DOT Works to Establish Apprenticeship Program for Young Truck Drivers
On Friday, the Department of Transportation (DOT) filed an emergency request for approval to collect information for a young driver apprenticeship program. The request is the first step DOT has taken to establish a young driver pilot program as required by the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act signed into law last year.
The pilot program mirrors the program outlined in S.659 and H.R.1745, the DRIVE Safe Act, and permits 18 to 20 year old commercially licensed drivers to operate in interstate commerce following their participation in a rigorous 400-hour apprenticeship. The pilot program is authorized to operate for 3 years and will allow up to 3,000 apprentices to participate at any given time.
Currently, 18 to 20 year old drivers may obtain a commercial driver’s license in each of the 48 contiguous states, but federal law prevents them from driving across state lines or transporting interstate goods. The pilot will allow DOT officials to collect data on young drivers operating in interstate commerce and provide advocates of the DRIVE Safe Act with the data necessary to push for full passage of the bill.
IWLA endorsed the DRIVE Safe Act and helped secure inclusion of the young driver pilot in the bipartisan infrastructure bill. The Biden administration is highlighting the pilot as one of many steps the administration is taking to provide relief from the truck driver shortage and its grip on the supply chain.
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