Could the Safe Driver Apprenticeship Program solve driver shortages?

March 11, 2022

Driver shortages have been listed as the number one issue in the American Trucking industry for the last five years – that’s going back before the COVID-19 pandemic! It’s estimated that there is a current shortage of 80,000 drivers, a figure which is growing due to more drivers retiring than there are new ones coming onto the job. The pandemic hasn't helped, with lots of drivers taking an early retirement and not returning to work.

Recently a potential solution to these concerns may have been found, with the signing into law of the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act by President Joe Biden. Included in the bill is the Safe Driver Apprenticeship Program, a program created to encourage younger drivers to get behind the wheel.

Initially launching as a pilot, the program allows drivers aged 18 to 20 to operate commercial motor vehicles (CMVs) for interstate commerce. While drivers of this age are currently allowed to operate a CMV within state lines, they are not able to cross into another state. This can be particularly frustrating for carriers and organizations operating close to state borders who do business with operations across a state line that may only be 20 miles away.

For the pilot, Congress has limited participants to 3,000 apprentices and 1,000 carriers. Carriers will be prioritized into the program on a number of factors including safety and compliance. Other conditions include they must be aged 18-20, have a valid CDL and have no disqualifying driving offenses.

While the bill has been welcomed by many, and touted as a potential aid to the ongoing supply chain crisis, critics say young drivers don’t have the experience to do the job safely and it’s putting the well-being of all road uses at risk. To mitigate safety concerns the bill includes a number of provisions for young drivers including forward-facing dashcams, top speeds of 65 mph and automatic emergency braking.

As well as helping with ongoing and increasing driver shortages, the US government signing into law the use of dashcams is a positive sign for the future of road safety, and potentially a glimpse into what may happen across the industry in the future.

CoreVision Dashcams

Coretex’s CoreVision dashcams combine driver and vehicle data with HD video to deliver more than a dashcam recording - it’s a complete view of every journey.

To find out more about our CoreVision dashcam, and how it could help your organization involved in the Safe Driver Apprenticeship Program, get in touch with our team today.