SHIP IT Act – Decreases Safety While Attracting New Truck Drivers

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SHIP IT Act – Decreases Safety While Attracting New Truck Drivers

The Safer highways and Increased Performance for Interstate Trucking (SHIP IT) Act, introduced in Congress in January 2023, aims to resolve truck-related pain points that have bottlenecked the U.S. supply chain. It proposes to increase shipping capacity, lessen burden on truck drivers and provide incentives that would make it easier for companies to recruit and retain truck drivers.

After reading the bill, RAM Law Partner and Board-Certified Truck Accident Attorney Tyler Hall foresees more crashes occurring on our nation’s highways as a result. The only positive aspect of the bill was that it provided federal subsidies to offset the cost to become a CDL (commercial driver’s license) holder. There is a national shortage of truck drivers so encouraging Americans to enter this profession is a good thing. However, the bill also includes dangerous language and is devoid of any meaningful safety requirements. Here is a summary of the pros and cons of the proposed bill.


There will be federal subsidies for the cost associated with getting a commercial driver’s license CDL, including:

  • Tax credit of $7,500 per year for experienced drivers and $10,000 for new drivers. These credits would last two years.
  • Increased accessibility to CDL tests.
  • Workforce grants for truck driver training.


  • Allows states to issue permits to truck companies to allow the maximum weight to increase from 80,000lbs to 91,000lbs without safety requirements. Increased weight will affect the stopping distance and maneuverability of a truck. Heavier trucks also do more damage when they strike passenger vehicles.
  • There is no requirement that the trucking company must use a safe and experienced driver to haul the 91,000lb load. In other words, once the state issues the permit, the trucking company can assign the heavy load to a driver with no experience operating a 91,000lb tractor trailer. Also, the proposed law does not require the truck company to provide the driver’s name and driving record to the state as part of the application. As a result, the state can issue the permit without first checking the driving and safety record of the driver.
  • The only safety requirement to obtain a special permit to haul a 91,000lb load is the trucking company must report to the state all accidents that occurred on interstate highways as part of the application. “This is like determining whether a doctor is a good surgeon by only asking them to report any malpractice they committed on Thursdays but not asking about the other four days of the work week,” says RAM Law Partner Tyler Hall. The safety requirement in the proposed bills is meaningless. The easiest way to judge a truck company’s safety is to look at their profile on the Safety Measurement System found on the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s website. There, you can see the rate at which the company’s trucks and drivers are taken off the road for safety related issues, their inspection violation history and their accident history for a two year period of time.
  • The proposed bill changes the law allowing CDL permit holders to drive trucks on interstate highways as long as a CDL holder is in the front seat supervising. This proposed law says that the supervising CDL holder can now be anywhere in the cab – theoretically in the sleeper birth where supervision and reaction time is much slower. This may make it more efficient to transport freight but will increase the risk of crashes.

The SHIP IT Act lacks basic safety requirements and alters the existing law making our roads less safe. The result will be heavier and larger trucks on our roads operated by unsafe and inexperienced truck companies and drivers. There is a way to fix our supply chain while also promoting safety.

There are more than 151,000 truck accidents in the United States every year. To find out more about truck-related accidents – why they happen, what causes them, and more, check out our truck accident page that addresses the following:

  • How Are Truck Accidents Different from Car Accidents?
  • Who’s Responsible for a Truck Accident?
  • When Are Drivers Liable for Trucking Accidents?
  • What Are Some Different Types of Truck Accidents?
  • What Are Some Statistics on Crashes Involving Trucks?
  • What Type of Injuries Are Caused by Truck Accidents?
  • Why Choose RAM Law after a NJ Wreck Involving a Truck?

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