Load up on information about truck driving

By: Eric Czarnik | C&G Newspapers | Published June 1, 2015

 There is an industry-wide driver shortage, so most companies are fighting to hire drivers

There is an industry-wide driver shortage, so most companies are fighting to hire drivers

If you’re getting ready for the long haul about a career in truck driving, a local truck driving school says businesses are welcoming new talent.

Mike Arrigo, executive administrative assistant at Class ‘A’ Training Center in Romeo, said the truck driving industry still has a heavy demand for hires.  He said an entry-level truck driving position often gives employees a salary between $40,000 and $60,000, and wages may climb depending on experience and the number of routes.

“There is a driver shortage pretty much industry-wide, so most companies are fighting to hire drivers,” he said.

According to Arrigo, truck driving schools have a wide range of instructional styles, but he said Class ‘A’ and its truck driving school offer a course that lasts about four weeks, or 160 hours, that offers instructional time on the road and with a simulator.

Arrigo said the program is meant for people who have no experience driving big rigs. He said the school tries to work with students to make the classes affordable.

A commercial driver’s license, or CDL, may come in A, B, or C classes — and depending on the class, they allow people to drive vehicles such as big rigs, dump trucks or city buses, according to Michigan Department of State spokesman Fred Woodhams. Truckers who operate tractor-trailers go through the process to get an A-class CDL license, he said.

According to the Michigan Department of State, as of May 3, 257,150 people in the state held a commercial driver’s license. Of that total, 183,403 people hold class A licenses, 69,055 hold class B ones and 4,692 hold class C ones.

The Department of State’s website adds that individuals who are “(o)perating motor homes or other vehicles used exclusively to transport personal possessions or family members, for non-business purposes” do not have to get a CDL to do that.

Although a class is not officially required to get a CDL, the driver needs to pass written and driving exams, and courses can help train people in those areas.

“You have to have a pretty strong safety record as far as your driving record is concerned,” Arrigo explained, adding that drug or alcohol citations are especially not tolerated.

Arrigo said truck drivers have to abide by stricter driving regulations than typical auto drivers. Also, many big trucks operate by manual transmission, though he said some newer vehicles have automatic transmissions.

Learn more about Class ‘A’ Training Center in Romeo by visiting www.cdlatraining.com or by calling (586) 281-0150. Learn more about the Michigan Department of State by visiting www.michigan.gov/sos.