Home English DOT, DOL Announce Expansion of Trucking Apprenticeships, New Truck Driver Boards and Studies to Improve the Working Conditions of Truck Drivers

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

by Punjabi Trucking

Expanded Registered Apprenticeship Programs, Women of Trucking Advisory Board, Truck Leasing Task Force; Detention Time & Compensation Studies; grants to speed up CDL licensing; and Safe Driver Apprenticeship Pilot will build on the Biden-Harris Trucking Action Plan and ongoing efforts to Diversify and Improve the Truck Driver Profession 

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

  • Expanding Registered Apprenticeship programs — more than 100 employers and industry partners have stepped forward to work to expand Registered Apprenticeships in the last 30 days. 
  • Creating the Women of Trucking Advisory Board mandated in the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law. 
  • Creating a new task force, mandated by the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, to investigate predatory truck leasing arrangements with DOL and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. 
  • Beginning two studies to explore the issues of truck driver pay and unpaid detention time. 
  • Launching the Safe Driver Apprenticeship Pilot –an under-21 pilot program for truck drivers mandated in the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law. 
  • Over $32 million in funding to states to improve CDL licensing process. 

“In some parts of the trucking industry, 90% of drivers turn over each year. Making sure truck drivers are paid and treated fairly is the right thing to do, and it will help with both recruiting new drivers and keeping experienced drivers on the job,” said the U.S. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg. 

“In the 30 days since the Administration’s Driving Good Jobs Initiative was launched, there is new energy and enthusiasm behind the effort to ensure jobs in the trucking industry are good, safe, and sustainable jobs attractive to a new generation of truck drivers who will remain in the industry over the long term,” said Secretary of Labor Marty Walsh. “Industry has to and is stepping up to partner and in the last month, we are already working with more than 100 employers to expand Registered Apprenticeships for drivers, an important step to making this shift a reality.” 

“Too many American truckers are set up to fail with financing schemes or coerced into paying junk fees. To keep our economy moving, we must ensure that truckers who work hard don’t face financial ruin,” said CFPB Director Rohit Chopra. 

Last summer, Secretary Buttigieg and Secretary Walsh co-wrote an op-ed that 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 to address some of the challenges truck drivers face in their profession while expanding access to a quality driving jobs now. Below are more details on what’s being announced today: 

Registered Apprenticeship Accelerator  

  • The Departments of Labor and Transportation launched the 90 Day Trucking Apprenticeship Challenge to accelerate the expansion of Registered Apprenticeships as a proven workforce strategy for helping employers and organized labor partners develop and retain a skilled workforce.
  • Since the launch of the Challenge just 30 days ago, more than 100 employers and industry partners have stepped forward to expand Registered Apprenticeships.  
  • For example, more than 20 employers are already close to launching brand new apprenticeships, which will put thousands of new skilled and safe drivers on the road in good trucking jobs trained using the ‘earn while you learn’ Registered Apprenticeship model. 
  • Over the next 60 days the Departments of Labor and Transportation and industry partners will continue to host informational meetings and work with employers, industry groups and labor organizations to further support the development of Registered Apprenticeships across the industry.  

Women of Trucking Advisory Board 

  • The Advisory Board will help inform efforts to increase the number of women in trucking by reviewing and reporting on the current challenges facing woman drivers and those interested in joining the profession, such as barriers to entry, on-the-job safety risks, mentorship, quality training, and opportunities for advancement. 
  • USDOT’s Federal Motor Safety Carrier Administration (FMSCA) will begin soliciting nominations for the Advisory Board to ensure that the composition of the Board represents a cross section of women in the trucking industry. 
  • This week, the White House is convening a virtual roundtable to gather input on how to build a more inclusive and equitable workplace for women in the trucking industry. 

Truck Leasing Task Force  

  • Along with FMCSA, the DOL and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) will form a Truck Leasing Task Force that will review leasing arrangements to identify actions that could make leases more equitable and transparent.  
  • The Task Force will be focused on reviewing and reporting on: 
    • Common truck leasing arrangements, with a specific focus on inequitable terms and transparency. 
    • Truck leasing arrangements for ports that involve a requirement for trucks to convert to zero emissions. 
    • Loans and other arrangements between incoming driver trainees and training schools and/or trucking companies to understand the extent to which these result in outsized and unanticipated debt for incoming drivers. 
    • Looking into predatory truck leasing arrangements with DOL and in coordination with the CFPB. 

Detention Time Study 

  • FMCSA released a scope of work to begin a study on driver detention time and its impact on safety and compensation. 
  • Unlike past studies on the impact of driver detention time, this study will use a cross section of electronic logging device data to provide a much more detailed understanding of wait times for drivers across jurisdictions and industry sectors. Data used will be aggregated and anonymized to ensure driver privacy. 
  • In addition to quantifying detention time the study will also review how detention time influences the likelihood of a crash or an hours-of-service violation. 

Compensation Study  

  • FMCSA has begun partnering with the Transportation Research Board to conduct a study of the impacts of various methods of driver compensation on safety and driver retention.   
  • Specifically, the study will review the safety effect of payments made to truck drivers per load or per mile versus payments per hour. The study will also review the amount of time a truck driver spends away from home, driving and detained to determine true working hours, and then determine true hourly wages. 

Safe Driver Apprenticeship Pilot (“SDAP”)

  • FMCSA notified the public that it will be screening motor carriers to determine their eligibility to participate in the SDAP if they meet strict safety standards. 
  • In the coming days, FMCSA will publish a Federal Register Notice that outlines the program safety requirements, including a requirement that participants meet the qualification standards of the Department of Labor’s Registered Apprenticeship program. 
  • FMCSA will also conduct outreach to motor carriers with excellent safety records inviting their participation in the program.  

Funding to States for CDL Licensing 

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

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