Truck driver shortage affecting the cost of everything that travels down the road

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You may have noticed your packages being delivered are taking longer to get to you.

There’s a nationwide trucker shortage that’s been a growing problem for years.

Steven C. Johnson, admissions director at Suncoast Trucking Academy in Punta Gorda, says, “They’re all calling us and emailing us, just asking for as many drivers as they can get.”

Suncoast Trucking Academy offers a four-week program to train future drivers to get licensed and take the wheel. These drivers are already in high demand from companies across the country.

“I’m being booked more often. Yes, I see that and there are more and more available loads,” said truck driver Harry Kerr, “There’s more flow, more workflow, which is good for me.”

Truckers like Kerr, who have been driving for more than a decade, say they’re busier than ever. And some companies are desperate.

“I know they’re hurting right now. They’re begging for drivers,” Johnson said.

The serious shortage of truck drivers is causing some product shortages, delayed deliveries and is driving up shipping costs of just about everything, from your groceries to your furniture.

The American Trucking Association says tens of thousands of drivers are needed just to meet current demand, and the problem is only accelerating as older drivers retire and young people choose different careers.

According to the Association, there’s a shortage of 50,000 truck drivers nationally. It’s increasing shipping costs not just to businesses, but to consumers, too.

“A lot of people don’t want to go to all 48 states. Some people just want to go to one state. Some people want to be home every weekend like a family guy,” Kerr said.

Industry experts say companies are going to have to go the extra mile to recruit more drivers.

Johnson thinks a new approach will have to happen, “The trucking companies are going to have to increase their wages even more, somehow figure out how to get people home more often and then of course that’s just going to drive up the cost of everything that travels down the road on the truck, which is almost everything.”

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