KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — According to people in the trucking industry, supply chain issues across the country are partly due to a shortage of drivers. Like many industries, commercial truck driving needs workers.

Robert Toliver, training manager and head commercial driver’s license tester at the Tennessee Truck Driving School, said business is steady.

He said most of the new drivers-in-training have jobs in hand before they even start the school.

“Companies that we work with are taking a chance on people,” Toliver said.

Toliver said his company’s goal is to teach drivers the basics. When drivers leave their school, they’re ready to start training with whichever company they’ll drive for.

“We have to have 165 hours. Anything after that is just fine-tuning and more training,” Toliver said. “It’s designed for people who’ve never been around a truck, have no clue. Have never backed a single thing. That’s how we designed it.”

His program takes at least six weeks.

It’s companies like Skyline Transportation, Inc. who send future drivers to the school so they can have more employees on the road. They are short drivers right now.

Rick Arnold, the director of safety at Skyline, said they’re down about 10 to 12 trucks at any given time. He said without drivers transporting loads across the country, every other business would be impacted.

“Everything around you is moved by truck at one point or another,” Arnold said. “So, think about that. Whether you’re in an office or you’re standing outside building materials. Anything you see has been on a truck at some point.”

Arnold and Toliver said drivers are hauling more loads, which means more drivers need to be on the roads.

“If you’ve ever gone to a grocery store lately, and seeing a lot of empty shelves, (it’s) because we just don’t have enough drivers to haul the freight,” Toliver said.

Arnold said another reason why there aren’t enough trucks on the road to transport items where they need to go is because trucks break down and they can’t get the parts to fix them.

“Again, all those parts are shipped by truck at some point and come from overseas, a lot of them, a chip, different components. So we can’t get those components to get our trucks back on the road,” Arnold said.

Drivers retiring is also causing a shortage of trucks on the road, according to Arnold and Toliver.

“The trucking industry is really hurting because we have a lot of old timers, older experienced drivers that are retiring,” Toliver said. “There’s a lot of demand for it because we don’t have the drivers to take their place.”

To fill in more positions, Arnold said Skyline not only pays for drivers to attend school, but they also try to be upfront about what the drivers would be getting into.

He said a trucking lifestyle can be a tough one.

“You’re relying on truck stops for facilities, like laundry and showers, and restrooms,” Arnold said. “Even though our trucks can have refrigerators, beds, microwave and a TV in all of them … it’s a tough lifestyle. Plus, you’re away from your family, except for the time period on the weekend.”

His company transports for weeklong trips and drivers are home on the weekends.

To make the journeys more enjoyable, they allow some pets.

Toliver said the trucking industry has changed over the years. He said now, after at least six months of experience, drivers can find companies with schedules allowing them to stay home whenever they want. Whether that be every night, every week or every few months.