ANDERSON, Ind. — The truck driver shortage that’s happening around Indiana, and the country, has a direct affect on you and your everyday life.
Jessica Warnke is the president and CEO of Carter Logistics in Anderson. They’re a trucking company that specializes in transferring automotive parts across the United States. She says the truck driver shortage plays a role in what you can find at your local store, and how much you pay for it.
“This driver shortage is not an industry issue, it is an issue for everyone,” she said. “It’s going to increase costs for all of the products that we haul.”
“You’re going to notice things on the shelves you can’t get, or that’s not being refilled, and it’s directed right at our industry shortage,” Warnke said.
That could impact your holiday plans as well, as Warnke said she doesn’t expect this to be fixed anytime soon.
It’s not just grocery stores where you’re seeing a difference. Carter Logistics specializes in transporting automotive parts. Warnke says the truck driver shortage, mixed in with the parts and labor shortage, is putting a damper on the auto industry.
“When you want to go buy a new car, and there’s no inventory on the lot, part of that is driven by the driver shortage,” she said.
LISTEN TO THE FULL INTERVIEW WITH JESSICA WARNKE:
This isn’t anything new. Warnke says there was a truck driver shortage even before the pandemic started, but she says the pandemic just made things way worse.
“We had a portion of our ‘baby boomers’ that were driving for us, about 65 percent, retired during the pandemic,” Warnke said. “And we can’t bring people into the industry fast enough, and the pandemic closed down a lot of the driving schools, or severely reduced their numbers.”
However, Warnke says President Biden’s infrastructure bill could help, as it has a portion that focuses on a new Commercial Vehicle Driver program for 18-20 year olds.
“And what that’s going to do is give us the ability to start talking to students that are coming out of high school about becoming a truck driver,” she said.
She adds that it will be a “very safe program” that includes extra hours of driving with supervision and technology that helps the new young drivers.