By ALEX CORREA
In the United States, we heavily rely on the trucking industry for almost every product you could possibly imagine. From what ends up on our plates to what ends up under Christmas trees, chances are the trucking industry is responsible for its arrival to your home. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the trucking industry is facing a shortage of drivers. According to the American Trucking Association, we are about 80,000 drivers short this year. This creates a huge concern for the upcoming holiday season, as delays in delivery could mean that gifts for friends and family will arrive after the holiday season has already passed.
Some may wonder why we are facing such a large shortage, along with what long term effects we will be facing because of it. Well, to answer this question in simple terms, we can look to the American Trucking Association. According to the ATA, several things are making it harder for the United States to have enough drivers to cater to the large demand.
-Many drivers in the industry are becoming too old to continue working. Retirement rates in the trucking industry are increasing rapidly.
-Female drivers only make up around 7% of the trucking industry. This leaves them underrepresented, which keeps many women away from joining the workforce.
-Legalization of marijuana in several states is allowing for more drivers to access it. This means less drivers are passing their mandated drug tests, keeping them off the road.
-There is a federal mandated minimum of being at least 21 years old to drive commercially, meaning that young people are not joining the trucking industry before they have other opportunities presented to them.
-The COVID-19 pandemic has forced many drivers to stay off the roads due to their own medical circumstances.
All of these problems are not permitting the industry to keep growing with the rising demand, which is especially high due to the increase in online shopping over the recent pandemic. It is speculated that the shortage of drivers will continue to exponentially increase over the next few years, meaning that if these issues continue, delay will persist and worsen.
All of this information makes many people wonder what they can do to avoid missing out on gifts for the upcoming holiday season. The best way to ensure that your gifts will arrive on time is to order them now. With the delays we are experiencing now, ordering in advance is the only way to ensure that your packages will be delivered before the holiday season. The shortage of drivers is at an all time high, so waiting to order could be detrimental to your holiday season.