DOT and DOL Announce Expansion of Trucking Apprenticeships, New Truck Driver Tips, and Studies to Improve Working Conditions for Truck Drivers

Washington D.C.- In December, as part of the administration’s approach to strengthen U.S. supply chains, address bottlenecks, and lower prices for Americans, the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) and the United States Department of Labor (DOL) announced the Biden-Harris Action Plan for Trucking, Today, to deliver on the 30-day commitments made in the Trucking Action Plan, DOT and DOL are announcing the next steps for several new initiatives that will support drivers and improve driver retention while expanding the access to quality driving jobs now and in the years to come. These initiatives include:

  • Expand Registered Apprenticeship Programs – over 100 employers and industry partners have volunteered to work to expand Registered Apprenticeships in the last 30 days.
  • Creation of the Women in Trucking Advisory Council mandated by the bipartisan Infrastructure Act.
  • Create a new task force, mandated by the bipartisan Infrastructure Act, to investigate predatory truck lease deals with the DOL and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.
  • Initiate two studies to explore the issues of truck driver compensation and unpaid detention time.
  • Launch of the Safe Driver Apprenticeship Pilot – an under-21 pilot program for lorry drivers mandated by the bipartisan Infrastructure Act.
  • Over $32 million in funding to states to improve the CDL licensing process.

“In some parts of the trucking industry, 90% of drivers change every year. Ensuring truck drivers are paid and treated fairly is the right thing to do, and it will help both recruit new drivers and keep experienced drivers on the job,”said US Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg.

“In the 30 days since the launch of the administration’s Driving Good Jobs initiative, there is new energy and enthusiasm behind efforts to ensure that jobs in the trucking industry are good, safe and sustainable jobs, attractive to a new generation of truck drivers who will stay in the industry for the long term,” said Labor Secretary Marty Walsh. “The industry must and is stepping up to partner up and over the past month we have already been working with over 100 employers to expand recorded apprenticeships for drivers, an important step in making this change a reality.”

“Too many American truckers are set up to fail with financing plans or forced to pay junk fees. To keep our economy moving, we need to ensure that hard-working truckers don’t face doom. financial”,said CFPB director Rohit Chopra.

Last summer Secretary Buttigieg and Secretary Walsh co-wrote an editorial which detailed high turnover in the trucking profession and ways to address it. Today’s announcement marks key next steps for the federal government to begin addressing some of the challenges truckers face in their profession while expanding access to quality driving jobs now. Below are more details on what’s being announced today:

Registered Learning Accelerator

  • The Ministries of Labor and Transport launched the 90 Day Trucking Learning Challenge to accelerate the expansion of registered apprenticeships as a proven workforce strategy to help employers and union partners develop and retain a skilled workforce.
  • Since the Challenge launched just 30 days ago, more than 100 employers and industry partners have volunteered to expand recorded apprenticeships.
  • For example, more than 20 employers are already set to launch all-new apprenticeship programs, which will put thousands of new, qualified and safe drivers on the road into good trucking jobs trained using the recorded learning “earn while learning”.
  • Over the next 60 days, Ministries of Labor and Transportation and industry partners will continue to hold information meetings and work with employers, industry groups and labor organizations to further support the development of lessons learned in the industry.

Trucking Women’s Advisory Council

  • The Advisory Council will help inform efforts to increase the number of women in trucking by examining and reporting on current challenges faced by female drivers and those interested in joining the profession, such as barriers to entry, workplace safety risks, mentorship, quality training and development opportunities.
  • USDOT’s Federal Motor Safety Carrier Administration (FMSCA) will begin soliciting nominations for the advisory board to ensure board membership represents a cross section of women in the trucking industry.
  • This week, the White House is hosting a virtual roundtable to gather input on how to create a more inclusive and equitable workplace for women in the trucking industry.

Truck Rental Working Group

  • Along with the FMCSA, the DOL and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) will form a truck leasing task force that will review leasing agreements to identify actions that could make leases more fair and transparent.
  • The working group will focus on reviewing and reporting on:
    • Common truck rental agreements, with particular emphasis on unfair terms and transparency.
    • Truck leasing agreements for ports that involve an obligation for trucks to convert to zero emissions.
    • Loans and other agreements between incoming driver trainees and training schools and/or trucking companies to understand the extent to which these result in disproportionate and unforeseen debt for incoming drivers.
    • Review of predator truck rental agreements with DOL and in coordination with CFPB.

Detention Time Study

  • The FMCSA has released terms of reference to initiate a study on driver detention time and its impact on safety and compensation.
  • Unlike previous studies of the impact of driver hold time, this study will use a representative sample of data from electronic logging devices to provide a much more detailed understanding of driver wait times across jurisdictions and industries. Of the industry. The data used will be aggregated and anonymized to ensure driver privacy.
  • In addition to quantifying detention time, the study will also examine how detention time influences the likelihood of an accident or hours of service violation.

Remuneration study

  • The FMCSA began partnering with the Transportation Research Board to conduct a study of the impacts of various driver compensation methods on driver safety and retention.
  • Specifically, the study will examine the effect on safety of payments made to truckers per load or per mile versus payments per hour. The study will also look at the time a truck driver spends away from home, driving and in detention to determine true working hours, and then determine true hourly wages.

Safe Driver Education Pilot Program (“SDAP”).

  • The FMCSA has informed the public that it will review motor carriers to determine their eligibility to participate in SDAP if they meet strict safety standards.
  • In the coming days, the FMCSA will issue a Federal Register notice that outlines the program’s safety requirements, including a requirement that participants meet the Department of Labor’s Registered Apprenticeship Program qualification standards.
  • FMCSA will also conduct outreach to motor carriers with excellent safety records inviting them to participate in the program.

Funding to States for CDL Licenses

  • The DOT and FMCSA are supporting state departments of motor vehicles as they return to — or even surpass — pre-pandemic commercial driver’s license (CDL) issuance rates, helping to attract more truckers in the field.
  • As part of the Trucking Action Plan’s 30-day commitments, FMCSA announced over $30 million in the funding available to help states fast-track CDLs.
  • FMCSA has also sent all 50 states a toolkit detailing specific steps they can take to expedite licensing and will work hand-in-hand with states to address the challenges they face.

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