KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Trucking companies are changing to make up for a national driver shortage.
Shipping companies are paying drivers more, exploring the possibility of lowering the minimum age for an interstate trucker and marketing the job to a new generation.
The American Trucking Associations estimates the country will need nearly 90,000 new drivers every year for the next decade. If companies can't hire those drivers, prices consumers pay for items on store shelves will increase.
Genia Johnson works at Pro Drivers, a staffing company in Kansas City. She said companies are paying more for drivers, but they still maintain strict hiring standards based on experience and a driver's crash history.
"In the past five and a half years you can see where the wages have jumped tremendously within in the Kansas City area," she said. "You can almost see a $10 [per hour] difference in the wages."
An ATA report showed advocates are working with the government to consider lowering the minimum age for an interstate trucker from 21 to 18.
In the meantime, trucking companies have started marketing jobs as a way for drivers to explore the country in hopes of attracting new, younger drivers.
Johnson said companies are changing routes to give drivers shorter distances, allowing them more time at home with their families.