With stores running bare and supply chain issues threatening to further squeeze American families, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration has unveiled a new program designed to fill the labor shortage that the Biden administration has created, allowing 18 to 20-year-old drivers to cross state lines- something that has never before been allowed.
Currently, an 18-year old can drive from Sidney to Missoula, but can’t drive another 30 miles one state over.
The program, called the Safe Driver Apprenticeship Pilot, further expands Registered Apprenticeship programs, with over 100 employers and industry partners announcing their support, in order to fill over 80,000 vacant jobs across the country.
It’s not like this is being done without any care, however. There are a few conditions, such as the drivers cannot have driving-while-impaired violations or traffic tickets for causing a crash. Furthermore, before they can be left alone they will have to pass two probationary periods, one of 120-hours and the other 280-hours, at which time an experienced driver will need to be in the passenger seat.
Billy Wall, training director at Arbuckle Truck Driving School bemoaned the fact that this hasn’t been done sooner, calling it a ‘common-sense’ solution.
If they are safe enough to drive a truck in the state that they live in, why not be safe enough to drive outside of it, because they still have to meet the same parameters?”
With the new vaccine mandate being imposed on truckers who haul goods across the US-Canada border going into effect yesterday, and the effect that will have on supply chains as an estimated 30% of truckers are unvaccinated, and not planning on getting one, the move will likely be too little to stem the growing alarm and continued bottlenecks.