The shortage of truck drivers in the U.S is one of the major challenges affecting the auto transport industry. In an attempt to assist the trucking workforce, the government is considering a program that allows teen drivers to become truckers. The purpose of this is to alleviate the supply chain crisis which affects the auto transport industry.
The program, which was first introduced in 2020 by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), would allow drivers aged 18-20 years to drive commercial motor vehicles (CMVs) in interstate commerce after concluding their probationary hours. However, they won’t be transporting passengers, hazardous materials or special configuration vehicles.
When the program was first proposed, the FMCSA released the eligibility requirements for young drivers to be qualified. Many states are now allowing 18 to 20-year-old CDL holders (Commercial Driver’s License to operate Commercial motor vehicles within state borders. The program is in a bid to bolster economic recovery by providing more skilled, safe, experienced drivers for employers.
Joe Biden’s Supply Chain Contribution
Last year, the Biden administration planned to strengthen the trucking workforce by creating more driving jobs that would attract a new generation of truckers while retaining the old ones. It was according to the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law proposed in 2021, charging the FMCSA to launch an apprenticeship program a pilot for drivers between ages 18 and 20.
This program would allow employers to train young drivers between the ages of 18 and 20 to become experienced truckers. As a result, the trucking industry can have new generation truckers that will drive future supply chain. The purpose of the initiative is to make up for the shortage of truckers in the auto transport industry.
Amid economic recovery efforts, the Biden-Harris Administration also organized a task force in June 2020 called the Truck Action Plan to address the near-term supply chain bottleneck. The Departments of Transportation and Labor are also making efforts to increase access to commercial driver’s license (CDL). They are focused on putting more skilled and safe drivers on the road.
While the program is awaiting approval from the Office of Management and Budget, the FMCSA is seeking public opinion. According to FMCSA Deputy Administrator Wiley Deck, the essence of soliciting public opinions “is to guide their examination of the safety, feasibility and possible economic benefits of allowing 18 to 20-year old drivers to operate in interstate commerce.
Impact of the Program to Solve the Trucking Industry Bottlenecks
While some criticizes the proposal, the American Trucking Associations and the Commercial Vehicle Training Association have shown their support to FMCSA’s proposal. However, some safety organizations such as Citizens for Reliable and Safe Highways expresses displeasure with the proposal. According to them, teen drivers are more distracted and have higher crash rates. They also indicate that teenagers are unable to correctly analyze dangerous situations.
In a way, the inflow of new young drivers into the trucking industry could be a short-term or even long-term fix to the current trucker’s shortage. Hence, the Safe Driver Apprenticeship pilot program by the FMCSA will train 3000 apprentices.
Supply Chain Crisis 2022
Shortage of semiconductor chips, car spare parts and automobile production were all results of the global supply chain disruption. This is due to the beginning of the pandemic when factories shut down and workers were in lockdown. Nearly everything was in shortage, including truckers, which placed more tension on the supply chain industry.
The trucking workforce plays a major role in the U.S supply chain industry. They are responsible for 72% of the goods shipped in the U.S. Amidst the supply chain crisis, a report estimate shows that long-haul full truckload drivers are currently working below their capacity – about 40% of their capacity is not being used. The factors responsible for this include the aging workforce, long wait hours at ports (often unpaid), willing retirement of truckers seeking better jobs.
In 2021, the truckers’ shortage deficit rose to a high of 80,000 drivers. The American Trucking Association believes that the deficit would grow to 160,000 drivers. This shortage has, in a way, contributed to the backlog experienced at major U.S. ports. The deficit will continue to grow without any feasible intervention. As such, the American Trucking Association (ATA), will require an influx of 1,000,000 new drivers to fix the deficit.
However, there seem to be regular issues stressing supply chain management. In a recent report, Michigan truckers states that the recent mandatory covid19 vaccination requirements for international drivers could hurt the auto transport industry even more. According to the Canadian Trucking Alliance (CTA), this measure will push out about 16,000 cross-border drivers. For an industry that lacks drivers, that is even terrible.
Ship Your Car with Metti International
The issue of trucker’s shortage has contributed to the skyrocketed price of car shipping. As a result, the few drivers left are saddled with more responsibility and may charge more for their services. This has also led to an increase in the costs of goods and services.
Once the proposed program is approved, it should help shrink the huge truckers’ deficit. The Department of Transportation has also nodded affirmation to the proposal by donating $32 million for states. This is to improve the commercial driving license process and ultimately the supply chain crisis. Most companies are also showing commitment to enhancing the pilot program.
At Metti International, we will always offer the best to our customers even with the ongoing shortage of drivers. We are an A+ rated business by the Better Business Bureau. Metti International is your trusted car shipping company with an extensive network of reliable auto carriers. As a licensed and bonded car shipping broker with the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, we provide our customers with a seamless auto shipping experience.
In response to the supply chain issue, we always advise our customers to ship their vehicles through major routes to lower cost. At Metti International, we ensure that our customers get the best value by providing safe and timely auto shipping. We also offer competitive pricing for all our car shipping services.