Plow driver shortages could potentially impact snow removal this winter

You’ve probably heard about all kinds of driver shortages currently impacting daily life from truck drivers to delivery drivers to school bus drivers. And with winter setting in, it appears as though plow driver shortages may become a problem too.

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So much so, it’s going to impact snow removal in Frederick County and potentially in other jurisdictions too.

"It’ll take longer to complete the process this year than it has in the past," explained Frederick County Highway Operations Superintendent Mike Ramsburg. "Highway operation is funded for 100 full-time employees, and we’ve been running, like I said, between 80 and 85 for the last year and a half."

Ramsburg added that the shortage wasn’t as noticeable last winter when fewer people were out on the roads, but now that many people are back at work and children are back in schools, it’s a different story.

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As a result, officials are telling Frederick County residents that while roads will be treated before winter weather hits and roads will be cleared after, it may take longer than usual to get the jobs done.

The county is offering $17.69 for entry-level drivers with a commercial driver’s license, according to Ramsburg.

"There just aren’t enough truck drivers to go around right now and typically government has a very difficult time competing with private industry," he told FOX 5 on Wednesday. "With the shortage of truck drivers, it’s easy for a large corporation to offer a signing bonus and a much higher salary, even though that may only be for a short period of time, and they hire people who we would like to hire, or they hire current employees away from us."


Some other agencies appear to be having more luck. Officials at both the Maryland Department of Transportation and the Virginia Department of Transportation said their staffing levels are sufficient.