Lawmakers trying to cut red tape for professional truck drivers

Amid a decades-long driver shortage and global supply chain disruptions, two new bills are aimed at streamlining the process for people to get their credentials to be a professional truck driver in the U.S.

One bill would allow drivers to use a single valid background check from a TSA Security Threat Assessment to participate in any TSA program, Robert Dalheim reported for

The other would make permanent two waivers issued by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration seven times over the course of the COVID-19 pandemic. The American Trucking Associations has reportedly praised both bills.

“With a shortage of roughly 80,000 drivers, we should be making the process of becoming a professional truck driver as user friendly as possible,” ATA President and CEO Chris Spear told Dalheim.“By making common sense changes to the CDL testing process and eliminating redundant background checks, we can cut red tape so these hardworking men and women can get on the road navigating our nation’s highways instead of navigating its bureaucracies.

“Since 9/11, the federal government has created a number of secure credentials for commercial drivers to ensure the safety and security of our country,” Spear said. “However, with multiple credentials comes increased bureaucracy and costs that professional drivers must navigate. By simply relieving drivers of duplicative background checks – and the fees associated with them – we can streamline the process.”

The bill would minimize testing delays for truck drivers and allow those who have passed their CDL skills test but do not have their physical credentials to drive with a CDL holder anywhere in the truck, rather than requiring them to sit next to the qualified CDL holder.

“From the onset of the pandemic, these waivers have reduced administrative burdens for Americans working toward obtaining their CDLs and pursuing careers in trucking,” ATA Vice President of Safety Policy Dan Horvath told Dalheim. “It makes sense to continue to allow drivers looking to get their CDLs to be able to do so as frictionlessly as possible, while also maintaining the safety standards required of license seekers.”

The ATA is the largest national trade association for the trucking industry.