In this week’s trucking update, we take a look at current happenings going on in the industry including a push for the DRIVE-Safe Act, increasing minimum driver carrier requirements, and March trailer order numbers.
In a recent letter sent to the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation and the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure, 117 organizations pushed for the DRIVE-SAFE Act to be put into effect, allowing those drivers under the age of 21 to travel interstate after a 2-step apprenticeship program and a minimum of 400 hours of additional training. The law currently allows for drivers in this age bracket to travel intrastate only, posing a concern as by the age of 21, many feel that the younger generation will already be on a career path, turning away possible prospects during a time when they are desperately needed.
According to the letter, truck driver demand is expected to grow over 160,000 by the year 2028 with 60,800 additional drivers needed ASAP. (1) This number is expected to get worse as many retire.
Minimum Carrier Insurance Requirements
Currently, motor carriers are required to have a minimum insurance liability requirement of $750,000, first established in 1980, but many believe that number to be too low when accounting for inflation in medical costs throughout the years.
Last week, Rep. Jesús “Chuy” García reintroduced the “INSURANCE Act,” which would aim to increase the current minimum. How much of a jump has not yet been made available but those who are familiar with the proposal may recall that García had tried to raise the requirement in 2019 to $4.925 million (an increase of 550%) and again to $2 million last year (an increase of 167%). (2) As OOIDA’s Executive Vice President Lewie Pugh pointed out, an increase to $2 million could double the amount motor carriers pay each year.
If passed, the bill would adjust the requirement amount every 5 years to account for inflation. (2)
March Trailer Orders
Trailer orders have gone up again, skyrocketing nearly triple of last year and increasing 12% month-over-month, according to ACT Research. While the uncertainly of COVID last year took a hit on orders, the increase last month shows a positive outlook among carriers during a time when trailer orders are historical known to drop off. (3) Even though orders are up, however, the production backlog continues as a staff shortage due to COVID-19 (between people not returning to work yet and those out sick) leads to decreased turnout of manufacturing parts and materials from suppliers struggling to keep up with demand.
Stay tuned to Road Scholar Transport for the latest happenings going on in the trucking industry.
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