Arkansas Trucking Association

You are here: Home News In Brief Arkansas Trucking Association Praises Reintroduction of DRIVE-Safe Act

Arkansas Trucking Association Praises Reintroduction of DRIVE-Safe Act

The Arkansas Trucking Association (ATA) applauds the reintroduction of the DRIVE-Safe Act, a critical piece of legislation that aims to address the massive driver shortage affecting the delivery of commerce in our country, while also promoting enhanced safety training for new members of the workforce.

ATA also praises the support of Sen. Tom Cotton (R-AR), Sen. John Boozman (R-AR) and Rep. Bruce Westerman (R-AR) as co-sponsors of the legislation.

The trucking industry is hindered by federal law which prohibits the movement of goods across state lines by individuals under the age of 21. This arbitrary restriction on interstate deliveries is particularly problematic in attracting young people to the opportunities available in the trucking industry.  Most states, including Arkansas, allow individuals to obtain a commercial driver’s license (CDL) at age 18.  An 18-year-old driver may then legally deliver a load from Fort Smith to West Memphis, but is prohibited from delivering just nine miles further in Memphis, Tenn.

The proposed legislation would create a graduated two-step program for 18–21 year-old CDL holders to train with experienced drivers before earning credentials that would allow them to legally make interstate deliveries.

“ATA supported the DRIVE Safe Act in the previous Congress, and we are pleased to see it reintroduced this week. It’s a significant step that addresses two issues of importance to Arkansas,” said ATA president Shannon Newton. “First, it provides a career path for young people seeking to join an industry with a strong presence in our state. Second, for the more-than 4,000 registered motor carriers in Arkansas, the DRIVE Safe Act will help them provide service to their customers by accessing a pool of drivers who have been trained to exacting standards above and beyond current requirements.”

Introduced with bi-partisan support from both chambers, the DRIVE-Safe Act will help train younger drivers far and above current standards. Under the legislation, once a driver has met the requirements to obtain a CDL, the program’s additional training will include rigorous performance benchmarks that each candidate must achieve. Drivers will be required to complete at least 400 hours of on-duty time and 240 hours of driving time with an experienced driver with at least 2 years of driving experience in the cab with them. All trucks used for training in the program must be equipped with safety technology like collision mitigation, video event capture, and speed governors—the same systems that young drivers can expect to encounter throughout their career on the road. The experienced gained during apprenticeships would include interstate, city traffic, rural 2-lane, and evening driving, so apprentices can expect to graduate the program with skills for encountering a variety of driving situations and environments.

Newton concluded, “Most importantly, this bill puts safety at the forefront while keeping our economy moving forward. It’s a reasonable approach that benefits younger Arkansans and an industry with strong foundations in the state.”

Contact Us

Arkansas Trucking Association
PO Box 3476 (72203)
1401 West Capitol Ave.
Little Rock, AR 72201

(501) 372-3462 | Phone
(501) 376-1810 | Fax

Our Mission

  • PROTECT the collective interests of trucking companies in the political and regulatory arenas.
  • PROMOTE the dynamics of trucking so that people have a better understanding of the link between America's primary freight delivery system and the standard of living they enjoy.
  • SERVE our members to help them to grow their business and their profits
You are here: Home News In Brief Arkansas Trucking Association Praises Reintroduction of DRIVE-Safe Act