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Coalition Commends Legislature for Passage of Bill to Lower the Age for Truck Drivers

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MONTGOMERY, Ala. – The Business Council of Alabama along with the Alabama Beverage

Association, the Alabama Farmers Federation, the Alabama Retail Association, the Alabama

Rural Electric Association of Cooperatives (AREA), the Alabama Trucking Association,

Alabama’s chapter of the National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB), and Manufacture

Alabama praised the members of the Alabama Legislature today for passage of legislation to

lower the age to 18 to obtain a commercial driver’s license.

The bill, sponsored by Rep. Dexter Grimsley, R-Abbeville, will create thousands of new jobs and

will allow Alabama businesses that rely on trucks to move their goods or equipment to better

compete with surrounding states that do not have the same age restrictions. Sen. Donnie

Chesteen, R-Geneva, carried the companion bill in the Senate.

“It is a workforce development bill, plain and simple,” said BCA President and CEO Katie Boyd

Britt. “This commonsense legislation will open the door of opportunity for young adults who are

looking to find a good paying job, and at the same time, it addresses a dire need for Alabama

businesses that rely on trucks to move their products. I applaud Rep. Grimsley and Sen. Chesteen

for their leadership in this effort.”

The current age restriction bars anyone under the age of 21 from operating the standard tractortrailer

combination in Alabama. Many are lost to other industries by the time they reach the age

of 21. Currently, Alabama is one of only two states that restricts a Class A commercial driver’s

license to those who are 21 years or older.

“Alabama’s beverage industry relies heavily upon able CDL drivers to deliver our products to

customers across the state,” said Alabama Beverage Association Executive Director Virginia

Banister. “The shortage of these drivers continues to be a challenge to our business, and we are

hopeful that this new law will create a pathway to qualify more drivers and broaden the pool of

eligible hires for some very good paying jobs in the state of Alabama.”

All new drivers must meet training and testing guidelines set forth by the Federal Motor Carrier

Safety Administration and the Alabama Law Enforcement Agency, and drivers ages 18-21 may

not operate a commercial motor vehicle transporting hazardous material.

“Our country is facing a severe shortage of truckers,” said Federation President Jimmy Parnell.

“This impacts the ability of farmers and forest landowners to get equipment and supplies in a

timely manner as well as market their products. This legislation is a step in the right direction

and will benefit all families, businesses and industries.”

The Senate passed the bill by a vote of 24-0 on Wednesday. The House previously had passed

the bill by a vote of 96-1.

“This legislation will give highly trained utility workers who don’t meet an arbitrary age

requirement to be able to perform vital services on our electric grid,” said Sean Strickler, vice

president of public affairs for AREA. “Alabama’s electric cooperatives strive to keep the power

on all the time but unfortunately in rare instances it goes out and this legislation will get it

restored even faster than we do now.”

“This legislation is a win-win for motor carriers, shippers and consumers,” said Alabama

Trucking Association President and CEO Frank Filgo. “The ongoing truck driver shortage, now

estimated to be more than 60,000 nationally, is a burden to the economy. With the passage of this

bill, additional drivers will help advance long-term, sustainable profitability for Alabama motor

carriers and suppliers.”

“One of the greatest challenges facing Alabama’s small businesses today is finding qualified

workers,” said Rosemary Elebash, NFIB’s state director for Alabama. “This legislation is going

to help small businesses fill critical jobs and create new opportunities for young adults just

entering the workforce. It’s a win-win.”

“The shortage of truck drivers has become increasingly challenging for manufacturers,” said

Manufacture Alabama President George Clark. “It costs manufacturers a lot of money every time

a shipment of raw materials is not delivered and every time a product does not leave the plant on

time. This is a commonsense measure that is good for industry in Alabama.”