Biden Administration Initiates Plan To Relieve Nationwide CDL Driver Shortage

The Biden Administration on Thursday announced a comprehensive plan to address the nationwide shortage of qualified CDL drivers.

The Action Plan to Strengthen America’s Trucking Workforce takes several steps to speed up the CDL licensing process and recruit new drivers into the profession.

The plan is part of a wider effort by the administration to ease supply chain backlogs that prevent goods from getting to market in a timely manner.

EMA has been collaborating closely with the DOT on ways to recruit new CDL drivers through an expanded EB3 Visa program, industry specific training modules for different sectors of the industry and endorsement exemptions for drivers operating bobtails.

EMA will continue to advocate for these and other driver recruitment methods as the agencies meet with industry stakeholders.

The administration’s driver plan includes the following federal agency initiatives:

Within the Next 30 days

— FMCSA will make $30 million available for state licensing agencies to help expedite the CDL licensing process which has slowed significantly by COVID-19 workplace and social distancing restrictions.

— In addition to the funding, the FMCSA will send a tool kit to all 50 states detailing specific actions they can take to expedite licensing, streamline CDL licensing procedures and reduce testing delays.

— FMCSA will also begin tracking delays to identify states having problems with issuing CDLs and working with those states to make needed improvements.

— FMCSA will begin an in-depth study of driver compensation, including the unpaid time drivers spend waiting during loading and unloading activities.

Within The Next 60 Days

— The DOT will launch a national apprenticeship program for drivers aged 18-21 to provide paid, on-the-job training to become new CDL drivers.

— The Department of Labor and Veterans Affairs Administration will expand outreach to support veteran recruitment into the trucking profession along with strategies to recruit new entrants in underserved communities including women.

Within the Next 90 Days

— The administration will bring together state partners, labor, training providers, truckers, the trucking industry, and other stakeholders to advance these efforts and develop new ones to address the CDL driver shortage.

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