DMV closings in Kansas may exacerbate truck driver shortage

Nation's supply chain relies on tucking industry
Posted at 10:41 PM, Mar 20, 2020
and last updated 2020-03-21 00:09:35-04

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — The unemployment numbers in Kansas mirror those across the country, growing and growing quickly.

At the same time, demand for truck drivers to keep the supply chain moving also is growing.

"As the unemployment number goes up, people historically turn to truck driving because the demand for truck driving never goes down. Now, the demand is greater than ever," Jeff Steinberg, owner of Apex CDL Institute said."The state of Kansas decided to shut down all the Department of Revenue sites and the Department of Revenue site is the motor vehicle division where you get your driver license at. It's also where they do the commercial learner's permit testing for our students coming through. So if they shut that down, there's no more CDL training."

Kansas is working on a plan for a new commercial drivers licensing amid the global COVID-19 pandemic, which has shut down DMV locations in the state.

"Regarding renewals for CDL, so that's renewals for ones they already have, the state is relying on federal guidelines," Kansas Rep. Stephanie Clayton said. "For new CDL's, we might have new guidelines after the next two weeks."

Clayton said there's an urgent need, and there will likely be some resolution in the next two weeks.

Steinberg said at Apex, he can get a CDL driver on the road with a paying job in just four weeks.

"Our job then is to place them with companies that are trying to hire them and they continue their training for another eight to 10 weeks after that, but at that point they're a paid employee," he said.

He added that with the supply chain issues across the country, it's important to remember drivers transport "not just food, but medical supplies and everything we use that drives our economy. It can't stop. This can't be something that we let stop us."