Its fate was at times hanging by a thread, but both the U.S. House of Representatives and the Senate put their political bickering aside and joined together to pass the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act in the latter part of 2021.
Providing more than $1.2 trillion to fund the project, it is Congress’s hope that some badly needed repairs and upgrades will be done to our nation’s aging and out of date infrastructure system.
Making good on one of his campaign promises, the Infrastructure deal is an important part of President Biden’s “Build Back Better” policy program.
For the Trucking industry, the new law was a long time coming and couldn’t arrive soon enough. There are many benefits that our industry will gain from the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act.
Benefits to the Trucking Industry from the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act.
Let’s look at a few key aspects of the new law and how it will positively impact truckers out on the open road every day.
Money for Roads & Bridges
Of the $1.2 trillion of available funds, $110 billion of it will be set aside to repair or replace roads and bridges. This will have a great positive affect on truckers’ ability to do their jobs more safely and efficiently. There is nothing like a nice smooth road or a safe, stable bridge to help truckers get to their next delivery on time and safely.
Apprentice Pilot Program – Putting Safety First
The Act requires that an apprenticeship pilot program be set up, designed to help commercial drivers who are under the age of 21 and want to participate in interstate commerce. Specific probationary periods will be in place, as well as the requirement that younger truckers have a more experienced driver with them for mentoring purposes. In addition, rigs operated by new drivers will need to be equipped with an active braking system, an automatic transmission, collision avoidance technology, a front facing video system and a maximum speed rating of 65 mph.
DOT Study on Emergency Braking Systems
The Department of Transportation is now required to study the effectiveness of automatic emergency braking systems on new commercial vehicles. In addition, underride guard standards for trailers will be strengthened.
A “NO” to Increasing Minimum Insurance Levels
Many truckers are breathing a sigh of relief that a provision to raise the minimum liability insurance level from $750,000 to $2M was not in the version of the bill that the Senate passed. Such a hefty increase could have raised operating expenses significantly.
Women’s Advisory Board
The Act also provides funds and resources to set up a Women’s Advisory Board to study what strategies can be developed to encourage more women to enter the trucking industry. Bringing more females into the trucking field will help with the ever increasing shortage of drivers that we are currently experiencing.
Partner with Road Ex for Success