Retiring truck drivers could cost consumers
PADUCAH, KY- It is Tuesday afternoon at H.T. Hackney and Tony Bastida is finishing up for the day.
He is loading a few cardboard boxes containing cigarettes onto a dolly before clocking out for the day. Bastida is one of 18 drivers at H.T. Hackney sharing the responsibility of 450 weekly deliveries.
Currently, the distribution center is short-staffed.
"There's not as many out there, it's harder to get drivers," Bastida, who has nearly 30 years experience behind the wheel, said.
"It really is a tough lifestyle," Tom Adams, with Murray-based Paschall Trucking admitted.
Adams says life on the road, away from family keeps many from applying. Now, as more than 100,000 baby boomers drivers eye retirement, things will only be harder.
That retirement has the American Transportation Association anticipating 111,000 drivers will be off the roads by 2014.
"There will be a real shortage," Adams said, adding it has always been difficult to find and retain good drivers.
At Paschall, drivers make up to 46 cents a mile. That is considered a good wage in the industry, but Adams says it is not good enough. In order to keep and attract new drivers, that wage could be driven up 20 percent.
"The clothes you're wearing, the food you're eating today, the desk you might sit behind was at some point touched by a truck. The price will be passed on to shippers and it will eventually be passed onto the consumer," he predicted of many places raising prices.
Back at HT Hackney, Bastida is not so much worried about consumers, but co-workers and the lack of them.
"You gotta get it to where its going, you gotta have a truck driver to get it there."
Several trucking companies have anticipated this huge wave of retirements, so they have tried to prepare. Currently veteran drivers like Bastida are being paired with younger drivers to get them some valuable experience before hitting the road.