They’re a familiar sight on America’s open roads, in semi-trucks and big rigs with up to 18 wheels, cruising alongside cars and other vehicles. Better known as truckers, the drivers of these rolling behemoths make their presence known from afar with the honking of their horns. They serve the vital need of transporting goods along the busy commercial route of Interstate 5 (I-5), from San Diego, CA, through Myrtle Creek, OR, and to Ridgefield, WA and beyond.
Despite their seeming ubiquity, the number of truckers is dwindling. A recent story by WEAU 13 News reported that trucking companies need more people to fill vacancies left by retiring drivers. The U.S. Bureau of Labor and Statistics says that truckers have an average age of 48 years, which is getting higher as more drivers hit retirement. If this trend keeps up, it might create issues not just for trucking companies but also complementary businesses that depend on this industry for their income. These include companies involved in food service and mobile truck repair in Ridgefield, WA and elsewhere.
Compounding this issue, society appears to be turning away from the trucker lifestyle. Whether because they promise more money or perks, white-collar jobs now tend to attract more people, even though these require college degrees. It is believed that this trend is contributing to the slow decline in the number of employed truckers.
However, Andrew Axelson, a veteran driver, points out that trucking is also a great life. Apart from enjoying perks like honking horns and getting a view of the open road, Axelson told WEAU 13 News that a person starting out can make $40,000 a year. As such, trucking companies are addressing the issue by opening up to the younger generation. One trucking associate even believes the trend is a blessing in disguise because it is creating jobs for younger people.
Despite the conditions, industry professionals are optimistic that more young adults will fill the void created by retiring truckers. This should spell good news both for them and others involved in trucking. After all, more young and trained drivers mean more trucks will transport goods up and down the I-5. More big rigs and young truckers, in turn, may mean more business for complementary services like I-5 Truck, which provides mobile truck repair in Longview, WA and other areas in Washington and Oregon.