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Truckers face bumps in the road amidst staffing shortages

Published: May. 21, 2022 at 6:33 PM CDT
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APPLETON, Wis. (WBAY) - When the pandemic hit in 2020, and many industries were forced to stop, truck drivers didn’t.

The president of the Wisconsin Motor Carriers Association, Neal Kedzie, says semi-truck drivers have been through a lot during the pandemic, as essential workers, now facing supply chain issues, high gas prices and driver shortages.

“Trucking delivers over 72% of all goods in the entire country. We also have a lack of drivers. Pre-pandemic, nationwide, we were about 60,000 short. Today we’re about 80,000 across the country. Wisconsin has about 3,000 plus openings for drivers,” says Kedzie.

While truck drivers put their skills to the test every day throughout the United States, 66 of them from Wisconsin put their safety skills to the test at the annual Truck Driving Championship at Fox Valley Technical College.

“These are individuals that have driven millions of miles in most cases, accident-free, with careers that span decades,” says Kedzie.

Event organizers say there’s been a push to get more women in the trucking industry to accommodate for the shortage of drivers.

“We’re try to get them more involved because there’s still only 10% of women out in this industry. So it’s still a male-dominated industry. Us women, we’re coming along,” says Carmen Anderson, professional driver, America’s Service Line LLC.

The champions from Saturday’s event will then go onto the National Truck Driving Championship in Indianapolis in August.

But until then, it’s back on the road fueling America’s economy.

“We strive to have the best drivers on the road, because we share the road,” says Kedzie.

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