GREAT FALLS — There are many challenges facing the trucking industry - including a shortage of drivers. Much of the shortage is related to the working conditions of the job, ranging from overwhelmingly long working hours to their long-distance travels.
Dave Bertelsen, who owns K&K Trucking, said, "Guys are out at two-to-three weeks at a time, so weather, flat tires, traffic, congestion, delays, all of those things, I mean, we get calls 24 hours of the day 7 days a week, so it's pretty challenging."
And even more challenging is the number of truckers. The American Trucking Association estimated that the shortage hit a historic high of about 80,000 drivers, and could surpass 160,000 in 2030.
"We've had a truck driver shortage for 23 years," Bertelsen said. "Now other professions are dealing with a similar issue, but it's always been a challenge in this industry is retaining good, qualified drivers."
Freight companies are known to have similar challenges, but they believe the trucker shortage will push younger people into truck driving.
Rob Haney is the Service Center Manager at Old Dominion Freight, and highlighted some of the things people should know when joining the industry.
"The hours are long," he said. "They're varied, and the work can be challenging, especially during the wintertime. You have to be able to work outdoors for long periods of time and be willing to put in the effort and get your hands dirty. It's a blue-collar job, it's also rewarding. You don't need a college education. You just need an A-plus work ethic."
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