This winter, the snowplow drivers’ lack has resulted in American drivers’ trapping and delays on snowy boulevards.
Associated Press reported that a winter storm has started sweeping across the country as of Friday, pouring snow from the Intermountain West to the Upper Great Lakes.
Significant storms will force some roads and mountains to close longer than usual in Washington, and roads will not obtain the equivalent service level.
Several states, including Colorado, part of Nebraska and Lowa, Nevada, New Mexico, and Northern California, are forecasted to be affected by the storms.
Many states from Washington to Pennsylvania, and even Montana and Wyoming in the Rocky Mountains are struggling to search for employees who willingly apply for a low-salary position in risky conditions that demand weird working hours and a Commercial Driver’s License.
Furthermore, even if new-hire drivers with commercial licenses are available, they still require time for training, The Associated Press reported.
Washington has claimed a shortage of nearly 150 seasonal and full-time workers, which appeared substantially better than a shortage of 300 workers in October.
Pennsylvania has a worse situation with 270 permanent, and 560 temporary vacancies reported.
Jon Swartz, the Montana Department of Transportation’s maintenance administrator, said:
“We want the traveling public to understand why it could take longer this season to clear highways during winter storms.”
He added: “Knowing this helps motorists to plan ahead and adjust or even delay travel plans.”
According to Barbara LaBoe, Washington state’s Department of Transportation’s spokesperson, the causes behind the shortage vary, including low-rate unemployment ratio, aging workforce, and other manufacturing’s high-labor needs, known as diesel mechanics and CDL drivers.
Moreover, private firms appear more clever in issuing working policies involving salary increases and bonus offers, while state corporations require legislative permission for a salary change.
Besides, the state’s COVID-19 vaccine mandate is also considered as one among shortage causes, according to LaBoe. Washington is a remarkable example with 151 winter-operation-workers lost cases claimed.
The labor shortage has forced states to transfer from mechanics and other full-time workers having Commercial Driver’s Licenses into plows. The move, however, may result in an issue when plows require maintenance while the mechanics are unavailable.
Pennsylvania’s Department of Transportation, however, believes that the streets are still passable this winter.
According to Alexis Campbell, the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation’s spokesperson, they would attempt to maintain the roads safe and serviceable “rather than completely free of ice and snow.” She also confirmed a road clearance as soon as the snow ends.
Amid the severe human-resources shortage, snowplow drivers exhibit their devotion for their positions, realizing the positions’ significant importance to traveling public safety and emergency responders.