According to the US Department of Labor, almost 185,000 individuals have become truck drivers in the past four months. However, that is only a small dent in the almost 900,000 drivers needed to meet the rising demand.
Trucking: Great For Young Workers
The average age of a trucker is 55 and it’s only rising. These drivers are beginning to retire, adding to the shortage of much-needed drivers.
Why Young People Aren’t Truckers
Currently, the industry isn’t seeing too many young drivers because of the cost and time spent in a CDL training course to obtain their license. Individuals also need to meet physical and health requirements, as well as be at least 21 to cross state lines. While plenty of state-wide trucking can benefit from those 18-20, a large portion of the potential workforce is cut out for being under 21. There are some efforts within the trucking community to create training programs specifically for 18-20 year-olds.
Challenge of Recruiting
Carriers are spending more on advertising than ever and getting very few qualified drivers. Soon, the cost of operating will be too high, with the amount of advertising needed and rising pay rate for drivers. Besides young people, getting women and inexpensive training provided are also large hurdles that need solutions soon.
The UPS Solution
NBC News spoke to UPS recently and were told that they don’t face the same shortage issues (except during the holidays) because OTR drivers only go out about five hours and then return that distance in one day, rather than driving across multiple states. UPS is one of the largest users of rail, so ground shipments anything further than two states go by rail. It’s very attractive to any age because you don’t have to sleep in the cab or be away from family.
Benefits For Young Truckers
For individuals concerned about the safety of OTR or disinterest in staying away from their family, local routes are a great daytime option. Drivers also make a good amount of money so, driving for a few years to stack up some money in the bank account might just be worth the cost of a training program and some nights away from your friends.