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FMCSA takes steps to expedite apprentice driver pilot program

From Transport Topics.

Federal trucking regulators are seeking emergency White House approval to take a first step toward a driver apprenticeship program included in last year’s sweeping $1 trillion infrastructure bill as a near-term measure to help alleviate the trucking industry’s ongoing driver shortage.

The DRIVE-Safe Act, included in the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act signed by President Joe Biden in November, creates an apprenticeship program under which drivers younger than 21 can drive commercial vehicles interstate. Previously, under-21 drivers were limited to intrastate operations.

In a Jan. 7 Federal Register announcement, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration said it is seeking emergency authorization from the Office of Management and Budget to initiate data collection from motor carriers for the pilot apprenticeship program. FMCSA is asking OMB to act by Jan. 13.

“The request for emergency OMB approval was issued to help meet deadlines for establishing the apprenticeship program outlined in the bipartisan infrastructure law, also known as the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act,” said an FMCSA spokesperson. “At this time, nothing is being requested from the motor carriers. This ICR is informing the public of the information collection and the opportunity to comment.”

See the complete article online at Transport Topics.