The Stultz Center at PVCC hosts truck driver education courses.
Truck driver Timothy Jackson is getting his license renewed.
ALBEMARLE COUNTY, Va. (WVIR) -
The United States is experiencing a massive truck driver shortage and Virginia is feeling the effects. Despite quick training and competitive pay, companies are still low on drivers.
According to instructors, as well as both current and former truck drivers, the shortage isn’t necessarily due to a lack of interest, but rather an increase in openings due to online shopping and new driver limitations. Regulations have forced drivers to take an eight to 10 hour break in between their 14-hour shifts, causing a need for more drivers to fill in the gap.
At Piedmont Virginia Community College, people can take a 20-day course on truck driving and be ready to start making $50,000 to $70,000 a year. The course at PVCC costs $4,500, but due to state grants, many only end up paying around $1,500 for the course.
Timothy Jackson, who is getting his license renewed, says despite more positions popping up, many can’t handle the trucker lifestyle. “It’s demanding,” Jackson said. “You have to be a defensive driver. The expectations of you are very high. I just like the challenge. It’s a challenge driving a tractor trailer.”
Jackson added that it’s hard to find good drivers, and staff at the Stultz Center of PVCC says many younger drivers have to start out on the road rather than driving local. Currently, truckers can get their license at 18 years old, but can’t cross state lines until they are 21.
Amid this shortage, President Trump is advancing a pilot program that will soon allow some drivers to drive cross-country at 18.