US truck driver shortage is at all-time high
LEXINGTON, Ky. (WKYT) - The American Trucking Association estimates the U.S. is 80,000 truckers short, an all-time high for the industry.
Transportation experts say the shortage is driving up the price of goods. According to the Labor Department, U.S. inflation jumped 8.5% in the past year, the highest it’s been since 1981.
Rick Taylor with the Kentucky Trucking Association says the shortage is partly due to the lack of new workers.
“The average age is 49 or a little more. Drivers are aging out,” Taylor said. “So, we’re trying to get more younger people interested in the industry.”
In Kentucky, you must be 18 years old to hold a commercial driver’s license and can operate a commercial vehicle within state lanes. However, you must be at least 21 years old to operate commercial vehicles across state lines, carry hazardous materials or transport any passengers.
Taylor says lawmakers should do more to bridge this age gap.
The Biden administration has discussed a plan to alleviate the trucker shortage. It includes reducing the amount of time it takes to get a commercial driver’s license and providing incentives for companies to create apprenticeship programs.
The Kentucky Trucking Association has also been visiting high schools across the state to encourage young people to join the profession.
Taylor says many trucking companies are hiring. He says the average trucker pay in Kentucky is $47,000. Some companies are offering six figures.
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