Garden State truck drivers in short supply

Now might be a good time to become a professional trucker.

Trucking companies in New Jersey are facing a shortage of qualified drivers.

The growing shortage of commercial truckers results in large part from tougher federal safety regulations, according to those in the industry.

Gail Toth with the New Jersey Motor Truck Association says younger people are also reluctant to become long-distance truckers.

“There is a lot more sense and base of family and wanting to be home watching the kids play in their sports,” Toth said. “So it’s a very difficult job to make that decision to go on the road.”

Toth says trucking companies prefer to hire people with years of commercial driving experience.

But the economy is causing an increase in enrollment at training schools.

“A lot of our students have been laid off in their previous profession and there’s not a big demand for their jobs,” said Elizabeth Slocum, the owner of Superior Driving School in Toms River.

“They need to change their careers. This is a very easy career change.”

The average annual salary for a professional trucker in New Jersey is $45,000.

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