Truck driving shortage continues in 2023

Experts predict autonomous, self-driving trucks could replace about 500,000 long-haul jobs in the U.S.
Published: Apr. 14, 2023 at 5:52 PM EDT
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ST. JOHNS, Mich. (WILX) - Rising fuel costs and driver shortages continue to impact the trucking industry.

By 2030, the American Trucking Association said the industry could see a shortage of 160,000 truck drivers. To attract and keep new drivers, companies like Amazon and Walmart are offering driver training programs and higher pay.

In St Johns, the Tri-Area Trucking School prepares new drivers like Zachary Forcier to fill those positions.

“I have been in the program for two weeks. My first week was online, my second week was bookwork, and this is now my third week, which we are doing yard training. And that’s maneuvers, driving on the road, trying to get the experience that you need,” said Forcier.

He said his instructors make sure he’s safe on the road too. “We’ve seen a lot of what not to do out there. So, we’re trying to prepare the next generation that wants to get into this industry to watch out for that kinds of problem areas and people’s tendencies around trucks. You know, they don’t give you a lot of room sometimes,” said Adam Beaver, driver/instructor at Tri-Area Trucking School.

Despite the shortage, experts say the trucking industry is still the most reliable freight transportation in the U.S. The lead instructor at Tri-Area Trucking School, Jason Neitzeo, said they help drivers get jobs after completing their program.

“Learning how to drive different types of equipment, different trucks. We also offer hazmat classes to be able to get the endorsements on your CDL,” said Neitzeo. All of which Forcier said makes him a better driver. “There are certain things I never even knew how to do with a trailer. One of them is off-set backing – it’s definitely the biggest struggle that I have.”

With the right instructors, Forcier said he’s one step closer to helping get more truck drivers on the road. Experts predict autonomous, self-driving trucks could replace about 500,000 long-haul jobs in the U.S.

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