Could 18 to 20-year-old truck drivers help fix supply chain bottlenecks?

The Midwest Truckers Association says the Department of Transportation (DOT) is kicking the tires on a pilot program that could help improve supply chain bottlenecks.

Executive Director Don Schaefer tells Brownfield the program could allow truck drivers under 21 to cross state lines to move ag products. “To push this pilot program, has been a task that’s been tried for years and years and years but now when you start talking, we have a shortage of truck drivers anywhere from 60 to 80,000, it makes this issue even more important and it’s not for the ag industries but all across the board.”

Congressman Dusty Johnson of South Dakota and more than 80 bipartisan House members have sent a letter to Secretary Pete Buttigieg asking the DOT’s Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA)  to implement the program.

Schaefer says state CDL laws can be problematic for producers because it prevents 18–20-year-old drivers from traveling interstate. “If you’re hauling grain to a river terminal, for example, the rival terminal on the west side of the Mississippi and you’re on the east side of the Mississippi, well you can not send that 18–20-year-old down there to make that movement.”

Johnsonsays the Biden administration isn’t taking “tangible steps to fix the problem” and the program could add more than 3,000 truck drivers to the industry.

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