America's beverage companies are part of a multi-industry coalition supporting the DRIVE-Safe Act (S. 569, H.R. 1374). This legislation has bipartisan and bicameral support to allow under 21 years-of-age drivers an opportunity to obtain a commercial driver's license (CDL). This bill seeks to address the nationwide commercial driver shortage. The American Trucking Association estimates that the nation needs an additional 50,000 truck drivers immediately, with this shortage expected to grow to more than 174,000 by 2026.

The DRIVE-Safe Act requires participants to participate in a strict workforce training program with rigorous benchmarks. To gain certification, drivers must have spotless driving records and accompany a CDL-certified driver for 400 hours in the cab, with at least 240 hours being behind the wheel. Vehicles used in the program would be required to have the latest safety technology, including: active braking collision mitigation systems; forward-facing event recording cameras; speed governors set at 65 miles per hour or less; and automatic or automatic manual transmissions. These apprenticeship requirements ensure well-qualified drivers are on the roads transporting our industry's products.

This piece of legislation not only has support across the aisle, but a diverse coalition of business interests and trade associations are also backing the bill. The reason for such broad support is simple: the DRIVE-Safe Act would lessen delivery costs and allow for fairer prices for everyday products in the grocery aisle. And just as important, this bill would widen opportunity for a new generation of drivers to find a good-paying jobs with good benefits after completing the apprenticeship.

Interested in lending your voice in support of the DRIVE-Safe Act? Then call members of the U.S. House and Senate and tell them to support this vital legislation.