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Tucson truck companies searching for drivers

TUCSON- If you're looking for a job, and you don't mind being on the road then here's some good news. Here in Tucson and across the country truck companies are searching for drivers.

It's a job that can take you on the road for weeks at a time and it seems less people are willing to make the sacrifice these days.

"It's not easy, it's hard on the family guy," says Douglas Prall, who owns HDS Trucking and operates a trucking school in Tucson.

Over the past couple of years he has also opened schools in Yuma and Phoenix, in anticipation of what is now a nationwide truck driver shortage. "If we had 20 drivers, we could put them to work today," Prall says.

Prall says the shortage is based on a few factors. They include baby boomers now retiring, a new law that places tougher standards on driving records and it's not your conventional job.

It's bad news for CTI Trucking Inc., based in Marana.

"We've been looking in areas near Benson, Safford, Tucson, Phoenix, Flagstaff, we're hiring everywhere," Senior VP Tom Jones says.

Jones says CTI currently has about 300 drivers, but could use 50 more. "We have more requests for demands of loads for deliveries than we can accept," Jones says.

The shortage is forcing companies to get creative. CTI offers to pay for trucking school, if the driver stays with them for a period of time. It can cost anwhere from $4,000 to $8,000.

They're also developing their marketing strategy. "We're advertising everywhere, billboards, anything we can do," Jones says.

"We hold open houses every other Saturday, where potential drivers can talk to recruiters," Prall says.

They know they have a long road ahead of them, but hope their efforts will bring people back to the industry.

The average salary for a truck driver in the first year is $35,000, but Prall says the pay is increasing to attract more applicants.