Trucking companies in need of more ‘heroes of the road’

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SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — Truck drivers have been in high demand for years, but right now the hiring situation is at its peak.

“J.B. Hunt, one of the biggest companies out there, has said that this is one of the worst markets they’ve seen for trucking and finding drivers in 37 years, so we are definitely in a little bit of a recession in finding drivers,” K & J Trucking Director of Communications Carrie Anderson said. 
Drivers who are essential to keeping the entire economy running.

“During the last year we all saw shelves emptying…you saw the fact that there wasn’t food at the stores,” Anderson said. “I really see them as the heroes of the road.”

But right now there aren’t a lot of people stepping up for the job.

“We definitely haven’t seen an influx of applicants come into the industry through school,” Anderson said. “There’s a lot of misinformation out there about what being a truck driver is.”

One common fear is that they’ll be stuck behind the wheel of their truck for too long and away from their families, but one new KELOLAND driver says he spends less time stuck in the truck than you might think.

“I do spend a lot of home time, more than I could have ever dreamed of,” Eric Cruz said. 

Eric Cruz is a husband and father of two; he became a driver a little over a year ago with his family in mind.

“It’s very competitive pay, it’s really good, my wife doesn’t have any problems with it,” Cruz said. 

“A truck driving school is only about an eight-week program, and you can make $60,000, $70,000, depending on how hard you want to run,” Anderson said. 

Cruz says once he got through training…

“It was easier than I thought. At first, I was nervous about driving a big rig,” he said.

Now he truly enjoys where his new career takes him.

“All across the country, that’s one of the best experiences I’ve had is traveling all over getting to know all these beautiful cities,” Cruz said. 

The trucking industry is not only facing a shortage of workers, but there is also a big equipment backlog that can further delay deliveries.

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