Recreation vehicle officials say a shortage of drivers to deliver RVs is the reason for growing backlog on manufacturers' lots in northern Indiana.
Dianne Farrell, vice president of government affairs with the Recreation Vehicle Industry Association, estimates 25,000 to 30,000 RVs are awaiting delivery because about 2,000 drivers are needed, The Elkhart Truth reported.
"It's costing us all a lot of money," Farrell said.
RV transport company representatives met Tuesday at the RV-MH Hall of Fame to discuss the problem. The RVIA is lobbying federal regulators to reduce the commercial driver's license requirements for hauling some types of RVs and has partnered with a job search website to try to find more drivers.
Dave Wilson, director of safety and compliance for Goshen-based Quality Drive Away and Foremost Transport, said retaining drivers is a big problem. Drivers need their own 1-ton pickup trucks, which can retail for more than $45,000, and often aren't paid enough to replace trucks after they have worn out.
Wilson said another challenge is that RV transport firms are competing with the trucking industry for drivers, who can keep their trailers fully loaded round trip. RV transport firms often only pay one-way.
Former Elkhart Mayor Dave Miller, now president of CWRV Transport, said dealers could help alleviate the shortage by treating drivers better. Many require drivers to wash an RV after arriving with it, make them wait several hours while it's inspected for problems, and make drivers keep RVs an extra night, or even over a weekend, if they arrive at a dealership after hours. As a result, some drivers refuse to transport to certain dealers, he said.