American truck drivers were among some of the unsung heroes during Spring 2020 COVID-19 lockdowns that resulted in shortages of items whose availability we usually take for granted. Truck drivers kept supply available with long haul drives and never-ending days.
As noted by Tucker Carlson, “America has only avoided collapse — not an exaggeration — because of one group: millions of truck drivers, who are continuing to keep this economic engine running and its stores full.”
Why More Class A CDL Drivers Will Be Needed in the Comings Months
As the economy begins to recover, the demand for Class A CDL drivers continues as an increased truck driver shortage is expected in the coming months.
The trucking recession of 2019 and early 2020 was met with an unprecedented challenge in the emergence of COVID-19. According to the American Trucking Association, the USA is facing a shortage of nearly 65,000 drivers, with the number expected to triple over the next six years. The driver shortage has caused a more competitive market, as companies fight to keep operations running and their products on the shelf.
The winter months are the busiest for trucking, and the upcoming holiday season will not be the first to suffer a driver shortage. Due to the effects of COVID-19 and social distancing recommendations, many big-box retailers are planning an early launch for their holiday deals that usually kick off on Black Friday, with some retailers kicking off their sales as early as October.
Online shopping is historically at its highest during the holiday season, and this year is expected to be the busiest online shopping season to date. According to Ware2Go CEO Steve Denton, “With most supply chains already working above their 2019 peak shipping volumes, we recognize that this holiday season will be unlike any the industry has seen before.”
The increase in holiday shopping brings a strong demand for Class A CDL drivers. As countless miles are driven and even more packages are handled, many truckers work seven days a week to ensure their deliveries arrive on time. DHL predicts 30-50% more volume this holiday season than 2019. As a result, the shortage has many companies struggling to find hires in the weeks before the season begins.
One cause for the shortage in drivers is due to difficulty in finding new recruits. An estimated 1,386,000 people in the trucking industry remain on unemployment due to layoffs or other effects of COVID-19, compared to 587,000 in August of 2019. The effects of COVID-19 have pushed some drivers into an early retirement. As the average age of drivers rises to 55, the need for young drivers is high.
However, many driver schools are facing challenges of social distancing measures. School closings have made license renewals and getting new licenses difficult as some state offices have closed during the pandemic. An estimated 71% of fleets stopped training programs, and the number of open schools dropping by about 40%.
The need for entry level drivers is and has been issue to not only our national but also our local economies. While navigating Covid-19 shutdowns and implementing safety protocols has been challenging, we understand how vital our role in driver capacity is. Ultimately, when a student leaves our campus with a class “A” license, there is still additional company training time before they are a first seat driver capable of making deliveries. This logistical process is one that we often take for granted and has been our motivation to keep going and train the next round of drivers.
For many drivers, the shortage has resulted in a sizeable pay increase. In an attempt to combat the shortage, one of the country’s largest trucking firms, is paying drivers upwards of $90,000 with up to $10,000 in signing bonuses.
Companies have offered extra incentives for team truck drivers as well. Two-person driver teams allow for a faster, steadier flow of product because when one driver reaches the federal driving limit, their teammate can immediately take over. Moreover, CDL drivers who opt for a teammate will most likely receive a bump of a few cents per mile, resulting in up to $7,000 annual pay increase per driver in most cases. Smaller companies are expected to follow suit.
Apply for Your CDL Training Today and Get Paid to Keep the Economy Running
With companies striving to keep products on the shelves during the pandemic and the holiday season right around the corner, more Class A CDL drivers will be needed to help the economy push forward.
At CDL of AL, we’re here working hard to help those with a desire to earn their CDL get behind the wheel and begin earning money for their family as quickly and efficiently as possible. If you’re ready to take the next step, apply online now. We’ll even show you how you may be able to pay absolutely nothing for your training. You have nothing to lose and everything to gain.