DUNCAN, S.C. (WSPA) — With truck drivers leaving the industry and the economy expanding, it’s created a shortage of drivers across the country.
7NEWS spoke with a local trucking school about enrollment trends and what goes into getting your commercial driving license.
When you see trucks on the road you know the things you need are moving, but before you see them there, they have to take classes to navigate the cones and classroom time.
Recent reports showed that the trucking industry could need more than a million drivers over the next 10 years. That creates opportunities for people like Latasha Pearson. She just passed her commercial driving test to receive her CDL license.
“I passed; I got my CDL today. I’ve been lucky to find this school. I went to one other school and I wasn’t so lucky there, but when I came here it’s like family. they taught me everything I needed to know about truck driving.” truck driver, Latasha Pearson said.
In addition to walk-ins, job seekers are referred to Commercial Driver Academy by SC Works. The owner said their enrollment has increased nearly 500-percent this year alone. Finding a reputable truck driving school is vital.
“One of the signs that I would recommend is checking the reviews of the school, maybe companies that work with the school, give them a call and see what their experience was like with their previous students.” commercial driving academy, owner, Vitaliy Avramenko said.
Industry officials said driving schools should teach the basics. students should learn about all aspects of the truck, its engine, moveable parts and how to maneuver on the open road.
After passing and receiving a commercial driver’s license, the company you work for should continue that training and connect the new driver with a mentor.
Ji’quan Stover is about to take his truck driving test and said even though he walked in the door with an idea of what to expect, he still had to work hard.
“I actually came from a family of truckers so I kind of had an inside scoop on it. But like they always tell me, that first week of school is going to be a little rough. But you’ve just gotta stick with it and when I came here that first week it was real rough, they threw you out there … once it got to stick and the wheels start turning, I was good to go.” said truck driver Ji’quan Stover said.
Much of the nation’s $23-trillion dollar economy depends on 18-wheelers. Some businesses that are looking for truckers, even offer tuition reimbursement for new drivers. Pay has increased over the years, along with more benefits.
“I have some of the instructors that work here that are a little old school, they started as low as 22-cents a mile, right now trucking companies start at 55-cents a mile,” Avramenko said.
“If it wasn’t for a trucker, you couldn’t get no supplies, no nothing so, they are needed and there is a shortage of them. You need the training, just make sure you get the appropriate training, come to the appropriate school, so you can be safe.” Pearson said.
Recent reports showed that more than 80,000 truck drivers are needed to help fix the supply chain shortage.