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Truck driver shortage could be easing, enrollment up in local CDL classes

Posted at 11:18 AM, Mar 06, 2023
and last updated 2023-03-06 12:18:54-05

WACO, Texas — A nationwide truck driver shortage seems to be easing as truck driving schools in Central Texas are seeing enrollment numbers climb.

A report from the American Trucking Association shows the number of needed drivers dropped about 4 percent between 2021 and 2022.

The record need was set in 2021 at over 81,000 drivers. In 2022, that need was estimated to be around 78,000 drivers.

ATDS Truck Driving School in Waco is seeing classes fill up much faster than at the beginning of the pandemic, according to lead instructor Larry Scott.

"I see good things for the trucking industry. We're gonna get caught up. The trucking industry is still behind right now, but we're gonna get caught up," Scott said.

The easing shortage could ease some strain on the supply chain and have a limited impact on inflation.

"The potential for this to go down is good," Baylor University supply chain management professor Pedro Reyes said. "How much? Well, hopefully, we won't be paying six dollars and change for eggs this time of year."

Students cite increasing wages and a strong job market as reasons for obtaining a commercial driver's license.

"Even right here in Waco in our local area, there are all sorts of companies hiring," one ATDS student, Kris Smith, said.

Scott said enrollment in the next 4-week class is already full, and the next weekend cycle is also filling up quickly.