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Hoping to address the shortage of truck drivers in the foodservice distribution industry, Reps. Duncan Hunter (R-Calif.) and Trey Hollingsworth (R-Ind.), with support from the International Foodservice Distributors Association (IFDA) and the American Trucking Associations (ATA), introduced the Developing Responsible Individuals for a Vibrant Economy Drive Safe Act. The legislation aims to allow younger drivers to deliver across state lines after they receive the proper training.
Current regulations allow a driver in most states to receive a commercial driver's license at age 18 yet do not allow operators to move goods from state to state, even between locations in close proximity, until they are 21. This is a particular problem for younger truckers wishing to make a short interstate run, but must instead choose an often much longer intrastate delivery.
The bill also promotes safety training for emerging members of the growing truck driver workforce thereby "…reinforcing a culture of safety to provide our nation's youth with the critical skills they need to operate a truck in the 21st century," says Mark Allen, IFDA president and CEO.
Given the more than one million restaurants, hospitals, care facilities, hotels, resorts, colleges, universities and other foodservice outlets in the U.S., the demand is high for more drivers who can deliver what the outlets need to meet consumer demand. More drivers would mean more on-time deliveries, more flexibility in the ordering process, and smoother operations overall, according to the Drive Act.
The Drive Safe Act "…is a common-sense proposal that will open enormous opportunities for the 18-21-year-old population," says Chris Spear, ATA President and CEO.
According to a press release issued by the ATA on March 21, 2018, the Drive Safe Act will help further train younger drivers who, once certified with a CDL, may complete an additional safety program that includes at least 400 hours of on-duty time and 240 hours of driving time together with an experienced driver. The trucks used in the training program must be equipped with safety technology including video event capture and a speed governor.
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