Last Aug. 10, the U.S. Senate passed the Infrastructure Bill, containing provisions that will help the trucking industry move forward with greater efficiency. Repairs and addition of bridges and roads denote that in the near future, trucking firms will face fewer traffic congestions while their trucks will be running on better and safer roads. On the side, the approved bill also includes the “DRIVE Safe Act,” which addresses the growing driver shortage problem besetting the trucking industry.
The American Trucking Association (ATA) believes that the bill provides the solution to the worsening driver shortage problem that in recent years, has been adversely affecting the supply chain.
According to the ATA, 60,800 driver job vacancies were left unfilled in 9 and that the number has drastically risen, partly as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak. While the average age of truck drivers in America is 46 years old, many took to retiring earlier than expected. Others shifted to truck driving jobs deemed as posing less risk to their health and safety, whilst allowing them to spend more time with their families during this critical period.
In not being able to find enough drivers to see to the delivery of important goods and materials, the backlog of orders have been affecting the operation of other businesses, particularly those in the food business. The DRIVE-Safe Act is that one legislative action seen by logistics experts as a critical solution to the driver shortage phenomenon.
What is the DRIVE-Safe Act?
The DRIVE-Safe Act aims to address driver shortage problem by removing the one obstacle that has been preventing the trucking industry to fill in certain vacancies with younger drivers. Mainly because a driver with a CDL needs to be at least 21 years old to be able to move freight from state to state.
Under the DRIVE Safe legislation 18-year olds who have been issued with a Commercial Driver License (CDL) are now qualified for interstate commercial driving.
However, to qualify as a commercial interstate driver, an 18-year old CDL holder must undergo an apprenticeship training program that requires at least 400 hours of actual on-duty driving, of which 240 hours must have been spent under the tutelage and supervision of an experienced truck driver.
The program aims to see fresh batch of young drivers making a successful career of a highly valuable profession through their knowledge of the safety standards and performance protocols prescribed by the Department of Transportation.
Forthcoming Infrastructure Construction Projects Expected to Impact Logistics and Supply Chain
Inasmuch as the Infrastructure Bill gives the federal government under the Biden administration, the necessary funding to repair and build new roads and bridges, the forthcoming public construction activities will still impact logistics and supply chain. That is why trucking firms are now gearing up with different kinds of trucking office software to stay resilient in facing impending challenges amidst growing competition.
There are different trucking office programs and applications that provide tools a company can use for a specific need. Let’s take for example the DRIVE-Safe Apprenticeship Training Program, which requires an 18 year old CDL driver to have at least 240 hours of the 400-hour training spent with a highly experienced truck driver.
A driver team trucking software can still make the on-duty apprenticeship training still profitable as it will make planning team driver assignments as quick and easy as planning for a single-driver dispatch order. A team driver trucking software can help fleet managers and dispatchers map out routes, analyze freight details, prepare schedules and project the related costs, including toll fees and driver pay-rates. Moreover, it allows for remote monitoring and communication to prevent mix-ups.