Truck Driver

Truck Driver Shortage

Charles Popick Newsletter

CPC Editorial on Surge in Driver Pilfering by Competing Trucking Firms

Trucker shortage, trucker shortage!! That seems to be the outcry since the middle 1990s, and it keeps being repeated year after year. Is there really any truth to the statement? There are always two sides to a story and we will examine this below.

Well, there was an actual shortage in 2018 when the supply of drivers fell behind the increased industry freight volumes. Representing the trucking company owners, the American Trucking Associations (ATA) lamented the lack of at least 50,000 truck drivers, and said they will need about 18 times more drivers in the next six years. They also complained about high turnover rate.

However, if you talk to truck drivers they will tell you there is no shortage. They attribute the alleged shortage mostly to “Compensation.”

  • Driver salaries have not increased significantly in the past years, and in some cases have remained stagnant.
  • Most are not happy about their actual mileage rate, and/or how it is calculated.
  • They are mostly not compensated for the idle time while waiting for the customer or dispatch.
  • The difference in pay when a driver is caught in traffic jam versus normal freeway traffic speed affects take home pay.

While a lot of drivers are retiring due to old age, a closer look at the high turnover rate shows that some of the data reflects drivers leaving one carrier for another for better pay. Driver pilfering is very common in the industry and the “retiring” statistic is convoluted with driver turnover.

Studies have shown that there are thousands of people with a Commercial Driver’s License. However, due to the low pay, the risk and responsibility for safety, they have decided to seek jobs in other sectors.

With ATA projecting almost 900,000 drivers needed in the next six years, an increased salary across the industry will attract a lot of drivers. It will help retain those drivers already in the industry and bring in new ones too.

Being a trucker takes a heavy toll on a drivers’ family; When drivers are adequately compensated, it will make the sacrifices worthwhile. If not, they will move to seek employment elsewhere or to another sector that keeps them closer to their family.

Lastly, government regulation limiting the number of driver hours means more drivers are needed to keep up with the expanding economy.  CPC can help a shipper navigate the everchanging landscape with drivers to ensure there is balance with capacity and price.  Contact CPC today for your free assessment.

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