Trucker shortage leads to increased demand for drivers

Credits: ALBERT LEA, Minn. (KTTC)

Release Date: June 4, 2021

Categories: Area Media Stories

The trucking industry has been taking a bit of a detour lately.

Driver numbers are declining as the trucking business need keeps increasing.

Jonathan Rymer is an instructor at Riverland Community and Technical College.

"Most of the folks that are retiring, they've worked thirty, forty years in it. And they're retiring," he said. "There's just not enough young folks to come and replace them."

Rymer says one of the primary issues in recruiting and hiring young drivers is the image surrounding trucking.

"Typically, people don't think of someone like myself. I've been doing it 25 years. I've been very successful. I'm financially sound, and it's because of trucking. I think that's not usually the story that you get," Rymer said.

The instructor especially enjoys using truck driving simulators to teach his students essential driving skills before hopping in an actual truck.

Several truck drivers discussed the difficulties that come with their career. One of these liabilities is the loss of pay when returning from a haul.

"The rates are really a lot lower coming back this way. You can go down south to Georgia, Florida, whatever, bounce around little areas and it pays really well," trucker Ken Robinson said. "You try to come straight back and it's basically a fifty percent cut on the rate."

There is also a special skillset associated with driving that truckers have to master.

"You've got to be patient. There's a lot of patience involved where you get in traffic jams and everything, and if you get sleepy at the wheel often, it's probably not for you," trucker Daniel Cercel said. "But just staying awake and being patient, a lot of patience."

Despite these setbacks, however, Rymer sees some signs of optimism coming soon.

"I see hope in that I think we'll see more and more young folks."