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August 29, 2016 4:00 AM, EDT

Editorial: CDL or Bust

This Editorial appears in the Aug. 29 print edition of Transport Topics. Click here to subscribe today.

For the last week, our collective eyes here at Transport Topics have been fixated on a school outside Louisville, Kentucky.

In a sense, we have created our version of a “reality” show, taking place at Truck America Training in the small town of Shepherdsville. While maybe not quite as glamorous as “Ice Road Truckers,” it is one that more accurately represents the everyday struggles of the potential truck drivers that are so sorely needed.

Through our CDL or Bust program (CDLorBust.com), we have witnessed seven students take their first steps toward becoming tomorrow’s truck drivers. They come from varied backgrounds — and held a wide range of jobs prior to arriving at this school.

We’ve already seen that the hurdles everyday people face in trying to become truck drivers in today’s busy world can be significant. In fact, for one prospective student, the attempt never got off the ground because the applicant was unable to complete a loan approval process in time to pay the $4,000 for the course. Several others who did apply failed to meet all of the requirements in time to be admitted. And one who was prepared to get started was not able to because the results of a Department of Transportation physical exam were not received before the deadline.

While those people may have a chance to kick off their truck driving careers again in a matter of weeks, for the seven with one week under their belts, the potential hurdles are just beginning.

We’ve already seen them hit the books in the classroom and get behind the wheel to begin learning the complex tasks of driving a truck safely on our nation’s highways.

There are more challenges ahead in the remaining days — and history says not all seven who started the program will go on to become veteran truck drivers.

We hope this program can help provide a glimpse into the world of training schools. Additionally, and possibly more importantly, it can provide a firsthand look at the special men and women who want to head out on the open road to deliver freight.

At TT, we hope that one day we will see many of these seven go on to receive safe-driving honors from their company, or even compete in the National Truck Driving Championships.

But those lofty goals will have to wait. For now, we wish continued good luck to these students.