The Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association says that concerns about a driver shortage are largely myth and actually more about high turnover in one sector of the industry.
They have signed a letter along with other industry stakeholders in opposition to proposals to lower the age requirement for obtaining an interstate commercial drivers license. OOIDA also points to these statistics to support the fact there are plenty of drivers for any future supply needed.
The letter brings up a previous failed attempt to lower the age to 18 in the year 2001.
“This has been tried before and no one with any common sense thought it was a good idea,” said Spencer. “Nothing has changed since that time and no disruptions have ever taken place due to any perceived shortage of drivers. These latest efforts are just more ways to keep driver churn going and keep wages as low as possible.”
The letter was sent to the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure and was also signed by a long list of diverse groups.
An opening statement in the letter said “As the nation’s leading organizations and associations representing public health, consumers, safety and American truckers, we are certain these efforts would not only be detrimental to road safety, but also to those seeking to enter the trucking industry as professional drivers.”
The groups are opposed to two specific legislative proposals which would allow teenagers to drive large trucks. The bills are H.R. 5358, the Developing Responsible Individuals for a Vibrant Economy (DRIVE-Safe) Act and H.R. 3889, the Waiving Hindrances to Economic Enterprise and Labor (WHEEL) Act.
Among other statistics and concerns, the letter points out that intrastate CMV drivers under the age of 19 are four times more likely to be involved in fatal crashes, and CMV drivers who are 19-20 years of age are six times more likely to be involved in fatal crashes.
“We think it’s irresponsible to put young kids behind the wheel of a truck in order to avoid addressing the real problems of high turnover,” said Todd Spencer, president of OOIDA. “The focus should instead be on fixing the staggering turnover rate with better pay and working conditions.”