A county in Washington is blaming this year’s snow plow operator shortage on changing FMCSA regulations and CDL holders finding better paying jobs elsewhere. 

Typically, Whatcom County Public Works in Washington state would recruit 54 trained CDL holders for emergency work, which includes snow plow operations. This year, the county says that they are limited to 40 employees with “sufficient training and licenses to perform this work.” 

“Several factors have contributed to this shortage, including the booming construction economy placing a premium on equipment operator jobs, experienced workers retiring, recent FMCSA (Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration) regulation changes that impacted County processes and ability to acquire CDL licensing, and the pandemic limiting CDL training opportunities for staff,” the Public Works department said, reported Fox 13 Seattle.

As a result, Public Works is warning residents to prepare contingency plans in case certain roads go unplowed this year. The department says plowing secondary roads may take longer due to the lack of operators.

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