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Iowa Congresswoman Proposes Bill to Let Under-21 Truckers Go Cross-Country Amid Driver Shortage

US Rep. Ashley Hinson, R-Iowa, engages in discussions with local trucking industry leaders at the McCoy Group office on Friday.
Photo Source: Telegraph Herald

Iowa Congresswoman Ashley Hinson is spearheading a push for legislative change, advocating for 18, 19, and 20-year-olds holding commercial driver's licenses to operate cross-country trucks.

Currently, federal regulations mandate that interstate truck drivers must be at least 21 years old. 

Hinson asserts that easing this age restriction will address the nationwide shortage of truck drivers and enhance supply chain efficiency, translating to reduced prices for goods and services.

“Having more truckers on the road will improve supply chain efficiency, translated to lower prices for good and services,” Hinson says. 

“It will also provide critical career opportunities for 18 to 20-year-olds not interested in a four-year degree,” she added. 

While 49 states and the District of Columbia issue commercial driver’s licenses to individuals under 21, they are restricted from crossing state borders. 

Hinson points out the inconsistency, stating “An 18-year-old truck driver is permitted to drive 300 miles from let’s say a project in Sioux City all the way back to Dubuque County, but according to current regulations that same driver is not allowed to drive the truck the three miles across the Julien Dubuque Bridge for a project cross the state line in Illinois.”

“That doesn’t make any sense to me.” Hinson continued. 

In response, Hinson has introduced the "Reciprocity, Efficiency, and Age Limitation" (REAL) Act in the U.S. House, aiming to enable 18 to 20-year-olds with a commercial driver’s license to drive cross-country."

The bill, if enacted, is anticipated to not only alleviate the shortage of truck drivers but also offer valuable career opportunities for young individuals not pursuing a four-year degree.

"As I've traveled across Iowa, I've consistently heard about the negative impacts of the trucking workforce shortage, exacerbated by limitations with interstate licensing. The REAL Trucking Act is a commonsense solution to bolster the trucking workforce and strengthen our nation's supply chain, provide critical career opportunities for those not interested in pursuing a 4-year degree, and support family farmers, small businesses, and manufacturers by ensuring they can get their products to market." Congresswoman Hinson stated. 

Congresswoman Hinson, a Republican from Marion, is actively engaging with industry leaders in the trucking sector. Today, she is visiting the Semi-Driving program at North Iowa Community College to discuss her proposed legislation and garner insights from key stakeholders in the trucking industry.

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