BREAKING: Heeding Calls from NH Delegation, Administration Announces Waiver to Address Conflict with State Law Over Training of Commercial Drivers

January 31, 2022

Announcement follows calls from NH Delegation to grant the waiver so the State legislature can resolve issues between state law and the federal rule that improves training of commercial drivers.

(Manchester, NH) – U.S. Senators Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) and Maggie Hassan (D-NH) and Representatives Annie Kuster (NH-02) and Chris Pappas (NH-01) issued the following statements after the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) announced it would issue New Hampshire a 90-day waiver from certain requirements of the Entry Level Driving Training rule (ELDT) that conflict with State law encumbering the truck driving workforce in New Hampshire. This waiver will provide the State legislature with time to enact legislation to remedy the issue, and follows steadfast calls from Shaheen, Hassan, Kuster, and Pappas to the administration to issue the waiver as supply chain disruptions impact Granite Staters and New Hampshire businesses.

Shaheen sent a letter to Deputy Administrator of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration Meera Joshi in December about concerns over the rule given supply chain disruptions and the need to support the trucking workforce. She has repeatedly pressed administration officials on this rule in phone calls in recent weeks. Senator Hassan led the New Hampshire congressional delegation calling for the 90-day waiver earlier this month after hearing concerns from the New Hampshire Motor Transit Association and the New Hampshire Department of Safety.

“In phone calls with administration officials over the last several weeks, I’ve repeatedly pressed them to issue this waiver, and specifically raised the impact of the rule on the trucking workforce to Deputy Administrator Joshi. I’m very pleased to see that my concerns, and those also shared by the New Hampshire delegation, were heard,” said Senator Shaheen. “As New Hampshire families and businesses grapple with the impact of supply chain disruptions, every measure must be taken to provide relief and cut through bureaucratic red tape that impedes our economy from recovering from the fallout of the pandemic. Increasing our commercial driving workforce is a key part of that effort. This is a common-sense step and I urge the State legislature to move swiftly and remedy the issue so this does not become a problem going forward.”

“New Hampshire small businesses are facing serious supply chain challenges stemming from the pandemic, which is why I’m working to make trucking and transportation easier, not harder,” said Senator Hassan. “I pushed for this waiver to ensure that New Hampshire has the time that it needs to adjust state law and avoid any disruption to our commercial trucking industry. I will continue to work to strengthen our supply chains and help ensure that our small businesses can thrive.”

“Granite State commercial drivers play a critical role in our country’s supply chain. Especially as our economy and communities grapple with bottlenecks and delays caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, we must ensure our trucking workforce is not held back by unnecessary bureaucratic red tape,” said Rep. Annie Kuster. “I’m pleased the administration has heeded our calls to grant New Hampshire this waiver so the state legislature can address the issue and our trucking industry can continue operating without disruption to deliver critical resources and supplies across the country.”

"On the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, I have worked with the maritime industry and trucking industry to make sure we can mitigate supply chain challenges that have been exacerbated by backups in our ports,” said Rep. Chris Pappas. “Granting this waiver will allow the state the time needed to address conflict between these laws, without unnecessarily delaying the training of commercial drivers. As we keep working to address the supply-chain challenges we’re facing, I’ll keep working to make sure we streamline the training of CDL drivers and provide the resources needed to attract and retain new drivers.”

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