Trucker shortage could cost consumers - KSFY News - Sioux Falls, SD News, Weather, Sports

Trucker shortage could cost consumers

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There's a nationwide shortage of truckers.

And whether its the food we put on our table or the clothes on our back, nearly everything we buy is brought in by a truck.

Some win and some lose when qualified drivers are in short supply but high demand.

There are a lot of 18-wheelers here at this truck stop but it's a tough job and many of the more seasoned drivers are starting to call it quits.

Until more people decide to take up truck driving for a living, the shortage will fatten some people's wallets and empty others.

For Osman Omer, it's a good time to get a jump on becoming a trucker.

"My job before this was a seasonal job. It was a concrete construction job. We got laid off for the winter and they go back again at the end of April, so I'm very excited to start my new career," Omer said.

Safety is an important lesson from instructor Glade Evenson, a 25-year veteran of the road.

"The piece of advice I give them the first day, is the piece of advice I give them after they past their test, if we're going to err in the truck, err on the side of caution," Evenson said.

Businesses recognize that more drivers like Glade are getting out of the drivers seat.

"We're losing people to retirement, businesses are growing, we need good qualified drivers to move our goods," Evenson said.

Sweetman Construction & Concrete Materials H.R. director Jana Quam said "I've been at Concrete Materials now for about seven years and that was the number one challenge when I was hired and it continues to be the number one challenge that we have."

K&J Trucking safety director Jennifer Raddatz said "for our area here in South Dakota, to have an unemployment rate at only 3.6 percent as of the end of March, that makes it even tougher."

And there's a price to be paid for the shortage of truckers on the road.

"We have drivers that get a lot of overtime hours. That can be good and bad. Some of them really like that because they're making really good money, but then it also can interfere with family time," Quam said.

"We don't grow oranges here in South Dakota. We grow a few apples, but they're not going to be stored all summer long. All of these shirts that we buy, the jeans that we buy, everything else has to be trucked in to South Dakota and that price of everything is going to go up because of a shortage of drivers," Raddatz added.

The Training Solutions Institute at Southeast Tech offers classes to get a commercial drivers license.  And you can become qualified to drive one of these big rigs in less than six weeks. 

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