Trucking industry facing severe driver shortage

By Alison Wickline - Reporter

ROANOKE, Va. - The truck industry is taking stock of an alarming trend -- a severe driver shortage.

According to an American Trucking Associations study, over the next decade, the trucking industry will need to hire roughly 900,000 new drivers to keep up with demand.

David Snyder is the safety director at Lawrence Companies in the Roanoke valley. He is also a former truck driver. He says the nationwide shortage has really started to hit home here recently. The CEO of Lawrence Companies agrees.

"It's incredibly serious. It's been bad over the last couple years, but just in the last few months, it's gotten much, much worse," said Peer Segelke. 

Segelke says negative perceptions of the job along with the longer hours have hurt hiring. The fear is that consumers will take a hit too. 

"More than 70 percent is on the trucks. Most of the goods we consume are on those trucks, and a big part of the cost is the transportation. So goods are going to go up," said Segelke.

Efforts are underway nationwide to highlight the benefits of being a truck driver...more independence, more money and less time out on the roads. The industry is hoping an improved perception of what it means to be a truck driver as well as higher salaries will encourage more young people to try it out.

"You have a lot more drivers that are home every evening so it seems more like a regular job. Also, the compensation has increased significantly," said Segelke.

For now, the industry will keep hoping that something clicks.

To learn more about the truck driver shortage, click here.
 

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