Truck driver shortage impacting supply and demand

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Published: Jan. 25, 2022 at 10:56 PM EST
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TIFTON, Ga. (WALB) - We’ve all seen the empty shelves in grocery stores and the concern with inflation growing. The trucking industry is also experiencing shortages across our nation.

Kerrie Wilson is the Southern Regional Technical College Commercial Driver instructor. She says the truck driver shortage was long before the pandemic, the pandemic just made things tougher.

She says these shortages are impacting their training schedule.

Colleges work with recruiters from national companies to get students a job after graduation. Wilson says in the last 12 months, the number of companies wanting to recruit from them has nearly doubled.

The trucking industry is loosening up its hiring criteria to try to help alleviate the shortage.

“You must be 18 to get a commercial permit and you can drive within the state that that was issued after you get your full CDL until you’re 21 and then you can cross state lines and haul product that originated outside of your state,” Wilson says.

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For years, if you wanted to obtain your commercial driver’s license, you could be grandfathered into the career until you could pass the state exam. However, as of Feb. 7, there will be new federal regulations issued out for those wanting to obtain class A or B licenses, hazmat passenger, and school bus endorsement licenses.

The certified training program will be on the national trainer provider registry that is run by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration.

“They can get their permit now on their own before or after the regulation, but they will not be qualified to take the CDL exam without going through a training program,” Wilson says.

She says although these regulations are set in stone, she will continue to help students be prepared to get on the road with her training and expertise.

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