Bill seeks to revitalize driver apprenticeship pilot program

May 31, 2023 By    

The National Propane Gas Association (NPGA) is tracking the DRIVE Safe Integrity Act, a new bill that aims to resolve the nationwide truck driver shortage. The bill, introduced by U.S. Reps. Rick Crawford, R-Ark., and Henry Cuellar, D-Texas, would remove the regulatory burdens that prevent drivers ages 18-20 from participating in interstate trucking.

According to the American Trucking Associations (ATA), the trucking industry is facing a shortage of more than 78,000 truck drivers coupled with a need to hire 1.2 million new drivers over the next decade to meet increasing freight demands. In 49 states plus the District of Columbia, 18-, 19- and 20-year-olds are permitted to obtain a CDL and drive heavy-duty commercial vehicles in intrastate commerce, but federal rules prohibit the same drivers from driving in interstate commerce.

The DRIVE Safe Integrity Act builds upon strong, bipartisan support for the DRIVE Safe Act over the past several Congresses and the inclusion of the Safe Driver Apprenticeship Pilot Program in the bipartisan infrastructure law of 2021. The apprenticeship pilot program allows up to 3,000 drivers ages 18-20 to participate in interstate trucking. However, the lack of participation in the program has prevented the Department of Transportation (DOT) from gathering data that could support a permanent program in the future and has spurred Congress to reintroduce legislation to address the driver shortage, NPGA’s Michael Baker explains in an email to LP Gas.

The DRIVE Safe Integrity Act would help get the pilot program back on track by addressing extraneous DOT requirements for program participation that were not included in the bipartisan infrastructure law, ATA says.

The House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee was scheduled to consider the bill in late May, but the chairman pulled it at the last minute, as members of the committee voiced concerns about several provisions in the legislation, Baker says. NPGA believes the legislation still has a reasonably good chance of passing the House, but the bill’s future beyond the chamber remains uncertain.

NPGA says it will continue to work with the ATA and other stakeholders to support the legislation.

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About the Author:

Brian Richesson is the editor in chief of LP Gas Magazine. Contact him at or 216-706-3748.

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