The Florida Trucking Association is helping celebrate this National Truck Driver Appreciation Week.
The annual event, which runs Sunday to Saturday, is taking on particular significance this year, as global supply chain issues continue to highlight the importance of the trucking industry.
“About 85% of Florida communities depend exclusively on trucks to move their goods; nearly everything we depend on for daily life is made possible by our nation’s professional truck drivers,” said Alix Miller, president and CEO of Florida Trucking Association.
“National Truck Driver Appreciation Week is an important time to thank professional truck drivers for their hard work and dedication in undertaking one of our economy’s most critical jobs.”
There are more than 3.6 million professional truck drivers nationwide, with more than 500,000 commercial driver’s license holders in Florida. Truckers deliver goods and products from food to fuel to medicine to clothing. They transport more than 10 billion tons of goods and products every year, which accounts for 70% of the nation’s total annual freight.
The Florida Trucking Association has promoted and protected the state’s trucking industry for nearly 90 years. FTA is the sole state liaison between the trucking industry and the legislative, regulatory and judicial branches of state and federal government.
In October 2021, the American Trucking Association reported that the shortage of truck drivers had grown to 80,000, an all-time high for the industry. The organization estimates the shortage could surpass 160,000 by 2030.
“A thing to note about the shortage is that before the pandemic, we were adding drivers to the industry — even though we had a shortage, more people were entering the industry,” ATA Chief Economist Bob Costello said. “The issue is that new entrants into the industry didn’t keep up with demand for goods.”
Gov. Ron DeSantis has made a point to boost Florida’s trucking industry. The Governor’s Office has awarded millions for truck driving education, including $3.2 million last year for the Florida State College at Jacksonville to support 120 trucking graduates a year.