Tampa, FL – The nationwide truck driver shortage is still very apparent in the United States and the American Trucking Association estimates that the shortage is at about 80,000 and is expected to double to 160,000 within the next 10 years. According to Roadmaster Drivers School in Tampa, they have recently seen some signs of improvement, with more applicants from diverse backgrounds and professions applying for a trucking license.
With the demand being so high, there will be a new and larger facility opening in Apopka, Florida, to meet this demand. Drivers School President Brad Ball explains how high the demand has grown since the pandemic. People who were losing their jobs in other industries were coming to trucking for a job. “People that lost their jobs in hospitality and all kinds of different industries are finding that trucking is recession proof, pandemic proof, and a great place to find a home.” He has particularly seen an increase in minorities and women in trucking recently. Women made up 7% of the industry a few years ago, today, Ball claims that 15% of his students are female.
Crystal Mitchell is working tirelessly to get her trucking driver’s license and learning all that it takes to operate a nearly 35,000-lb semi. She expressed that trucking is not what she thought it was and that there’s so much more to it than she had originally thought. She’s learning all the rules and federal laws to be as prepared as possible. “We were finding ourselves in a little bit of a pickle because everything was closed down due to the pandemic and we needed income and I kind of said something like ‘I hear they make good money in trucking,’” she chuckled.
Crystal’s husband was in the entertainment industry until the pandemic when he started driving full time. Now, so is Crystal. “It is money, and it’s a good field to be in. That’s why so many of us are doing it,” she said. She is hopeful that this career will provide her job security and the proper flexibility to be with her family when needed. She even plans to start team driving with her husband in the near future.