Truck driver shortage affecting businesses nationwide

“We just don’t have the manpower.”

Jim Gallup is the head recruiter for Caledonia Haulers, a company that specializes in hauling liquids across the US and parts of Canada.

There has always been a driver shortage, he said, but the pandemic has really made things worse.

“Well, with the pandemic, driving schools — nobody is getting into driving schools. They’re down 40%.”

This isn’t just a problem for trucking companies, but for businesses all across the United States.

“One thing about the trucking industry we deliver everything, except babies — that’s the only thing we don’t deliver,” Gallup said. “Everything you get supplied to you comes via truck one way or another.”

The job has an aging demographic, and younger workers aren’t filling the void.

Even drivers now know how tough it is.

Jason Abe, an independent truck driver, said, “You have to be willing to be gone, its definitely not a 9-5 job, but if it fits with your schedule and fits with your family you can definitely make decent money doing it.”

The wage has been going up, but it’s still hard to find drivers — even with big bonuses.

There are quick fixes, but Gallup says there has to be a major change to get out of this shortage.

“Legislation in the House right now is trying to lower the age limit to 18 years for guys and gals to drive coast to coast. You know that could be a fit but not every 18-year-old is going to be able to do that.”

Gallup also says they have such few drivers that supervisors and dispatchers are starting to drive themselves.

Another solution that has been talked about is self-driving trucks.

That would be a fix for the future, but would still leave companies struggling until that gets normalized.