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Bringing in Young Drivers: At What Cost?

In case you have not heard, there has been an effort for a long time to bring young truck (CDL-commercial driver’s license) drivers into the industry. When we use the word ‘young,’ we mean 18-21 year olds. The need for CDL drivers, is absolutely unquestioned. There is a shortage.  Several articles point to driver openings somewhere between around 48,000 – 60,000. Regardless of the actual number, most agree that the vacancies will grow, possibly totaling over 235,000 by 2022.

As stated, to fill the vacancies, the industry is looking to young drivers. Several states are taking up the advancement of laws that would allow the young driver to gain a CDL at 18. Unfortunately, most of the discussions revolve around whether or not this is a safe solution. We also hear that the training would be extensive and not everyone would be approved. However, there is more to consider here.

If you read articles advancing 18-21 CDL drivers, you will not find a discussion on the additional costs on trucking operations. If the requirements include using experienced CDL drivers and/or trainers on a one on one basis, don’t we have to address the allocation of resources? Whether you add a supervisor or pull an experienced driver off the road to supervise, you now must understand the additional payroll and operating costs. With most budgets running as lean as they do, how much more do you need to spend in this age group to make it profitable?  

Most importantly, since 99% of the industry is not self-insured, until we hear from commercial insurance carriers and underwriters that they are ready to insure this driver base, are these discussions premature? If you can’t insure the young driver, or can’t insure at a reasonable cost, what circle are we working in? Stay tuned on developments.

If you or your company have questions or concerns regarding the future of regulations, you should speak with a professional who understands their impact.  AssuredPartners Transportation has professionals who assist clients in the area.  To learn more, visit AssuredPartners Transportation.

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