January 29, 2023SHIP IT Act Will Benefit Truck Drivers
The new year is rolling swiftly, and while many changes are happening, the truck driver shortage has stayed the same this year. Recruiting new drivers is essential to ensure supply chains run smoothly, and bridging that driver gap is the number one priority. Efforts have been made to address driver concerns and make trucking more appealing. In recent news, the SHIP IT Act is proposing better and safer parking, financial assistance, and more for the benefit of truck drivers.
What is the SHIP IT Act, and Why Do Truck Drivers Need It?
The equipment, environment, and conditions for a truck driver change, but the job’s core stays the same: Deliver loads where they need to go. Changes over the years have made it difficult for truckers to run business smoothly, with technology taking over and more rules and regulations occasionally surfacing. Veteran drivers now have to deal with the world wanting a greener future and fewer freedoms, taking away a key component of being a truck driver. Arguing over who’s calendars are hung in truck cabins is more difficult with sparse parking options and overcrowded truck stops. Congressmen Dusty Johnson and Jim Costa propose a bill combining multiple truck driver concerns into one significant relief effort. The “Safer Highway and Increased Performance for Interstate Trucking Act” (SHIP IT Act) focuses on financial assistance for drivers and those training to be drivers, improving safety and parking, plus much more.
How Will The SHIP It Act Benefit Truck Drivers?
Financial Support for New Truck Driver Training
To be a good driver, you must first master the training. The search for new truck drivers is ongoing, and the bill proposes support for new drivers during the CDL and training process. Making it easier for entry-level drivers to complete the training and licensing requirements will appeal to potential new drivers. The bill aims to extend the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act to truck drivers. Last year, recent trucking changes to improve training rolled out. This year the bill would continue helping entry-level drivers get financial assistance for training costs, including tuition and licensing fees, supplies, and graduation fees.
Tax Credits to Benefit Truck Drivers
Another section of the SHIP IT Act proposes certain tax credits for commercial truck drivers. The bill will enable drivers to receive up to $10,000 in tax credits if qualifications are met. Gross income, on-duty hours, driving hours, and other factors determine the tax credit a driver can receive. An inflation adjustment is also being proposed and can be claimed by drivers two times. Inflation adjustment would increase the total tax credit amount based on the cost of living. Entry-level drivers in registered apprenticeship programs can claim training hours to receive a piece of the tax credit.
SHIP IT Act to Benefit Truck Parking
Finding adequate parking is a growing issue for truck drivers. The SHIP IT Act also includes a grant proposal to improve and create more parking for commercial vehicles. The grants would allow qualified entities to receive funding for projects to provide more and better parking for truck drivers. The best parking is finding a close and safe truck stop close to the highway to park your truck, but limited availability means spots fill up quickly, leaving drivers to look for alternatives. Expanding available parking at existing truck stops and travel plazas or in lots adjacent to them will be a priority for the parking section of the bill. Many rest areas only accommodate regular cars, so increasing parking and allowing truck parking in these areas would help drivers immensely.