The ATA Thinks Retirement Is Causing Driver Shortage


The ATA has long bemoaned the “driver shortage” that has left many rigs at major trucking companies sitting empty in a lot rather than hauling freight. According to the ATA in less than a decade the industry will be short approximately 300,000 drivers. While they acknowledge that this may be due in part to issues like CSA changes and Hours of Service regulation, they claim that two-thirds of the shortage will be caused by new industry growth and retirement.

“On average, trucking will need to recruit nearly 100,000 new drivers every year to keep up with demand for drivers, with nearly two-thirds of the need coming from industry growth and retirements,” said Bob Costello, the chief economist at the ATA.

Despite the ATA’s assertions that factors outside of their control are what’s causing a shortage of drivers, other experts seem to disagree. According to them, pay, equipment quality, and benefits like health services – all of which are controlled by carriers – would go a long way towards keeping drivers in their seats.

Dave Ross, managing director of the global transportation and logistics research group Stifel Nicolaus & Co, said that it is a question of pure economics. “If you pay them more money, you will get more drivers,” he said. “Our contention is that the driver pay right now for the industry is so far below market that a drastic increase is needed in order to attract anybody new. Increasing pay 5% is not going to solve anything. We think that driver pay needs to go up 40%-50% from where it is today to really attract anybody new into the industry.”

On top of the fact that better equipment quality is necessary for maintaining the safety of the driver on the road, Tyler LaBarge also points out that “trucks are in essence [truckers’] home on the road and so the better accommodations they have, the better they will feel.”


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Source: fleetowner

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151 comments. Add a comment.

  1. roadtoad says

    I think the ATA is just in denial. They will do anything BUT increase driver pay and benefits. You ask someone to stay weeks… Even months at a time away from home and only make $1,000/week? Then they wonder why they can’t attract/keep any drivers. What a joke. Go join the Navy if you don’t want to be at home. At least you get decent pay, benefits, and they feed you three times a day.

    • Keith says

      $1000.00 a week? Hell most drivers would stick around for that. Unfortunately most drivers have been snake oiled into a lease and they are back to 1985 wages of $400.00 a week. One of the best ever inventions of the ATA. and still paying pre 9-11 wages without the post 9-11 costs.

    • says

      $1000 per week ?? Most company Drivers make A LOT less than that !! At my last job, they had no problem with giving me paychecks quite often of $175 – $350 take home pay !! I warned them that I wasn’t going to tolerate it much longer and was going to quit soon, they didn’t care !! They continued to let me sit, not reimburse me for scales, not pay me for Detention or Breakdown delays, etc. I quit a month ago and I’m NOT going out OTR again !!! I have 8 years experience and company after company has paid me WAY TOO LITTLE as they get rich !! The companies screw the Driver at every turn of the wheel and they don’t care when you complain or quit ! There is NO DRIVER SHORTAGE , just a shortage of Driver fair treatment, communication on the company’s part, a shortage of pay, a shortage of benefits, and a shortage of respect towards Drivers from companies !! Companies discard Drivers like trash and keep their revolving door turning !!

      • smkedbacon says

        I lost my house in a fire in 1979. My uncle who had retired from Matlack (Pipe Line on Wheels) gave me one of his old work shirts that had a pay stub in it. Dated in 1973 I calculated he was making $36K a year in 1973! Now 40 years later your lucky to even make that! In 2000 I was driving at 40 cents per mile all miles, ( yeo bob tailed from Iowa to Florida paid every mile!) labor at $12.50 when setting up the units I hauled. Only problem to get great pay you had to run Ohio to Florida solo non stop! Na that spelled an accident and I left them.
        My CDL is clean but until the companies pay a living wage, understand the law and run in accordance with the law ,I will not drive on food stamps and spend time in jail for their profit!

  2. Brian White says

    I disagree with the ATA. While retirements and the like are a factor, I submit that the major cause of the driver ‘shortage’ is, and will continue to be, the over zealous HOS rules and regulations coming from Wachington.

    Since when does the ATA care about the reasons hiring qualified drivers is so tough?

    What the ATA cares about are the mega carriers and how THOSE companies are doing.

    Why isn’t the ATA advocating for freight rate regulation? The mega carriers are able to undercut rates in an area served well by smaller independent owner operators. That does nothing but drive the O/O out of business, creating fewer choices for the consumer.

    A return to regulated freight rates would ensure the consumer has choices, the mega carriers don’t have an unfair advantage, and all freight haulers would compete more on customer service rather than cutting each others throats.

    • Dave says

      What everybody fails to see and address is the fact that the big companies want the o/o out of business so they can hire them as company drivers to serve them and take over all work.

      • YeOldeDave says

        I’ve heard that same tired arguement for years and it’s still as ridiculous as ever.

        If carriers can convince folks to haul freight with their own trucks for less then their own costs, take all the financial risks, have the responsibility for ALL employee costs and issues, why on earth would they be looking to eliminate the folks that are willing to do that? That premise is plain nuts.

    • hottrod says

      Biggest reasons I retired is because of the elimination of the split break, the low pay for owner-operators last year and the 2010 regulations. Trucking has not paid well ever since deregulation in 1981 kicked in.

    • Ward Bail says

      driver shortages, regulations, state and local regulations and other commercial red tape does nothing to control shortages, or even contribute to shortages of drivers in the industry. Driver conditions like pay, late pay, living conditions, treatment by customers, and the lack driver communication between each other.

      In the last 30 years I’ noticed a separation of class between the truck owner and the driver. Drivers have become a warm body rather than a specialized equipment operator. Drivers use associations as crying boards rather than lobby’s.

      If we all want higher pay, better treatment and acceptable conditions to attract professional driver class one thin and only one thing will do this. A driver association with real unity and compliance.(not a union) . A virtual place (online meeting hall) to hash out ideas and institute real changes creating some muscle for demanding change. creating regulations limiting broker fees (non commission, regulated cuts), and fair treatment by customers.

      the bottom line is why would anyone want to be treated the way we are now. there is your shortage.

    • David says

      Retirements are not causing the driver shortage, there are plenty of good drivers coming out of the many driving schools and once hired and properly trained, trucking companies can work them in to their operations and have very good drivers for many years. The real reasons are driver pay and over regulation. I have worked for several carriers and the OTR drivers are not able to make a decent living. Many Truckload companies only give their drivers enough miles to make $500/$600 per week. The real culprit here is our liberal government. They have been trying to make this country a dependency state for many years and what better way to do that than to interrupt the best distribution system in the history of the world. Carriers are regulated to the point their drivers can’t drive a far shift, so many regulations that it is not worth the hassle to be a driver any longer, much less not being able to make a decent living at driving. When the Transportation Industry is regulated to the point of unprofitability, manufacturers can’t get their product from point A to B to C/D, etc. and go out of business. Then the country will become depend upon the self-serving bastards they elect to congress and the presidency. Expecting the entitlements that are promised but can’t be paid for. Then only can this great country become a socialist state and the third world country they are striving for. Not to mention the ass kissing liberal media and all the special interest groups that supports every crippling regulation subjected on the Transportation Industry. The only way to stop the driver shortage is at the ballet box, vote out all these self-serving bastards and demand term limits. Only when we can get people in congress and in the presidents chair that will care about the country and it’s welfare, instead of their own sorry ass’s, will we be able to constructively solve the driver shortage and the many other ill’s of this country.

      • Joe Skeptical says

        It’s more basic. Drivers quit because they quickly discover – like I did – the conditions and pay don’t match up, not even close. The “shortage” of drivers means steady, regular demand from shippers; that keeps the freight rates up. So the trucking companies churn through new, inexpensive drivers using them as “team drivers” until they get fed up with the fake logs, 16-18 hour days 7 days/week, “trainers” who don’t give a RIP about training – what trainers want is mileage courtesy the “trainee”.
        Don’t like it? Good bye…!

  3. michael says

    Have to agree with ‘all comments above”. The industry is creating their own shortage thereby driving all freight rates up at our expense! Apparently shiny new equipment investment is more important than getting The Job Done having driven on and off for thirty years the entire industry is in horrible shambles “DOT compliance” for me means STAYING HOME workin’ for McDonalds!

    • michael says

      And why drive a truck when one can join the military and kill innocent women and children in Syria instead? MUCH MORE EXCITING!

      • Steve Bell says

        Your disrespect of the Vets is obscene…

        Trolls should be in internment camps ….You have no appreciation at all of the sacrifices and dedication to duty that others have made to insure your right to be a jerk…Freedom is not free and it was paid for by those you disrespect and degrade…

        • Clay says

          Tell me, when was our last was war that was to “protect” our freedom. Drives me crazy to hear people say they join to fight for freedom. No you don’t. You want a job. You fight for world freedom. And oil. Go to wars we don’t need to be apart of. Example, Syria. . . Why in the he11 does america need to be apart of that. That’s not protecting my freedoms. Especially the guys that didn’t get drafted. .you wanted to be there and then want us to feel sorry for you. . Just my two cents. . Here’s the best part. I’m a vet, and a truck driver. Never once liked it when I got cheered from coming back from Iraq. If they only knew what I had just done.

          • Larry says

            Only thing is the same was done in NAM & KOREA
            Innocent people were killed & both of those conflicts had anything to do with the safe of the US either they were military actions to help the south to be free from the north in both of those countries
            No declartion of War was ever signed by either side in both Nam & Korea conflicts
            So the real answer on when was the last war for our freedom that would be WWII
            Truthfully the real answer should be Civil War since our soil wasn’t invaded in WWI or WWII the closest soil to be invade was the “territory of Hawaii” cause it didn’t become a state until 1959
            Yep get ready for us to get into another war we have no business being in

        • Ward Bail says

          I think your taking his sarcasm a little to much to heart.
          I read in his statement that the government would rather promote invasions of other countries rather than promote more efficient and quality transportation recourses

      • roadtoad says

        For one, the American military does not intentionally kill women and children. If it does kill women and children it is accidental and the ramifications are severe for its leaders… And finally, we currently do not have any direct military involvement in Syria. I would love to know where you are pulling your facts from that support your statement.

        I hope your comment does not get deleted. You serve as the ideal reminder on how stupid, disrespectful and ignorant people still are.

        • Bryan says

          Uhm it’s not ALWAYS accidental. To believe otherwise is delusional.That part makes up some of the nightmares vets still have.

      • Deb says

        Ignorance is bliss ..keep living in bliss Michael. For sure you want the world to know what a dumb azz ignorant person you are!

      • smkedbacon says

        No you can join the military and learn how to operate a Gas Turbine Power unit. leave the military and work 4 /10 hr days with fantastic benefits with pay close to 70K or better a year.
        Besides Michael Syria does not need our help in killing innocent women and children in Syria, seems they control the market!
        USN 69-73 Nam Gator Navy 72-73

    • Philip Bagwell, Sr. says

      And just yesterday the fast food people were out demanding $15 per Hr. to flip burgers…although part time. Drivers work 24/7 for what????????

  4. cheezburger says

    First off let’s start by saying that I agree with all comments above.
    Next there is way too much regulation and this is a growing situation. In all honesty you going to work a minimum of 70 hours. Off duty time is not exactly kicking back with a beer with your buddies. When you divide your pay by the actual hours spent away from home, waiting for shipper and recievers. Downtime in traffic, downtime with a watchfull people net or paper work. The 60k annual is really way to low. I’m being generous with that pay.

    I drive NE and NYC and we just acquired the people net. not to mention this foolish half hour break. If I want to take a break I would take one. when I go to Long Island I have to make a schedule so I can be home the next day and make money not lay over for 14 hours in Riverhead New York. Then to sit in traffic for the next 4 hour. This break ruins my time to get to my last stop a 5pm. I use to 15 stops on Long Island now I have to cut that to about 14 stops. To deliver in the morning instead of being on my next trip.
    Its not going to be worth becoming a truck driver anymore, the money is not there, and it’s all about the money.
    There should be a different set of rules for what kind of work you do not one size fits all. Someone that drives over the road and does about five stops a week should have a different set of rules then me, when I do regional and do about 50 stops a week.

    • cheezburger says

      All I’m saying the money is not there, divided by the time you have to put into it plus all these new regulations. Pay us by the mile and pay by the hour when sitting in traffic or sitting anywhere eles. Then you will not see driver shortages!

  5. cheezburger says

    One last note 1200 dollars a week divided by the actual hours you spent working and away from home. Its something like 7 to 9 bucks and hour straight time. Come on! The trucking companies know this.

    • JBar says

      The average OTR company driver doesn’t make $1200/wk. It’s closer to $700/wk. Factor in the wasted time waiting on apathetic customers, and the high cost of eating, showering, and paying for a home that is infrequently used; and the crux of the problem is blindingly obvious. Bottom line, the ATA is no friend of the truck driver, and for as often as they praise having a free market without rate regulations; they are very hypocritical to lobby congress for more training pay credits and immigrant worker visa schemes!

  6. Kevin says

    I’m thinking of getting out of trucking too. I am getting so sick and tired of the Government telling us what we can do and can’t do! Even if I become an independent, it is still the same. I’m not looking to evade reasonable laws, but enough already with the micro managing of people and industry.

  7. Roadghost says

    There are plenty of other industries where employees are retiring and they aren’t having trouble getting replacements. It’s time the trucking industry stopped making phony excuses and started addressing the problem of ridiculously low pay for what they demand of their employees. When you have 75-100% turnover you don’t have a retirement problem.

    I discourage anyone from getting into the trucking industry because it’s just not worth it.

  8. Kurt says

    The ATA will never admit that there are more trucks sitting empty in truckstops, waiting for a load, than there are empty trucks waiting for drivers. Only when freight is not being hauled, and rates rise dramatically can they claim there is a shortage.

  9. cheezburger says

    With this economy there will be a slow down. When the goal is single payer health care we will see the real taxes and slow downs. Obama explains this in a 2006 speech to the unions on how we have to progress to this point. This new America is not our parents America.
    We are trying to hang on to something so unique and wonderful as America that we are letting these politicians and regulators get the best of us. Right or Left we are Americans and that is all we can count on. Don’t be fooled by a sign on bonus and a new freight shaker. Or “free health care” they are all lies.

    • Ward Bail says

      simply by converting to a flat fee to the brokers for loads you eliminate the pay shortage. It isn’t regulations costing you revenue. Its greed. rate are supply and demand. the brokers take the profit. not the government

  10. dave says

    Putting up with shippers and receivers,non driving 4wheelers,crappy equipment,paychecks that would be a cruel joke in any other industry,never seeing your family,clueless uncaring dispatchers who make more than you and go home every afternoon,over regulation and incredible fines. if you actually take every load given….sure…..its retirements that are leaving trucks sitting..keep te.lling yourself that

  11. Cliff Downing says

    Why does anyone actually listen to what the ATA has to say on a much of any issue? Their name should be the Anti-Trucker Association. If they can’t convince a carrier to place more restrictions on a driver, they lobby government to do their dirty work for them. And while they do everything they can to make a driver’s life more miserable during the year, they then add insult to injury when, for a couple of weeks, they promote a “driver appreciation week”. It is a totally un-American organization on multiple levels. The fact that they are worried now that there is or will be a driver shortage really doesn’t concern me. I advise anyone interested in trucking, to seek another career. After over 30 years of being dissed by the ATA, I often take a position in opposition to them when writing my elected help. But the ATA will hit right occasionally, but then, even a blind squirrel will find a nut once in a while.

  12. truckerswidow says

    Companies do not care about their drivers or their families. If a driver hasn’t delivered their load a company should be looking for them with the hour they are late. My hsband was left sitting in a idling cab with no medical assistance. He died and was found 48 hrs later. The real truth drivers are dying and no one tracks it or researches it. Carbonmonoxide is a dangerous thing.

  13. Toolboy says

    Its pretty simple really. Drivers want descent home time and a descent wage. And drivers have gotten the short end since deregulation (early 80’s) and it just went down hill from there. The big companies don’t care about drivers (and some of the small ones don’t either) as long as there profit margin hits the mark. They know whats going own, they invented the game and were the suckers who have to play it….unless we stand together.

  14. dhcrystal says

    Yup … denial is a wonderful thing. Look at pay, look at benefits, look at drivers sitting in parking lots over weekends and holidays waiting for loads. Look at companies with governors on their trucks maxing speed at 60 or 61 mph (tough to get miles in at that rate), look at how the companies treat the drivers, shorting them mileage, controlling every moment of their lives, complaining if they exceed 1700 rpms even when climbing mtns., splash fuel here and there to save a nickle without a care for the time it takes the driver to get off the road and stand in line at the pumps. Look at truck stops that are often overcrowded, filthy (not all but more than I’d like to think about), with crappy food, look at the way drivers are treated by the rent-a-cops at plant security gates and how drivers are treated by shippers … there’s just a general disrespect and lack of civility in the way drivers are treated. And, back to the companies where drivers are treated like expendable trash. When was the last time you went to work for a company and anyone, anyone, at the company headquarters even spoke to you unless it was to bitch a driver out about something, treating drivers like a bunch of snotty-nosed enlisted men/women. No siree Bob, it isn’t retirement that’s causing the shortage it’s the crappy pay and working conditions and crappy treatment of drivers by anyone in authority in the industry, including DOT officers and weigh-station attendants. Change those things dramatically and you’ll have plenty of drivers.

    • IZ says

      I always try to treat others as I would like to be treated, it does make a difference, especially DOT & shippers & receivers.

    • Angela G says

      Not all companies treat thier drivers badly. However, I can’t say much for the weigh station officers. Several of them do have a superiority complex.

    • coffeeclue says

      The only places I get disrespect are food warehouses. So, I don’t go there. Pulling a reefer was one of the worst things I’ve done.

    • Larry says

      Well the only company I was ever treated that badly went belly up
      It was the shipper who told me about the company going under not the company
      The last company I drove for back in 2000 was ok except my dispatcher
      He didn’t care how long I was out (which was from 8-11 weeks/with only 7 days home time)
      I’m not in it for the $$$
      If I got back into the business now it wouldn’t matter about home time cause I wouldn’t have a place to go
      I’m not going to pay $600+/month for an apt that I only get to spend 7 days in out of the month that’s wasting good $$$
      I’m not a desk jockey nor am I general labor
      Trucking is for those who are able to handle the task that come with it
      Look at the trucks now with automatic transmission ???
      Learning to shift was just part of the job so now it’s getting even easier with automatics in play
      I do see that there are new rules in place from the government as well as others then what I had to deal with back in 2000
      Oh the company truck I drove back in 2000 was governed @ 67 not 61 or 60
      In all jobs wheither it’s in the feild or flipping burgers or driving trucks the boss is only out for making & keeping as much $$$$$ as they can
      Just look at the immigration issue & you see they want the cheapest labor they can get even wal-mart is doing it
      Why not another drivers strike like the last one which did some damage to the pocket books of the big people ???
      Get another strike going & see what happens

    • Decs says

      You are correct. I quit driving after being held at a Home Depot dist center for 8 hours (while they unloaded 500 boxes). Then they told me to leave. Of course I was almost finished with my 10 hour break so I told them to call a tow truck because I wasn’t leaving for 2 more hours. The dist center, in Lancaster, CA had 200 doors, 3 of which were occupied.

      No retention was paid and they didn’t tow me (of course). I’d looked on my way in – there was no truck stop and NO PARKING anywhere near the distribution center. That did it for me. I’ve never driven again nor have I darkened the doors at Home Depot.

      There wouldn’t be a driver shortage if we could make a decent living. My paycheck was usually $200-$300 / week. No thanks.

  15. Slowmo says

    If the fast food workers can organize a strike because they aren’t happy with minimum wage, what in blue blazes is our problem? Look at what you made last year and divide that by the number of hours you work both documented and undocumented. And they want to whine over a 30hr/wk job.

    Let’s suck it up put our foot down and say no more!!! Enough regulation targeting the drivers, go after the mega-carriers slapping any nitwit with a pulse into the driver seat. Put an end to this mileage pay and start paying for hours worked not distance driven. I bet it would take all of 6 months to see a marked improvement in safety and a hell of a lot more compliance with HOS laws.

    • dhcrystal says

      Amen! Start paying a proper hourly wage plus mileage kick. It’s absurd to expect drivers to spend holidays and weekends away from home sitting in parking lots or service plazas waiting for loads and NOT getting paid for it. That is a scam of mega proportions perpetrated by trucking companies to limit the costs associated with their own inefficient load management.

  16. Matthew says

    you got love watching trucking companies whine about self inflicted problems. I think it funny they are getting paid back for how they have treated drivers. and now that the states are the feds are finding out that less then 2% of truckers make more then $22k a year. they are still not doing anything about it. it makes me wonder why i am paying taxes.

  17. Keepnitrealon18wheels says

    Trucking will change as it has in the past to the present. The yonger generstion will not hold tight in these seats without a reward. The generation I am from we took the bad with the good and made sacrifices. I am not knocking the younger generation in a way they may be smarter then the rest of us. Trucking just doesnt pay well enough nowdays to justify the lost time away from family and friends. Life is short and trucking will take a good part of this life away from you. I am not saying you can’t make a good life with trucking I myself will truck till the day I die and I have made my fair share of the money but I would never truck in ths industry w/o owning my own truck/ trailer because this way I determine my home time and pay amount.

  18. Chris says

    This story is completely false. There’s no driver shortage. Never was. Never will be. If anything there’s a driver overage. Why so you think truck parking is so scarce.? And driver pay is so low.

  19. Kieran Donahue says

    I drove locally for a couple of months on a major windmill project. The owner of the company paid me $12 an hour! I didn’t care since I quit as quickly as I started. I quit my job as a truck driver for 15 years because the government will pay your tuition and then some. I’m currently under 3 federal programs to assist me with school. FAFSA, SNAP and WIA. I was also sick of the low pay, csa 2010 and lack of health insurance. I am currently in school and will graduate in 2014 to be a RN.

    • Brian says

      There sure is a lot of whining on here about low pay, drivers. You need to take control of your career and quit blaming others. For the last 4 years, I have been making over $100,000 net per year as a company driver, I have great/affordable health coverage, and I have 12 weeks vacation per year. If you don’t like your situation, for goodness sakes, then do something about it!

  20. Da Beef says

    I think RoadToad is right on the money.

    Assuming $1000 a week (Nationaly the average driver gross pay is $37,000 a year, much less than $1000 a week) and a 5 day, 24 hour work week, (you are on the job every second you are away from home aren’t you?) Driver pay is $8.33 an hour. Less than McDonalds in most States, just many more hours. At the National average it is less than $6 an hour.

    Subtract the costs of doing busines and living on the road, and driver pay drops substantially more.

  21. Chris says

    A story about ATA members sacrificing truckers to their evil God they worship in the basement below ATA headquarters would be easier to believe. I could believe their bunch of devil worshippers

  22. Steve Bell says

    Just as long as people put up with it it will go on….If you will work for NO PAY why should the pay me???..

    Who else in America gives away their time and labor???….

    The only thing you or I can do for Nothing is Nothing…And we aren’t making anything on that….Organize and STOP Working For Free…Any task worth doing is worth get Paid For…How much work did you do for free this week???

    When they have to pay for your time they will stop wasting it!!!…..Right now the only way that they can waste you time is not to use it…

    Every time you work and don’t get paid….Someone else is getting paid and not having to work…

    If you would get paid for your time and work the HOS problem would just go away….They Don’t Want To Pay You For 100 Hours Of Work A Week…So you you just give it to them for free!!

  23. Da Beef says

    Exactly Steve Bell!
    Drivers aren’t stupid people and it completely floors me that most don’t even realize how badly they are getting screwed or they don’t know how to change it. Many think they earn good money when in fact they are just above poverty level….

    • coffeeclue says

      And therein lies an answer to your question. Many think they earn good money. So, this is not the carriers’ fault. If the “many” are happy, why change anything?

  24. Angela G says

    As a safety director, I see more of the overall picture on driver shortages. Yes, several good drivers are dropping out to find other jobs where they are paid better and don’t have to spend time away from home, but also as drivers age over 65, it becomes harder to add them to insurance. This is a large problem at our company. If a driver is over 65, our insurance does not want to approve them. They can be very good drivers, with no citations or accidents, but because of thier age they are classified as an added risk. Along with that take all drivers out that have had a dirty drug test or felony, and there just aren’t enough drivers left to fill all the positions available.

    • TomM says

      That may be true, but many drivers coming into the industry are finding that they are responsible for 10x more than that 65-year-old retiree was responsible for when he first started driving, and for essentially the same rate. By that, what I mean is that the laws are tougher, more is expected from the driver, yet the pay is the same for this generation of drivers as it was for the previous generation.

      I’ll grant you that insurance has difficulty providing coverage for an older driver, but saying that the reason for the shortage is only half the story. What’s the incentive for new drivers to fill his shoes? Missing that half-hour DOT-mandated break or not entering it properly in the e-logs can cost a driver $2750 and give him more points on his CSA record than a DUI. The older generation had none of that to worry about. No mandated half-hour breaks, no e-logs than can easily be typo’d, no CSA 2010, and no fines that were essentially two month’s salary.

      When the older generation started driving, their mileage rates/salary were great. They were able to set themselves and their families up for a great life after driving that last mile (retiring). Nowadays, and I say this from experience, a driver barely makes enough to feed himself. My last two driving jobs (with one mega-carrier and one smaller company), despite rolling as many miles as I legally could, even cutting a few corners when I was on paper logs to roll as many miles as possible, I was still technically eligible for food stamps and Section 8 housing.

      When the pay can’t even lift a family of only 3 out of poverty, the job isn’t worth it. Raise the pay and watch the shortage disappear.

  25. coffeeclue says

    Looking at all comments, I guess I’m the only happy driver left. I have my own old truck and trailer as well as my own authority. I don’t take cheap freight and I make very good money. I hope there is a driver shortage so the rates will go up and I will make even more money.
    What I don’t understand is, why do people take on jobs that clearly state what they pay, then complain about it? Nobody is forcing anyone to be a driver. Why would you accept a low paying job if you don’t want to do it?

    • TomM says

      That might be because they get star-struck with the ads. I was one of those drivers when I got in. These ads boast “Make $40,000 your first year,” “Lease our truck and make $125,000 a year.” Well, fifth year in, I’ve never seen more than $27,000, except when I fell for the lease scam when I first started. In 5 months, I made right at $30,000, but most of that was eaten up by expenses, and I only took home $3,400 of that $30K after expenses. They clearly state it, but it never comes close.

      You’ve got what I consider the perfect trucking job, because what you’re doing is where the money’s at. Your own truck, your own authority, the freedom to negotiate rates for great loads. I’m not aware of how you got where you’re at, what (if any) help you had from friends or family, or if you saved up to get yourself going on your own. But what I do know, is that being able to work up to that point has gotten much more difficult over the past several years, and without a pay worthy of the sacrifice, most company drivers will never make it to where you’re at.

      My hat’s off to you, because you are the type of driver I’ve always looked up to. Thank you for all you do for America.

    • Charlie says

      Coffeeclue, your not the only happy driver left, count me in. There must be two of us. I too have my old (21 year) truck and my own authority. You’ve just said exactly what I think also.

    • jeff says

      me three…….The ONLY way to make money these days is to
      a.OWN your equipment outright
      b.Must have your own authority
      c.Work smart ,Not hard (Longer haul does NOT mean its a smart haul)
      d.Everything is paid in CASH..EVERYTHING (fuel-insurance-repairs-meals-etc-etc)
      e.DONT let the broker/3pl tell YOU what the move pays…Its your truck,not theirs.

      You work smart..Own all your assets..Youll Live pretty good.

      Driving for these irregular route carriers will do nothing put make you 30-40k per year and you’ll suffer miserably

    • Isaac says

      Wait until CARB and other EPA-like lobby groups start pushing for OLDER trucks like yours to be re-newed (buy a new truck), and you’ll surely understand why. Thanks

  26. says

    Thank You! Now this is what I call “News You Can Use””!

    “Increasing pay 5% is not going to solve anything. We think that driver pay needs to go up 40%-50% from where it is today to really attract anybody new into the industry.”

    That’s what they all say! (company’s and corporations) But if you look back over the last 3-4 years, you find they have been saying the very same thing for years! Same as “Fast Food Workers”! You pay an idiot $7.25 per hour to slave at his/her own peril and general well being, you throw them a quarter every now and then, keep them happy, these idiots will keep on making you millions! No different than idiot Truck Drivers, which includes Myself, yes I am an idiot driver.

    You make $0.38 per mile, you work 65 hours per week, you make less than $12.00 per hour, poverty level pay, all you can do is gripe and complain! This is how company’s and corporations shove our paychecks up our butts and make us like it! So, shut up, get use to it, like it and stop complaining, OR get off your butt and do something about it…… Like Fast Food Workers are doing!

    Until WE park these trucks on the same day and send them a message you can forget any meaningful PAY increase, penny here, penny there, screw you, we own you, we own your family, you are not our employees, you are our property, you get what we pay you, you have no say and no voice! Pretty soon, if we don’t get off our butts and do something, McDonnalds workers will be at $15.00 per hour and we’ll still be at $0.38, maybe $0.39!

    We need to be at $0.58 – $0.68 or more! Park the trucks, please tell me when!

  27. HLeeming says

    I know the government and carriers, keep insisting it is a truckers shortage, but how many experienced truckers have tried to look for work and can’t find any? We were told by a driver, from the carrier my husband worked for, he was told by one of the senior staff, there is no shortage unless the papers are piled on his desk and he doesn’t have enough trucks to move their loads.This same company is looking for owner operators all the time. I just quit, due to the fact I cannot get any miles with them, I am sitting more than I am driving, but not at home. In fact one day they had me sitting for 3 hours, because they said it was slow, and only when my husband got mad and went into the office to confront them on down time and not enough miles did the dispatchers find me a run. He has been with this industry 30 years and is having problems finding work. I was also told by another driver the company he works for hires temporary foreign workers, the canadian government pays out, 40,000 to a carrier to bring them in. This is what I think is happening, why would a carrier hire on a experienced driver for nothing when the the government will give them money to hire on temporary foreign workers. Eventually those foreign workers become citizens and the government makes more in taxes. I know this is hear say, but at the same time my husband has emailed carriers, and phoned carriers to either get no response or the few that do, and say they are interested after saying they will send out their pay package and application, He never hears from again. The one I even e-mailed back, her response at first was, he was feeling ignored. The second e-mail after commented their was no truck driver shortage, and no I did not feel ignored, and that I was in fact fed up, her reply was. The trucking industry is sure not what it used to be. So from what I can see, it’s is only a matter of time before we are replaced with truckers who will work for nothing, driving down the salaries of owner operators, and leaving many without jobs. But I live in Canada not the US and I am not sure if the carriers hire on temporary foreign workers there.

    • Chris_B says

      The carriers want to be able to hire more cheaper foreign drivers. This misinformation campaign has been going on ever since deregulation. For the record I don’t think anyone except a citizen should be able to get a CDL. Bringing in foreigners and running them like slaves is dangerous.

  28. Jason Haggard says

    The ATA is going to continue and try to promote half truths in this issue. What they refuse to admit is that many drivers are leaving the industry due to poor treatment and poor compensation. They are also going to continue misrepresenting themselves as an organization that represents the trucking industry as a whole when in fact they represent the best interests of carriers, specifically large carriers.

    Ask an actual driver and you will find a much different story than the one that the ATA is presenting to the public, the media and the government.

  29. Karen says

    I’m curious. How many drivers have a perfectly clean drivers license and driving record who are on the verge of losing their jobs because inspections put points on their records? CSA points. d

    • Scott says

      Youre right Karen and lest we not forget that those tickets and inspections go on the oh so golden psp reports that follow the driver and the companies are paying very close attention to these reports. If 4 wheelers had to abide by the rules we do, lets just say there would be no traffic jams, lol.

      • Tammy says

        @Scott…Exactly, you get the older folks who cant tell if their cat is a raccoon (think eyeglass commercial) and yet they are on the 70mph highways doing 45-50.And you have the vacationers going from Canada to Florida buzzed out on coffee driving for upwards of 24 hrs straight…But they never get hassled…I say it’s discrimination :(

  30. Kratz Leatherman says

    Being defined as unskilled labor by the Dept. of Labor is not helping. Also, being exempt from being paid by the hour & overtime doesn’t help. I think that there should be some regulation in place to control rates & stop undercutting each other. Not a return to the days of the ICC setting regional rates, etc. but some regulation to protect drivers/OOs/independents, small carriers, etc.

  31. HLeeming says

    I think until the driver themselves, stand up for their rights there will be no future in this industry. If enough walk off the job, it might then get some media attention. And the government will be forced to look at the issue.

    • Tammy says

      People have thought as you do for many many years.Too many people are STRUGGLING just to make ends meet, living paycheck to paycheck and praying often we GET a paycheck.Until there is security in the jobs, there will not be enough unity in the industry …Blessings ~ Princess~

  32. Scott says

    Well for the ATA to be so far off base as to their conclusions of a driver shortage is disconcerting. As a seasoned driver myself who has seen this industry slowly decline in all areas, I am fully convinced by the ATA deduction that drivers truly are screwed where pay and equipment quality are screwed. The FMCSA and all the other governmental agencies are basically in bed with each other.

    Owners are buying up the toilets that are on the road today and hiring half assed child mechanics to authorize half assed fixes. The statees and D.O.T. inspectors are capitalizing on these garbage trucks to get revenue for their state through inspections and violations and these violations follow the drivers on PSP reports (which for some stupid reason the major carriers are treating like gold) and dmv records depending on the ticket or fine. One may think the company pays these fines but, no. Well, they may pay the fine but it comes out of the drivers settlements. Or partially. Does the crap mechanic who only authorized the bad fix have to pay? No. Ooops Im rambling. Anyway the retirement isnt the problem.

    Its just what everyone says it is, bad pay, out 3 weeks home 2-3 days when for the most part its 1 1/2 to 2 1/2 days.

    Its the FMCSA health standards while the truck stops are major corps that sell fast food to men and women in sedentary jobs that are forced to be on duty for 12-14 hours just sitting there and for the most part are too flippin tired to go for a walk at the end of hos and the walk they take is not enough to burn off the overpriced crap food offered at truck stops. Go for a walk while waiting to be loaded? Hardly going to happen. Theres no safe places to walk for a half hour and its a guessing game as to when your going to get loaded if its not drop and hook.

    Its dealing with child dispatchers who get to go home at the same time every day and get the same consistent paycheck every week. These kids dont appreciate their drivers much because they dont have the maturity for it. Life hasnt kicked the crap out of them enough yet to be in charge of people. There arent enough drivers with real experience running the dispatch and fleets for the most part.

    Its the human resource offices being puppeted by the insurance companies as to whom they can hire. The insurance companies are looking for the perfect driver on paper while keeping there heads buried in the sand as to the realities of the road and are gougin trucking comanies, well, simply because they can and they can manipulate their policies to only make and not pay out money.

    Well Ive ranted enough, so let the nay sayers and holy rollers begin their responses. To those still out here, I wish you well and stay safe.

  33. Scott says

    Oh yeah and i forgot to add that when Im asked about being a truck driver by some kid, be they male or female I let them know just what they are going to be in for…I tell them to go back to school and run from this industry as fast and hard as possible…

  34. Tammy says

    Shortage of drivers??? More like over abundance of drivers and not enough freight.We have been in the business for a decade and we used to make good money/good miles.Now the loads are scarce for us.We went from making 1200-1300 a week to under 500 at times.I call BS on this

  35. Charlie says

    The ATA is only worried about the big companies and the government. They are not really worried about a driver shortage. Got to vent here. Been talking to a good friend of mine a lot recently. He just went to work for a company with 180 or so trucks. ( name of company withheld on purpose). They run new equipment and all the pretty aerodynamic stuff. It’s been taking him from Monday to Saturday morning to get 2500 miles. He runs electronic logs and he is always 40 miles short of his destination or just out of reach before he has to take his 10 hr break. It’s a joke. Poor load planning is not the problem. He stays hung up getting loaded and burns up his 14. I’m an o/o and run 5 nights a week in a 1992 truck I’ll put up against any new one any day of the week. I am home more than him and I don’t live in my truck. Why do company drivers put up with this crap? Regulation is killing the trucking industry not a driver shortage. Nobody wants to be “watched ” 24 hrs. a day and its not about safety, but everybody’s doing it. Can we please stick together and do a 3 day shutdown to stop this stuff. Ok , I through ranting. I feel better now. Thanks.

  36. Chris says

    With all the sorry companys out there, look at all the ones that require 2 or more years experience to work for. They actually expect drivers to stick around 2 years with companys like Stevens transport making 2-300 a week or less and only seeing my house once in 6 months. Maverick Transportation was a huge jump in pay at first but after I was late on a 3 drop load because I had an 18 hour layover on my first drop because the company wasn’t even open on weekends and my other 2 were in NY city 5 hours away and an hour apart. After that it was 4-8 hours getting loaded for a 2-300 mile run, 4-8 getting unloaded and repeat. I did that for 2 months until I quit. So 10 months into driving and I’m done. I’d rather work at McDonald’s or Wall-Mart. I feel for the drivers out there, but screw the trucking industry

  37. Jeff says

    ATA someone is missing something! LIKE PAY??? does someone understand the shortage is about pay? all the crap a driver has to go throught today isnt worth the hours put in for the pay. SO many are retiring or moving on. Then opening up to mexico> and others Whom come up here , dont have to pay taxes, haul for pennies? Does anyone agree or is it just me?
    Guess not! Glad i,m out of it, but believe it or not i do miss the bull crap just cant afford it.

  38. hottrod says

    Had been on the road 40 years and 4 million miles with never a ticket or chargeable accident. I was with a top notch company during 1973-1981 – – what we drivers made then was around $32,000 per year. At that rate today, COMPANY drivers would have to make $110,000 per year today to equal the buying power that $32,000 a year was back then. Deregulation in 1981 ruined the pay for the entire industry. The low pay coupled with government regulations and rotten Obama economy is the reason I took early retirement last year.

  39. shrinkwrap says

    They just refuse to publicly admit what Dave Ross points out in the article, which is exactly what every driver says.

    And how long has this supposed ‘driver shortage’ been going on for?

    As long as I can remember but they never offer a solution other than importing more bodies from unsuspecting foreigners to come on over on the premise of becoming a citizen.

  40. garciaman says

    I have to tell you guys what I have found . I was thinking of getting into the trucking industry as my career has fallen apart due to the economy and I need a career. There are so maany driving jobs in the newspaper and online I thought no problem I will give this a try. Firstly school is anywhere from $2500 to $5k. But before I signed up I talked to every trucker I could without bothering them. At gas stations, my current job, etc. I could not find 1 driver that told me driving was a great career . As a matter of fact , 99 % of the drivers I talked to told me to run , not walk away from the trucking industry. To me, thats a bad bad sign.

    I also have a family , and I just dont understand why this industry is determined to run away capable new employees. There need to be more local drivers. I am not going OTR ever. I have a family that actually needs me there not gone all the time sleeping in a truck. Why is there this need for some sort of initiation or hazing to get into this ridiculous “club” ? I am not going OTR for a year or a day. The whole industry needs to be blown up and redone. There is a reason there are so many driver jobs on the web. Nobody wants them or that ” lifestyle’ . I talked to over 50 drivers. To say I was shocked at the dissatisfaction of these good workers wasting away in a truck is sad. I did find one driver t Averitt who said he liked it. He worked 70 hours a week and made $52k last year. You do the math.

  41. says

    I agree with some of the above comments but another reason for the shortage is lack of hiring felons, I understand that people makes mistakes in their past and then can all off a sudden change their life around, Like me for an example, i have a felony that occured back in 2008, i was young and immature but now i have 5 kids and completley changed my life around. I have been studying for My class A for two years, I went and recieved my Permit, and after that its been so hard for me to enroll in school and/or be a part of a truck company. I know everything about trucks but because of a felony I cant even get behind a wheel of one, if I do I maybe a better driver than most experience drivers, thats how much confidence i have in myself. So what im saying is that its because of a felony thats keeping me from choosing trucking as my career something that i know i will master at, thats crazy and it really hurts my feelings. Im not asking for no one sympathy, but i am asking for someone to help me get behind the wheel of my life as a trucker.

    • Atl driver says

      PFG.. performance food group in Atl.. i know they have one in Fl.. dont know where you are but they are always hiring. They hire felons left and right.. tattoos and all.. they dont give a f.. as long as you can drive and dont f up they;re equipment. Its alot of labor(food service, unloading a 48 or 53 footer with dollies)… but they pay good… GOOD LUCK

  42. Ron says

    “On average, trucking will need to recruit nearly 100,000 new drivers every year to keep up with demand for drivers”. And the “Mexican trucking companies will be allowerd to replace the American truck driver.

  43. Diesel Ed says

    For the ATA to be in such denial is absolutely incredible. The over burdensome and seemingly endless new “safety ” regulations are only a small part of the driver shortage but when you add on the low pay and all the “give a way” hrs. why would any sane person with a family want to join the industry. Those of us that still remain do so out of necessity rather than choice. I am so glad that I can retire soon and be done with this.
    By the way 4,500,000 miles without an accident and a single ticket and now I have to let the government tell me when to sleep, eat, fart and die. I have had enough.

  44. Jason says

    If We as Americans who are born and raised on this nation continue to allow immigrant foregin nations to over run us…then we have failed our forefathers who built this nation by their blood sweat and tears…We defected from the crown simply because of these reasons…and now were going in reverse..I will say to every driver who runs our nations economy and I do mean economy..We are NOT just a Steering wheel holder..We are the men and women who allows a Doctor to have medical equipment, who allows lawyers to who have means of transportation to a court house, and We are the ones who gives everyone on this planet a Job,food to eat, and clothes to wear…and for the people who takes our money…I say let them come get their own stuff..

  45. Johnny Chu says

    The ATA will be calling for governments to solve the shortage in truck drivers in 4… 3… 2… Bunch of damn communists, the lot of them.

    Oh, sure, they preach the “free market” when rate regulations, anti-trust laws, unions, minimum wage or overtime laws are on the line. But when they collude to keep the price of labor so low that they cause a “labor shortage”, they’ll start screaming for government intervention to bail them out. These fair weather free-marketeers love “supply and demand” when it keeps their costs low but turn into Red Army communists when “supply and demand” causes their costs to rise. Bah!

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