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Despite high wages, US facing massive truck driver shortage

Posted at 8:04 PM, Jun 08, 2018
and last updated 2018-06-08 23:14:43-04

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — In the next few months, you might see prices for cereal, clothing, even cars might creep up. 

And there's one driving factor -- there are not enough drivers to deliver your goods to the stores. 

The American Trucking Associations (ATA) estimates there is a shortage of about 50,000 drivers. 

By 2026, it could surpass 174,000. 

"We graduate on average about 400 students a year from this program and every one of them has jobs waiting for them," said Jeffrey Steinberg, owner of APEX CDL Institute in Kansas City, Kansas. "And that's not anywhere near filling the demand. We have trucking companies that we work with, that we have training agreements with, that if they could they would hire every one of those students and beg for more. 

An aging demographic, lack of qualified applicants and an inability to attract younger workers has contributed to the problem, forcing companies to switch gears. 

Trucking companies are now offering sign-on bonuses, expanding benefits packages and increasing salaries. According to Steinberg, some of those salaries now start at $80,000. 

"Pay right now is outstanding. The opportunities that you can make a living in this industry, going into the future and building a career... even when the demand is low there is still always a need," he said. 

To further help with the shortage, the ATA is backing legislation to lower the minimum age for interstate driving from 21 to 18.