If you spend a lot of time driving on I-80 or even in Sparks....you may find this hard to believe...
But the American Trucking Association says there is a shortage of truck drivers.
The Association says the United States faces a shortfall of nearly twenty-thousand long-haul... truck drivers.
The driver shortage can be explained by a simple supply and demand market.
Every year, the demand for freight to be hauled overwhelms the number of drivers to do the jobs.
Close to five hundred trucks rumble through this Sparks truck-stop every single day.
If trucking companies had their way, there'd be double the number of drivers on the road...in order to meet the country's hauling demand.
Marty Hodge of A-1 Interstate says, "We could use another 60 trucks right now. There's that much work here. Our customers are calling daily, asking where's the trucks? Why don't we have enough trucks? And it's just a shortage. Not enough drivers, not enough qualified drivers in the industry right now."
Marty Hodge is the President of A-1 Interstate in Sparks. He's also driven trucks for eighteen years and knows the job's hardships can deter people from entering the industry.
For one, there's wages...in the 2000 recession, the average pay fell nine percent below that of construction workers.
Even for the truckers who are able to make ends meet on the road, there's still the lifestyle factor: many say it's it's just difficult to spend so much time away from home.
Trucker James Firpo, of South Carolina says, "The money's worth it, but the time you put into it, it's rough. That's why I tell anybody, if you've got a family, if you've got a woman at home, I'm not suggesting getting into it because it might make it difficult."
Many experts say that in order to increase the driver pool, the industry will need to tap into two under-represented demographics: women and minorities. Right now, women represent five percent of drivers, African-Americans, 12 percent, and Hispanics, ten percent."