Trucker Shortage

By: Ty Shesky
By: Ty Shesky

You see them on the road every day - truck drivers. But a recent study by the American Trucking Associations says they're a dying breed, that there's a real shortage. The study says over a half-million new truckers will be needed nationwide over the next decade. Many older, experienced drivers are reaching retirement age and will need to be replaced. "The old-timers went out, the new ones haven't got enough experience. We can't hire - and I don't know that I would anyway - people straight out of truck driving school," said Leo Meyer, owner of Meyer Trucking in Colorado Springs.

Meyer bought what is now Meyer Trucking in 1992. And his present search for qualified drivers began that very year. "Some days you get a guy that comes in and knows what he's doing and he's ready to go to work, then his family doesn't want him to go," said Meyer.

Many would-be truckers are opting to work in the construction industry instead. The average trucker's wage fell below that of the average construction worker when a recession hit in 2000.
But Meyer says driving truck still pays well. Meyer starts his drivers at 20 percent of each load's gross revenue. So if a load makes three thousand dollars, that's six hundred dollars in your pocket. J.R. Beek, Meyer's newest driver, says it's also a fun job. He went to Houston and L.A. on his first trip.

"I enjoyed the whole thing. They're going to send me down to Oklahoma today and from there, who knows where I'll go," said Beek.

If you'd like to become a truck driver, attending truck-driving school is the first step. Then, you can work for a trucking company as a trainee. Most companies pay for your schooling while you train with them.


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