DOT helping young veterans

Department of Transportation opens exciting new program for veterans under 21

US DOT sealFor several years, those of us in the freight industry have watched the growing driver shortage with concern. As experienced drivers retire or transition to other careers or positions in the industry, their open spots are not being filled at the rate needed to keep up with demand. Current predictions suggest that by 2024, the industry as a whole could be short as many as 330,000 drivers. Considering that 68% of all freight is moved on US Highways, that’s a dangerous prospect to consider.

Fortunately, the US Department of Transportation is opening an exciting new pilot program designed to get 18- to 20-year-old veterans with a military equivalent of a CDL into our interstate trucking workforce. Current commerce regulations stipulate that drivers under 21 cannot transport freight across state lines. Under the new pilot program, 18- to 20-year-old veterans, reservists, and guardsmen with the equivalent of a CDL and an approved company sponsor will be able to move freight across state lines. The DOT will track the participants and compare safety data with older drivers.

This program could be instrumental in long-term solutions to the nationwide driver shortage. If program participants prove to be just as safe on the road as older drivers, the federal government could begin the process of changing government regulations that prohibit 18- to 20-year-old drivers from transporting freight across state lines.

American Freight and its partner companies are excited to participate in this pilot program. As a veteran-friendly employer, we recognize the value of those citizens with military experience. The veterans, reservists, and guardsmen we know have both the knowledge and the “soft skills” we find in our best employees.

Those with military experience are often some of the best-equipped to deal with the rigors of truck driving, too. They are often already accustomed to spending time away from family and friends, and they can find it easier to adapt to the physical and mental challenges of driving trucks, such as sitting for long periods of time and dealing with rude drivers or icy and snowy conditions.

We are currently hiring for a variety of positions, including truck drivers, freight brokers, mechanics, technicians, and truck washers. Our partners at Martin Transportation and F. V. Martin Trucking Co. will be participating in the pilot program; please contact them directly for more information if you are qualified to participate in the program.

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