National truck driver shortage could have a future hope

Local

WICHITA, Kan (KSNW) — The American Trucking Association said the trucking industry is short more than 80 thousand drivers, and that is just one of the issues factoring into the shortages and delays across the country.

Truck drivers said they are working over trying to keep up with the demand.

“We got to drive 10 times harder,” said Martin Smith, a truck driver.

One truck driver said he hasn’t been home in three months.

“Keep America moving because without the trucks America stops,” said Smith.

The shortage is already impacting the supply chain in Kansas.

“We forget how important the driver, drivers are and how much they rely on the country relies on what we do. And you know, the thing is, is that we’ve had a lot of things that have triggered that large demand,” said Jeffrey Baza, the president of Kansas Truck Driver training.

The Kansas Truck Driver Training president said their school is back to having full-size classes with classes averaging about 10 students for each two-week course. But he believes the recent passage of the infrastructure bill could have a big impact on the future of trucking.

“18-year-olds and to 20-year-olds can now legally, not now but will be able to legally cross state lines which are similar to me for some various states. It seems like a magical line. That doesn’t make a lot of sense. But this way, they will be able to go into various states delivering products but with some strict guidelines,” said Baza.

One of the owners of Martin Trucking, Inc. said most of his drivers are in their 50s, and there is a need for more young drivers.

“You know, our young, I want to say men because there’s more and more than male occupations, but we need to encourage them to get into the trucking industry,” said Douglas Martin, one of the owners of Martin Trucking Inc.

The recent infrastructure bill does work to increase the number of women truck drivers since they represent only about 6% of the industry.

Sen. Jerry Moran introduced a separate bill earlier this year to create more opportunities for women in the industry.

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