The American Trucking Associations (ATA) estimates that America is short 30,000 truck drivers. Reasons for this include strict regulations, meager wages, and young people’s dwindling attraction to life on the road.
According to the ATA, ninety percent of carriers couldn’t find enough drivers that met the Department of Transportation’s stringent requirements. Furthermore, the industry’s staggering turnover rate of 91% presents a myriad of problems for carriers and consumers alike.
Many carriers both large and small did not survive the recession. Banks were skeptical to lend money to companies, denying carriers and drivers credit to start and sustain their businesses. Because of the shaky industry situation, many former drivers opted to search for a different line of work, most of which allowed them to spend more time with their families. Therefore, when the economy improved, the trucking industry did not see a huge resurgence to the workforce because people preferred to be home rather than on the road.
Yet another issue affecting the shortage is the government’s involvement in the industry. –The regulated driver screening program expels seven percent of truck drivers for causing Compliance Safety Accountability problems. Though the fraction of drivers isn’t removed overnight, it is still a staggering statistic contributing to the dwindling field.
The truck driver shortage is expected to grow to 239,000 by the year 2022. According to the ATA, the industry needs about 100,000 new drivers each year over the next decade. Still, trucking seems to be a buyers’ market as carriers offer better wages and working conditions to try and get more drivers behind the wheel.