Virginia Trucking Association looks to recruit new drivers as national shortages surge

Truck Driver Shortage
Posted at 4:23 PM, Apr 14, 2021
and last updated 2021-04-14 17:17:13-04

HAMPTON ROADS, Va. — Truck drivers have been there to deliver the goods we needed most during the pandemic — essential workers answering the call during the chaos.

But the industry continues to face a shortage of qualified drivers, and things have only worsened during the pandemic.

“Motor carriers — because of government regulations and their own safety responsibilities and insurance requirements — have strict hiring criteria,” explained Virginia Trucking Association President Dale Bennett.

According to the American Truck Driving Association, around 60,000 more drivers were needed in 2019. It predicts that number will soar to over a million in the next decade.

“Based on those earlier forecast it is predicted that that number could rise to over 100,000 as a shortage across the country by 2023,” Bennett said.

The Virginia Trucking Association says there are several reasons for the shortage; truck driving schools shut down and couldn’t re-open until it was safe, while pandemic changes at the DMV resulted in a backlog of people who still need to take driving tests. Meanwhile, the driving population is getting older and retiring sooner, and new drug and alcohol screenings are weeding out high-risk employees.

“Our economy is coming back a little better than we thought, and with that comes the demand for the movement of freight and the truck drivers to meet that demand,” Bennett said.

Bennett say the Virginia Trucking Association continues to work on educating people about the career opportunities available and recruiting underrepresented groups like women and people of color.

“We feel like it is a great economic opportunity that can pay folks $50,000 to $70,000 a year with a robust package of benefits to attract them," Bennett said.

Bennett encourages people looking for a new career that will allow them to explore the country to find a truck driver training school near them.