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New regulations could alleviate driver shortage

Washington is considering two new proposals that could simplify the process of issuing commercial driver's licenses (CDL) and increase the number of qualified truck and bus drivers.

The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) recently announced the proposed rule changes as part of an effort to ease entry requirements and cut the costs associated with the CDL application. According to FMCSA, benefits would extend to both CDL applicants and the state agencies that issue them.

These proposals come at a critical time for the trucking industry.

With online retailing on the rise, Americans increasingly rely on the trucking industry to transport freight and satisfy growing consumption. In fact, demand is so great that the ATA (American Trucking Associations) predicts that the amount of freight moved by trucks will increase by 27 percent in the next 10 years.

Meanwhile, the trucking industry faces a shortage of eligible drivers - a problem that industry leaders call the greatest challenge trucking companies face today. According to the ATA, to meet growing demands, the industry needs to recruit more than 95,000 new drivers each year for a decade.

Removing barriers to entry could grow the pool of eligible drivers quickly, possibly bringing thousands of individuals into the professional trucking profession. This could be a lifeline for what FMCSA Deputy Administrator Daphne Jefferson described as "a critical occupation facing an acute labor shortage in our country.”

Visit the federal register for more information about the specific changes proposed. 

For more information about trends in the semi-truck industry, please contact us.

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