Tester, Young Introduce Bipartisan Bill to Expand Career Opportunities for Young Truck Drivers

Senator’s DRIVE-Safe Act provides Montanans aged 18-21 apprenticeship training with experienced truckers, boosts interstate commerce in rural communities

U.S. Senators Jon Tester (D-Mont.) and Todd Young (R-Ind.) introduced their bipartisan Developing Responsible Individuals for a Vibrant Economy (DRIVE-Safe) Act that would expand early career opportunities and training for young Montana truck drivers while providing an economic boost to rural communities who rely on the trucks to move goods in and out of the state.

Currently, 49 states and the District of Columbia allow individuals to obtain a commercial driver’s license (CDL) at age 18, but federal law prohibits drivers from moving goods across state lines until they are 21 years old. Tester and Young’s DRIVE-Safe Act would establish an apprenticeship program in order to allow for the legal operation of a commercial motor vehicles in interstate commerce by CDL holders under the age of 21.

“Now more than ever, young Montanans need more opportunities to get comprehensive job training, access higher paying work, and grow their careers early on,” said Tester. “This bipartisan bill will do just that, allowing younger truck drivers to get top-of-the-line apprenticeships that kick their careers into gear, all while providing a big boost to the thousands of communities across the Big Sky who rely almost exclusively on trucks to move goods in and out of the state.”

“Today, 18-year-olds can drive more than 200 miles from New Albany to Gary and back, but they aren’t allowed to drive two miles from New Albany to Louisville,” said Young. “The DRIVE-Safe Act will eliminate this ridiculous regulation and in doing so address the driver shortage while providing new career opportunities for young Hoosiers.”

The apprenticeship program would ensure young drivers are trained beyond current standards by instituting rigorous safety criteria and performance benchmarks. Young drivers would be required to complete at least 400 hours of on-duty time and 240 hours of driving time with an experienced driver in the cab with them.

All trucks used for the training program must also be equipped with safety technology including active braking collision mitigation systems, a video event capture system, and a speed governor set at 65 miles per hour or below.

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.

You can read the text of Tester and Young’s DRIVE-Safe Act HERE.