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Trucking plays a critical role in the U.S. supply chain and economy. America’s truck drivers have been on the frontlines of this pandemic, delivering goods to every corner of this country. Seventy-two percent of goods in America are shipped by truck, and in most communities, trucks are the only form of delivery. A strong, stable, and safe trucking workforce that offers good-paying jobs to millions of truck drivers is a critical lifeblood of our economy. But outdated infrastructure, the COVID-19 pandemic, and a historic volume of goods moving through our economy have strained capacity across the supply chain, including in trucking.
The pandemic exacerbated longstanding workforce challenges in the trucking industry, including high turnover rates, an aging workforce, long hours away from home, and time spent waiting–often unpaid–to load and unload at congested ports, warehouses, and distribution centers. According to one estimate, long-haul full-truckload drivers only spend an average of 6.5 hours per working day driving despite being allowed to drive a maximum of 11 hours. That means about 40 percent of their capacity is not being used. Many truckers also bear the burden of gas, insurance, and maintenance costs, which reduces their take home pay, creating significant challenges in recruiting and retaining drivers with the right credentials and experience into today’s trucking jobs. At the same time, the industry reports historic demand for its services. Reflecting that demand, wages for employed drivers in all trucking segments have increased 7-12% in the last year alone, but employment in some segments is still below pre-pandemic levels.
The Administration is taking action, and now we are asking industry, labor, and all levels of government to partner with us to address these trucking workforce challenges and begin building a next generation trucking workforce. A stronger trucking workforce is one where trucking jobs are good, safe, and stable — jobs that employers can attract a new generation of drivers into while retaining existing drivers to deliver for clients and grow their businesses. The nation’s trucking workforce also demands clear, debt-free paths into these good jobs through high-quality training, such as Registered Apprenticeships, which prepare trainees and provide employers with a steady pipeline of skilled, safe, and experienced drivers.
Trucking employers across the U.S. are taking steps to make trucking jobs better and to develop innovative workforce programs that recruit, train, and retain drivers, especially from underrepresented communities like women, the formerly incarcerated, and service-disabled veterans. But the scale of the challenge means we need action to scale up these strategies.
The Bipartisan Infrastructure Law creates a pathway to address these challenges in the long-term. Today, the Biden-Harris Administration is announcing a set of concrete actions to address the expansion of trucking. These actions will support the ongoing economic recovery and lay the foundation for a next generation trucking workforce that will strengthen U.S. competitiveness and support millions of good driving jobs for years to come.
Today, the Departments of Transportation and Labor are launching an effort to support and expand access to quality driving jobs now and in the years ahead. The Departments are accelerating the expansion of Registered Apprenticeship programs for drivers that put more skilled, safe drivers on the road; taking immediate steps to address the pandemic-driven delays in getting a commercial driver’s license; curbing the proliferation of low-quality training that increases the supply of less qualified drivers who end up in debt or being exploited; and expanding more seamless paths for veterans and underrepresented communities, such as women, to access good driving jobs.
Today, the Biden-Harris Administration is announcing the following immediate actions:
In 2021, on average, more than 50,000 CDLs and Learners Permits have been issued each month, which is 20% higher than the 2019 monthly average and 72% higher than the 2020 monthly average. In fact, by the end of October 2021, states had issued more licenses and permits than in all of 2019. While backlogs and delays exist in some States, they can be cleared by using proven strategies. For example, using these tools this past summer, New York reduced testing delays by 37%. California recently expanded hours and locations and increased the number of personnel who can administer the road test. North Carolina increased the availability of testing appointments, and Texas has expanded hours, testing capacity, and shifted much of the process online. There is more work to do, and FMCSA is using the levers of government to make it easier for truck drivers to get their CDLs, while also taking actions to address retention issues.
Over the next 90 days, the Administration will bring together state partners, labor, training providers, truckers, the trucking industry, and others to advance these efforts:
In the next 30 days:
In the next 60 Days:
In the next 90 Days:
The Truck Action Plan is part of the Biden-Harris Administration’s Supply Chain Disruptions Task Force, launched in June to address near-term supply chain bottlenecks as the economy rapidly reopened following the Administration’s historic vaccination and economic relief efforts. The Task Force is co-chaired by the Secretaries of Commerce, Transportation, and Agriculture to lead a whole of government effort to address these disruptions. The Task Force has been convening stakeholders to diagnose problems and surface solutions—large and small, public or private—that will help alleviate bottlenecks and supply constraints, in order to minimize the impacts on workers, consumers, and businesses, and bolster a strong economic recovery.
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The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Ave NW
Washington, DC 20500