Truck Drivers in High Demand - Northern Michigan's News Leader

Truck Drivers in High Demand

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There's a shortage of qualified truck drivers out on the road, and it's affecting how fast you get your deliveries.


And the shortage has trucking companies in a pinch. With the economy on the upswing, more items need to be transported. But there aren't enough drivers to get the job done.


A trucking company in Manistee says if they could hire a dozen truckers tomorrow they would. 


Drivers for trucking companies are putting on more miles than usual this time of year, it's because of the lack of drivers not trucks. "Everybody seems to have the same problem, from truck drivers to bus drivers, everybody seems to have a shortage. We've got a good group of guys right now that we work with, kind of wish we could clone them," says Bonnie Bigalke, president of Kowalski Distributing Company.


Kowalskis in Manistee says they are doing fewer deliveries because they can only go so fast. "We're always looking for more drivers, but we're looking for good drivers. A lot of people, they think if they can drive a pick up truck they can drive a semi, just not the case. There's a lot of different regulations, a lot of rules, medical things they're changing up constantly," says Bigalke.


Backer College is really feeling the pressure to get eligible drivers out on the road but they're having a hard time dealing with insurance companies and their regulations. "More and more these companies, it's not that they can't find, well they can't find enough drivers, but they because of their insurance problems or because of the insurance companies dictating to them, they can't hire brand new drivers," says Jim Pals, Baker College Transportation program coordinator. 


Baker College says the shortage of drivers come down to the new federal regulations. "So they're cutting back on the number of hours that truck drivers can be on the road and that obviously impacts on the amount of freight that people can move," says Pals. But Baker College reassures companies that they will help put them back on track. "In another eight weeks we'll have another 18 drivers that can go on the road," says Pals. Baker College will be holding a recruitment fair right before their students graduate to help trucking companies get drivers right out of school.