Hawaiian companies look to non-CDL drivers for shipments

| 8/22/2005

Faced with a shortage of CDL-licensed drivers, some businesses in Hawaii have come up with their own solution – they’re eliminating CDL-licensed drivers altogether.

According to MSNBC.com, an unprecedented lull in commercial drivers has caused a number of companies – specifically in the produce industry – to move their freight out of large commercial trucks into smaller vehicles that don’t require CDLs to drive.

“State law allows that if you pass medical and physical tests you can drive a small truck with a regular license,” Kelvin Shigemura, vice president for Armstrong Produce, told MSNBC.com. “Because CDL drivers are hard to come by, it’s easier to do this and get a bigger job pool.”

This is not the first time Hawaii ’s CDL shortage has been an issue. On May 25, Gov. Linda Lingle vetoed a bill that would have lowered the minimum age from 21 to 18 for a person to receive a commercial driver’s license.

SB74 specified that drivers over 18 but under 21 would not be allowed to drive school buses, haul hazardous materials or operate tractor-trailers. Federal policy allows for 18-year-old intrastate commercial drivers.

New hours-of-service regulations released last week by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration – which extend the distance of operation and eliminate logbooks for non-CDL drivers – could also have an impact on how companies ship their goods in the state.