Demand for Drivers Brings Changes in Trucking Profession

By Stephanie Siegel
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katlawTractor-trailer drivers are in so much demand that shipping companies have made both the trucks and the lifestyles more comfortable, local truck driving instructors say.

The biggest trucking companies have tractor-trailers with automatic shifts, said Katlaw Driving Schools general manager Ed Tanksley.

“They’re big, comfortable trucks you can sit in and drive all day,” he said. “They’re new trucks, every two or three years, so it’s not going to be broke down on you all the time.”

And these are the companies that hire his graduates, because they carry enough insurance to hire entry-level drivers, he said.

katlaw“They’re knocking down the doors for our students,” Tanksley said. “There is zero unemployment in the truck driving industry for people willing to be gone a little bit. Most have six to 10 offers before they graduate. In the first year they typically make $40,000 with a full benefits package.”

While new drivers won’t be home every night, they usually will get home at least once a week — “more than they used to,” Tanksley said.

These are all reasons the career attracts more women than it traditionally did.

katlawKatlaw, near Austell’s Intermodal Terminal and Thornton Road, teaches women and men in three weeks to pass their commercial driver’s license test.

“The females are a lot of times better than the males are,” said Dave Belmont of Douglasville, a career adviser at Katlaw.

Sometimes a husband and wife decide to drive as a team, some after retiring from other careers, he said. They plan stops... Continue reading...