HAYWARD (KPIX) – As the global supply chain continues to struggle, more attention is focused on the years-long shortage of truck drivers. It’s a big part of why ports are backed up and some shelves appear empty.
This demand increases the salaries of drivers for the first time. By one estimate, the United States has a shortage of about 80,000 truck drivers. There is a lot of talk about how to get more people behind the wheel, but doing so is about to get more complicated.
“You may need to get out, and go in that direction, because you’re out of the box now,” explains Jaime Magtalas of A-1 Truck Driving.
Parallel parking, challenge today in A-1 Truck Driving. At the wheel is Eugene Allen, who is two days away from his Class A commercial test drive.
“I was looking for a new ride, a new ride that’s my life,” says Allen. “You know, on your way to support my family. Truck driver shortage. We need a lot of truck drivers. They provide everything to these stores, from groceries and all the necessities”
Like many other parts of the economy, truck driving has been affected by the big quits, just as demand for freight is at an all-time high. This has driven up driver pay, which is now five times faster than its historical average.
“This place is right here, we have a lot of students,” Magallas says.
Starting next month, business licenses will require this type of entry-level training. So far, you just had to pass the test.
“These companies that are looking for new drivers, and drivers who are coming out of CDL school, should be able to command a higher salary rate,” Allen says.
“You know, $35 an hour, $40 an hour,” Magallas says of first-time drivers.
So will the wage increase attract enough drivers when working hours are tough, with many nights away from home? It’s a question our supply chain depends on.
“It all depends on who wants to do it,” Magallas says. Who wants to be a truck driver?
The federal government is looking at a number of things to get more drivers, including allowing truck drivers under the age of 21 to cross state lines. But even so, with wages rising, some experts believe it could be years before the industry can be fully re-employed again.