Fewer Truckers Getting Behind the Wheel - 8 News NOW

Fewer Truckers Getting Behind the Wheel

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LAS VEGAS -- Retiring truck drivers have shifted the industry into a shortage.

Transportation companies have said the jobs are tough to fill because fewer younger drivers want to deal with the sacrifices that come with the job.

With his nephew as co-pilot, Jonathan Patterson is on his way to Illinois, leaving behind a wife and four kids.

"(The family) is why I'm doing it," said Patterson, a truck driver.

Being thousands of miles away and gone for days and even weeks at a time, he said trucking can take a toll.

"It's very tough," he said. "That's probably why young truckers don't want to do it."

Patterson said he gets homesick, but the 26-year-old said he knows it will make his family's life better.

"It was a decision," he said. "Either stay here and work minimum wage jobs and do them at once or go over the road and making plenty of money so we can actually live comfortably."

According to the American Trucking Association, the industry is short about 20,000 drivers.

In two years, that number is expected to accelerate to more than 100,000.

About 80 percent of goods, such as food and clothing, is delivered by truck.

With fewer drivers on the roads, prices paid for the goods could become a lot more.

At the American Institute of Technology, drivers are trained to not only handle the trucks, but what to expect from a trucking lifestyle.

Before prospective truckers sign up, assistant admissions representative Terry Selthofner will caution them.

"What I do is give them enough information to make an educated decision on whether it's the best move for their family," Selthofner said.

Aside from the personal sacrifices, he shares the benefits of being a truck driver, including paid vacation, retirement and benefits within 90 days.

The average trucking starting salary is up to 45,000. Even so, that is not enough to get drivers behind the wheel.

 

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