PITTSBURGH - We rely on PennDOT drivers to keep the roads clear during the winter snow months, but Target 11 has learned the state is facing a driver shortage that could impact you this winter.
Some PennDOT workers sounded the alarm to Target 11's Rick Earle, telling him they don't know if they'll have enough drivers to cover the roads this upcoming season.
In Uniontown and Greensburg, there are flashing message boards letting all drivers know that PennDOT is hiring winter truck drivers.
Joe Szczur is the PennDOT executive in Southwestern Pennsylvaniam and he says the signs are needed.
"We have enough drivers now but we need more," Szczur said.
Every winter, his district relies heavily on temporary drivers to cover shifts. Right now, they're desperately looking for 13 drivers in Greene, 20 in Washington, 32 in Fayette and 38 in Westmoreland county. He says they faced similar shortages last year.
"It caused a lot of sleepless nights last year because at any one time we only had about 67 hired," Szczur said.
They wanted 100 people on staff.
"It makes a long winter that much longer," he continued.
The intense competition from UPS, FedEx and the Marcellus Shale industry have made it more difficult to attract drivers.
PennDOT says it is trying to be creative and imaginative with ways to attract not only qualified operators but people who want to stay in the positions. The agency has taken to social media, tweeting out ads for drivers. They've even attended job fairs.
Target 11's Rick Earle asked if the salary is keeping candidates away.
"We could always pay more," Szczur said. "They get their foot in the door to get a permanent job."
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