Truck driver shortage creates great opportunities

Local News


Truckers aren’t just the backbone of the economy, they’re the heartbeat of our nation, according to American Trucking Associations, and that pulse is felt here in Grand Junction. Regional Director for Sage Truck Driving Schools, Megan Willford says, “Once you have your CDL and once you do it, it kind of gets into your blood.”

But, the trucking industry is struggling and so is the supply chain of distributed goods because of the lack of truckers expected to reach 100,000 by 2023, according to American Trucking Associations. The pandemic put the brakes on state DMV’s and driver training schools, but now student drivers are slowly pulling in, but only 7% of all drivers are female. “We get maybe six to ten females per year,” said Willford.

Retirements, age requirements to drive over state lines, and drug tests all contribute to the shortage, including how tough it is to drive a truck, but the need outweighs the experience. Willford says, “Everybody’s in such dire straights right now that their insurance companies are allowing them to hire student drivers.”

Over 70% of the us economy’s goods are moved by truckers, but currently there’s a shortage of 80,000 drivers and that number is expected to double by 2030, according to American Trucking Associations. The need is great, but so is the opportunity. Student driver, J.P. Taylor says, “I had a couple of job offers right out of school near six figures, a $100,000 to start, and that’s going to be obviously more dangerous routes like over the mountains to Denver, and the nightshift.”

American Trucking Associations report truckers’ earnings are five times more than their historical average and average weekly pay for long-haul drivers went up more than 25% since the start of 2019, but the demand for drivers creates a supply of options. “I want to have that good balance between family life and work life, and not work all the time,” said Taylor.

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