Truck driver shortage impacts Virginia

Published: Aug. 31, 2018 at 6:11 PM EDT
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

There's a shortage of truck drivers across the country, and it's a serious problem in Virginia.

Alan Caviness, with Houff Transfer in Weyers Cave, says the reason for the shortage stems from the recession in 2008 and 2009 when 10 percent of all truck drivers either quit or were laid off — which is 300,000 drivers.

The shortage increases the price of transportation, he says, resulting in higher prices at any store or online retailer that uses shipping.

"In the Commonwealth of Virginia, nine out of 10 communities rely exclusively on trucks to deliver their freight," Caviness said. "That's the shortage. It's not just a trucking shortage — it's a Virginia shortage."

More than 51,000 drivers are currently needed in the United States, as well as 5,000 to 7,000 truck technicians. By 2026, more than 170,000 drivers will be needed.

It's hard to fill positions now because with higher standards, Caviness said fewer drivers are meeting the qualifications. Truck companies want the inter-state driving age to be lowered from 21 to 18.

"If they're vetted and qualified, not every 18 year old is qualified, but if they're qualified they should be able to go inter-state trucking," Caviness said. "That would help with the shortage a lot I think."

To try and attract more people to the career, many trucking companies are improving benefits, increasing pay and improving the trucks' technology. They also want to make it easier for veterans to become qualified to drive.