Truck drivers weigh in on supply chain issues and driver shortages
ASHEVILLE, N.C. (WLOS) – The trade group American Trucking Associations estimates the trucking industry in the United States is 80,000 drivers short.
Many cite those historic driver shortages as one of the many reasons for product shortages and rising prices, but the drivers say it’s not that simple.
“I think that there has been disparaging pay, which is why we don’t have enough drivers on the road,” said Rico Muhammad who has been driving trucks since 2004.
He says driver shortages are the tip of the iceberg, but the supply chain issues go deeper.
“Free shipping and all that stuff is all the craze right now, but somebody has to end up bearing that cost. That’s why you start to see the spikes in prices at the grocery stores and things of that nature because shipping cost eventually has to trickle down to the consumer,” Muhammad said.
There’s currently a waiting list to enroll at Trans Tech, a CDL driving school in North Carolina. Site manager Doug Gragg said they’ve increased their numbers by almost 50% per week.
He said the supply chain shortages are also due to tighter laws for drivers.
“Their mileage has been cut down to keep within regulations, so you need more drivers to haul the same freight, because you’re getting less mileage out of them,” Gragg explained.
Gragg said anyone can earn a commercial driver’s license in as little as four weeks.
Federal regulators have proposed lowering the required age for truckers to cross state lines from 21 to 18. The goal would be to attract more drivers to address the shortages.
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