Demand for truckers across the nation adds to shortages and inflation

Posted at 7:00 AM, May 04, 2022

CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — The American Trucking Association estimates the U.S. is 80,000 truckers short of where it needs to be. Experts said its happening because experienced-older drivers are retiring and leaving the industry adding to shortages and inflation.

“I can tell you the shortage has been around for a while, and we haven’t seen the inflation as we’re seeing it to date,” said President & CEO of Texas Trucking Association John Esparza. “So, is it a direct result of the trucking shortage? No, is it a factor? I am certain that it is."

As we experience a shortage of workers, Del Mar's Transportation Training Program has a full classroom and more potential students on a waiting list. One student, Zachary Bates will be graduating May 13. 

“So far I’ve learned pre-trip inspection, air brake test, straight line backing and parallel parking,” said Bates of his progress during the 5-week course.

Already recruiters are showing interest, but Bates said after just getting out of the military, he knows he wants to stay local.

“They show you all the benefits, the different pay that you can get. Everyone is looking to hire CDL drivers right now,” he said.

John Rojas, the Director of Transportation Training Services knows the lack of drivers and fuel costs is adding pressure to the trucking industry, and everyone is looking to hire CDL drivers.

“The average age is 55 years old, so you have a lot of individuals who have been doing this for a long time that are exiting the industry. Another thing is that the industry is very regulated. There’s a lot of regulations that drivers need to know about and to be safe,” Rojas said.

A local company, Willoughby Trucking said its biggest problem is a shortage of workers. Owner, Monte Willoughby suspects this was brought on by strict hiring criteria, among other things, on its website.

“Safety and compliance are of the utmost importance in the day-to-day operations of Willoughby Trucking. Very strict hiring criteria have been established to assure that all the requirements of the Department of Transportation as well as the new CSA 2010 regulations will be met and adhered to,” said Willoughby.

The Texas Truckers Association also has a list of requirements from the Texas Department of Transportation.

“If you’re an 18-year-old, a 19 -year- old or a 20 -year -old would only be allowed to drive within the state boundaries,” said Esparza.

Although for young drivers like Zachary Bates it’s all about options and successfully completing the course.

“Overall, I feel really good about this and I’m ready to hit the workforce after this,” said Bates.

Adding to the shortage, the Transportation Training Program at Del Mar College said it needs more instructors to keep up with demand and more people need to return to the workforce. Instructors must have 3 years experience, a good driving record and pass a background check. For information on how to apply to be a trucking instructor or join the program as a student, click here. Willoughby Trucking is hiring drivers right now. Interested candidates can find the application online by clicking here.