Senate OKs lifetime CDL ban for human trafficking

By Mark Schremmer, Land Line staff writer | 9/18/2017

A pair of bills aimed to combat human trafficking passed through the Senate on Thursday, Sept. 14.

The No Human Trafficking on Our Roads Act, S1532, and the Combating Human Trafficking in Commercial Vehicles Act, S1536, were both approved by unanimous consent in the full Senate.

Bill S1532 would impose a lifetime ban on truck drivers who use a commercial motor vehicle to commit a felony involving human trafficking. The bill was sponsored by Sen. John Thune, R-S.D.

The Combating Human Trafficking in Commercial Vehicles Act would designate a human trafficking prevention coordinator within the Department of Transportation. Bill S1536 was sponsored by Sen. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn.

“The Senate’s passage of these bipartisan bills is an important step in the ongoing battle against human trafficking,” Thune said in a news release. “These bills create a commonsense consequence for egregious wrongdoing and serve as a starting point for better recognition and reporting of human trafficking by commercial drivers.”

Truckers Against Trafficking issued a statement in July, saying the organization didn’t support the lifetime ban on truck drivers.

“We are fully aware that trucking is one of the most over-regulated industries, and that you cannot legislate the mind and heart,” Truckers Against Trafficking wrote. “We also recognize that both sides of the aisle are coming together around this issue, and therefore it is imperative that we try and work with them to form the legislation being proposed so that it does take into consideration the needs and concerns of the industry.

“To date, the only federal bill we have given our support to is (S1536), which would designate a human trafficking prevention coordinator at the U.S. Department of Transportation, increase outreach, education and reporting efforts at the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, and provide CDL schools who are implementing anti-trafficking education additional financial assistance. This bill only incentivizes training at the federal level. It does not mandate it.”

Both bills would still need to pass through the House.

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