LAS VEGAS (KTNV) — You may start to see younger drivers behind the wheel of an 18-wheeler semi-trailer truck. With a nationwide truck driver shortage, local driving schools are trying to attract younger people into the industry.
From the clothes we wear to the groceries we buy, all these essential items are transported mostly through large commercial vehicles, but the pandemic has made finding drivers an issue.
Gerona Godwin, an instructor at A-1 Truck Driver Training, says teenage drivers may be the solution to delayed shipping and low inventory of supplies.
“Mortar, cement, everything to make these beautiful homes, hotels, all that we have here is all driven in so we would have nothing available without truckers,” said Godwin.
She has been going to many high school career fairs. Godwin says we need to encourage younger generations to consider this career path. Not only does it pay well but during this supply chain crisis, when container ships are stuck at ports waiting to be unloaded, she says drivers are desperately needed.
“Before COVID, we would get one student a day, that is five a week, trained over our brief course and stuff between three to five days so they can hit the road and all that, but now after the pandemic, it’s about one every other day, just three new truckers each week,” Godwin explained.
Paul Enos, President of the Nevada Trucking Association, says part of the infrastructure bill the Senate approved would allow 18 to 20-year-olds to drive big rigs across state lines.
Most states like Nevada allow people under 21 to get a commercial driver’s license, but federal rules currently restrict drivers to only work within state borders. Enos says the young age of the drivers shouldn’t be a factor as there will be adequate training.
“You need to have at least 400 hours of apprenticeship with an experienced driver, you need to have 250 hours of driving, and on top of that you need to have a driver's truck equipped with safety systems,” Enos said.
Enos says he knows safety is a major concern, but these drivers will be trained properly before stepping foot inside of these trucks.
“Being able to go in and attract that new pool and have that additional pipeline of drivers coming into our system would be extremely beneficial to the trucking industry, to the supply chain, and our economy as a whole,” said Enos.
If you are interested in becoming a driver, A1 Truck Training is open Monday thru Friday from 8 AM to 2 PM.
Click here to go to A-1 Truck Training’s website and find out more about how you can be a truck driver.
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