Truck driver shortage impacting local businesses

YAKIMA, Wash. -- Jason Lee has been a truck driver for almost 30 years. He wouldn't think of doing anything else.

"You're kind of your own boss. You're not stuck in an office; you don't have a boss breathing down your neck. You get to see a lot of scenery; you get to meet a lot of people," said Jason Lee.

And Jason's tenure and experience is in high demand. The American Trucking Association says there's a national truck driver shortage of about 25,000. And local companies, like Haney Truck Line, are feeling it. They have 23 empty trucks.

"It's really, really hard because drivers who have a CDL currently could resign from Haney today and probably be driving for someone else tomorrow," said Peter Carlander, Haney Truck Line president.

Finding qualified drivers is the issue. You first need a clean driving record and a clean drug test. After that, it's a matter of getting a Commercial Driver's License. Those can cost up to six thousand dollars. Washington State also requires 160 training hours.

On top of that, it's not the easiest job.

"There's some tough parts about it with winter driving, long hours, being out of town, being away from your family," said Jason.

But it's a job that's needed, especially to haul agriculture loads from our valley. Haney says drivers can make up to $58,000 a year, depending on experience. But with a short supply and a high demand, that's only expected to increase.

If you'd like to get into the business, Haney Trucking is having a job fair Thursday. Managers will interview applicants there so bring a resume. The company says it will be hiring for drivers, dispatchers, billing clerks and shop technicians.