Legislation to Address Truck Driver Shortage Signed into Law

Young Adult CDL Program will help ease supply distribution challenges

Albany – On Wednesday, Assemblywoman Donna Lupardo and Senator Tim Kennedy announced that Governor Hochul has signed into law (A6295A/S5486), a bill which creates a Young Adult Commercial Driver’s License- Class A program for 18-20 year olds. 

Currently, New York allows 18-20 year old’s to obtain a CDL Class B license to drive within state lines, however these same drivers are ineligible to apply for a CDL Class A license until they are 21 years old. This bill will allow 18-20 year old’s, under strict training and safety guidelines, to obtain their CDL Class A to drive tractor-trailers and other larger vehicles. New York is the last state in the country to allow this opportunity. 

According to the American Transportation Research institute, the trucking industry is responsible for 1 out of every 27 jobs in New York State. However, due to an aging workforce, there is an urgent need for new drivers, but it is becoming more difficult to recruit commercial drivers. It is estimated that the industry will need to hire almost 1 million new drivers over the next 10 years. 

Assemblymember Donna Lupardo, said, “New York’s trucking industry is central to our state’s economy, ensuring that products make it to market in a timely manner. This legislation will help address the shortage of truck drivers by attracting younger drivers, at a time when many are in the process of choosing their careers. I’d like to thank Governor Hochul, my colleagues and all the advocates for their support for this commonsense measure.”

Senator Tim Kennedy, Chair of the Senate Transportation Committee said, "As New York and our nation build back better after the COVID-19 pandemic, we know employers are struggling to fill positions. For the trucking industry, this problem is compounded by the short supply of commercial truck drivers that has weighed heavily on our nation's economy and supply chains for decades. This legislation will directly address that shortage, while simultaneously opening up opportunities for younger New Yorkers entering the workforce, and preparing our labor pool for additional advancement under the federal infrastructure bill.”

Kendra Hems, President of the Trucking Association of New York said, “On behalf of the members of the Trucking Association of New York, we thank Assemblywoman Lupardo and Senator Kennedy for their leadership on this important workforce development issue. We applaud them for sponsoring this critical legislation that will create more jobs and help alleviate a national truck driver shortage.For years our industry lost highly qualified individuals because we’ve been unable to hire anyone under the age of 21. This legislation will change that by providing those under 21 with the opportunity to enter the trucking industry and get the skilled training they need under the supervision of highly qualified professionals. TANY looks forward to continuing to work with Assm. Lupardo & Sen. Kennedy to promote careers in the industry.”

Jim Calvin, President of the New York Association of Convenience Stores said, “We’re grateful to Senator Kennedy and Assembly Member Lupardo for crafting this strategy for expanding the pool of available Class A drivers to help ease the driver shortage that is disrupting deliveries of gas, groceries, and other essential products to retail stores statewide.”

Ashley Ranslow, Assistant State Director of the National Federation of Independent Businesses said, “Small businesses continue to face unprecedented and enormous challenges with labor shortages and supply chain disruptions, further complicating and delaying their recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic. NFIB applauds Governor Hochul and sincerely thanks Assemblywoman Lupardo and Senator Kennedy for their tireless work and support of legislation that creates more opportunities for younger New Yorkers to pursue a CDL license. This commonsense legislation will help ease the CDL driver shortage while also ensuring safety on our roadways. New York’s small businesses and our state’s economic recovery depends on a functioning transportation and logistics network – that only exists if there’s enough people to operate trucks.”

David Fisher, New York Farm Bureau President said, "There is a significant need for additional truck drivers in New York to transport goods as the supply chain continues to suffer from pandemic related disruptions. The Governor's signature today expanding CDL Class A licenses for young adults who are at least 18 years old will address this critical issue. We must maintain good supply lines, especially for New York farm products and perishable food that our customers need. New York Farm Bureau appreciates the Governor's support and Assembly Agriculture Committee Chair Donna Lupardo and Senator Tim Kennedy for sponsoring the legislation to increase the number of available drivers and help alleviate supply shortages.”