With the passage of the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA), also known as the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law (BIL), the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) is mandated to establish an “apprenticeship driver pilot program.” It would allow drivers between the ages of 18-20 with an intrastate commercial driver’s license to operate commercial vehicles interstate under very specific conditions. This morning, I received an email stating that the floodgates have opened.
I’ll wager the website crashes from the mega-carriers not being able to sign up fast enough
Make no bones about it, the SDAP is now here. All those who sing the “driver shortage” praises to the high heavens can now rejoice! Your answer from on high, allowing 18- to 20-year-olds – fresh out of the mentorship periods of their Class D learner’s permits for their Class C driver’s licenses – can go straight up to the Class A-CLP test, and then on to the over-the-road positions you supposedly can’t fill fast enough.
Before you whack me over the head with “but Rooster, now the local farm boy can haul his corn from Illinois to the big feed mills in Cedar Rapids, Iowa,” understand this – it was never about that. There has been no driver shortage. Don’t believe the hype coming from that certain association one letter off from collecting Star Wars royalties (ATA vs AT-AT).
Nothing like using the general public as part of a case study
If I said it once, I’ve said it a thousand times, “truck driving schools teach you how to drive, not how to live.” These kids will come in greener than ever before not knowing what the proper living conditions or wages for a truck driver should be.
An ever-increasing number of drivers entering the workforce will cause the base pay of company drivers to be pushed down. And it is still too close to the “trucker poverty line” at most companies.
More meat for the grinder
Why do you think they offer paycheck advances? Many drivers are not fiscally responsible enough to realize that what you are advanced from that fuel card comes off your settlement every paycheck. As long as “they get theirs,” the trucking companies don’t care about the consequences.
And when a driver gets fed-up with not getting a large enough paycheck, (often due to their own self-indulgence regarding the cash advance), back into “the big pool of drivers looking for work” they go. And for a few pennies more, they’ll bite that hook and get back into the vicious cycle of the company truck driver.