Across America, trucking companies are dealing with a driver shortage, and with the aging workforce, not as many people are getting into the truck driving industry. According to the American Trucking Association, the truck driver shortage has reached 80,000 drivers and will only continue to grow. With an estimated 70% of America’s freight moving by truck and fewer and fewer people looking at a career in truck driving the competition for the available driver has become very competitive.
Factors that Contributed to the Driver Shortage
There are a few factors that play a big role in the current driver shortage. This is a small list, but the most powerful in today’s situation.
During the height of the Covid shut down, even though the trucking industry was classified as an essential job the drivers on the road faced many difficulties. With labor shortages at shippers and receivers, the loading and unloading times greatly increased along with the health risks the drivers faced going into unfamiliar situations to secure their loads. It was not only the health risks but while on the road the options to find a home-cooked meal or a hot shower greatly decreased. All of these factors contributed to drivers retiring early. Also, during the Covid shut down most driving schools were closed. With the drivers who were retiring early rather than facing the current hardships of the road, there were very few new drivers coming into the workforce.
CDL Age Restrictions
Another factor may be an age restriction. Once a person graduates high school and enters the workforce around the age of 18, even if they are interested in a truck driving career they would typically have to wait until the age of 21 to start driving. By this time even though they may have been interested in driving they may already have a good job and do not want to leave their current job to pursue a truck driving position.
Long Hours & Pay Incentives
Truck driving is not a job for everyone with the long hours and the sometimes weeks away from home, not to mention that drivers are paid by the mile or earn a percentage of the revenue, so time wasted at shippers for loading and unloading is just the free time the driver does not get paid for.
At the end of the day trying to find places to park and the increased federal regulations help fuel the driver’s frustrations and they just don’t stay in the industry. The ones that do and want to take the next step and become owner-operators are now facing increased difficulties in obtaining their own truck with the chip shortage and the cost and availability of used trucks.
With few options to further their driving career drivers are quitting and taking jobs where they do not have to be away from home for weeks at a time and can make close to if not more money than they currently are.
These are just some of the factors that help contribute to the driver shortage and until all of the factors are looked at the driver shortage will continue to grow.
If you are an owner-operator, come lease on with stability, driver bonuses, great pay, and initiatives where you are appreciated for your time and effort.