers know Indiana as the Crossroads of America thanks to our strong infrastructure network and the numerous logistics providers that call Indiana home. We understand more than anyone the need to develop a responsible pathway to safely train more drivers,” Young said. “This apprenticeship program will address the driver shortage, create new career opportunities for young Hoosiers, and substantially raise training standards to ensure safety on the roads.”

Tester’s bipartisan bill would establish a two-step training program requiring drivers under the age of 21 to complete an apprenticeship that includes at least 400 hours of on-duty time and 240 hours of driving time with an experienced driver in the cab. The apprenticeship would help guarantee that younger drivers are trained beyond current safety standards.

The DRIVE Safe Act is supported by the Motor Carriers of Montana, the American Trucking Association, the National Restaurant Association, and the International Foodservice Distributors Association.

“It is difficult to understand why an 18-year-old can drive clear across the state but can’t drive 58 miles from Sidney to Williston,” said Barry “Spook” Stang, Executive Vice President of the Motor Carriers of Montana. “The DRIVE Safe Act will provide much needed training and opportunities for young Montanans to become professional truck drivers and help fill the driver shortage across the U.S. We would like to thank Senator Tester for supporting this bill.”

In Montana, 65 percent of communities depend exclusively on trucks to move their goods and approximately one out of every 17 jobs are associated with the trucking industry.