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Legislation aims to boost number of truckers

Posted at 9:03 PM, Mar 01, 2019
and last updated 2019-03-01 21:03:17-05

INDIANAPOLIS — Tackling the truck driver shortage by making changes to the law. And a senator from our state is leading the charge at the federal level.

As RTV6 reported in our Hiring Hoosiers segments, there is a trucker shortage, which will only worsen as baby boomers retire.

The need for drivers is great. As many as 50,000 nationally and 4,500 in Indiana.

One way to expand the pool of drivers is to provide opportunities to young truckers. Many states will allow individuals to obtain a commercial drivers license at the age of 18, but federal law currently prohibits, those operators from moving goods from state to state until they turn 21. A bill introduced by Sen. Todd Young, R-IN, will alter that restriction.

"You can not only drive from Mt. Vernon in the southwest to Angola in the northeast, but you can drive from Gary to Chicago or Jeffersonville over to Louisville," Sen. Young said.

The bill would also provide for apprenticeship training programs. Young drivers would have to complete at least 400 hours of on-duty time, and 240 hours of driving time with an experienced driver in the cab with them.

19-year-old Mason Good is a dispatcher now working for Carter Express, but he wants to one day be a driver.

"Get to know the truck. Get to train with an actual, really experienced, safe driver so I can learn off what he is doing," Good said.

The industry wants more Mason Good's.

"Every carrier you ask these days will say the economy is great. We are hauling all the freight we can haul with the drivers we have," Gary Langston, with Indiana Motor Truck Association, said. "We all have trucks on the fence that we can't move because we don't have the drives for the seats."

Rep. Trey Hollingsworth, R-IN, introduced companion legislation in the house earlier this year.