The current truck driver shortage has risen to 80,000 – an all-time high for the industry, according to the American Trucking Association.

Increased demand for freight, pandemic-related challenges from early retirements, closed driving schools and DMVs, as well as other pressures, are said to be pushing up demand for drivers and subsequently the shortage.

In a one-page summary on the situation, American Trucking Associations’ Chief Economist Bob Costello predicts that the shortage could surpass 160,000 in 2030.

“Because there are a number of factors driving the shortage, we have to take a number of different approaches,” Costello said. “The industry is raising pay at five times the historic average, but this isn’t just a pay issue. We have an aging workforce, a workforce that is overwhelmingly male and finding ways to address those issues is key to narrowing the shortage.

“Companies are doing more and more to address some of the structural lifestyle issues that have traditionally been a challenge for truck drivers,” he said. “So, by finding ways to let younger people enter the industry like the Drive-SAFE Act, reaching out to women and minorities, will open this career path – one of the few with a path to a middle class lifestyle that doesn’t require a college degree – we can put a significant dent in the shortage.”