Can Younger CMV Drivers Solve the Driver Shortage?

Is including younger CMV drivers in the driver pool one way to solve the driver shortage?

The idea of expanding CDL licensure to younger CMV drivers is being tested in several programs, as detailed in the newest report from Scopelitis Transportation Consulting.

Although there’s debate about the driver shortage, many in the trucking industry have sounded multiple alarms about what is seen as a significant shortage of truck drivers to move the nation’s freight. In fact, the American Transportation Research Institute’s annual “Top 10 Industry Issues Report” has noted that the driver shortage has been the number one industry concern for the last 4 years in a row.

The American Trucking Associations estimates that more than 60,000 truck drivers are needed immediately, and by 2028 this number will balloon to 160,000. The result of which, when coupled with retirements and growth, is the industry will need to hire approximately 1.1M new drivers, an average of 110,000 per year.

In their report, Scopelitis details additional challenges to fully seating CMVs, including:

• The impacts of COVID, which has limited the number of drivers able to enter the workforce and pushed many drivers into other professions or retirement

• Aging (average age is 55) and lack of diversity (94% of drivers are male) in the driver workforce

• The recently implemented Drug & Alcohol Clearinghouse, which has sidelined more than 70,000 drivers since its inception due to positive test results

• The soon to be implemented (February of 2022) Entry-Level Driver Training rules

Are younger CMV drivers the answer?

Multiple approaches are being tried to address the issue, including pay increases and signing bonuses. But many in the industry are advocating for younger CMV drivers. Currently, 49 states and DC allow drivers to get a CDL at the age of 18 for intrastate freight, but for interstate, drivers must be at least 21.

Among the proposed test programs are the DRIVE-Safe Act and an Apprenticeship Program. Get the details on these new programs to find out if they might help your business seat more drivers—download the report today.

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