Originally posted May 25th, 2005 by Kevin Watts
According to the American Trucking Association’s new report, US Truck Driver Shortage: Analysis and Forecasts, The long-haul segment of the trucking industry has a national shortage of 20,000 drivers. It predicts the shortage will increase to 111,000 by the year 2014 given the current demographic trends.
Making things even worse is the HIGH turnover rate reported by large carriers to be as high as 121%. There are currently 1.3 million long-haul truckers out of 3.4 million truckers nationwide. The industry as a whole has experienced a shortage of 195,000 in the first quarter of 2005.
“The driver market is the tightest it has been in 20 years,” ATA President and CEO Bill Graves said. “It’s a major limitation to the amount of freight that motor carriers can haul. It’s critical that we find ways to tap a new labor pool, increase wages and recruit new people into the industry that keeps our national economy moving.”
What is dumbfounding to The Trucker’s Report is the fact that these trucking companies are surprised by this trend! Trucking companies will FLOOD the airways, newspapers, billboards, and all other known media in an effort to attract truckers while at the same time changing NOTHING! These companies will pay, on average, over $3,000 per driver to hire that driver. Turnover? IF the drivers that just left the company were indeed paid for their time and generally taken care of better then they would not have to fork out more $$$ to get more drivers! This is truly a maddening aspect of the trucking industry.
With the amount of trucks I see on the road today I shiver at the thought of 100’s of thousands more on our highways. I believe there is NO such thing as a shortage of drivers BUT rather a shortage of common sense and good business practices, period. The trucking industry is the most cold-hearted, cut-throated, and non-caring business I have ever witnessed. It truly is no wonder that there is 121% turnover in this industry considering how companies treat the drivers they DO have.
The cure? The cure is NOT to flood the airways with your stupid ads, hire non-English speaking drivers, do more studies, rent more billboards, pay every joker a $500 fee for finding you a driver, or any of your other idiotic methods for “curing” this so-called “driver shortage”. It is to KEEP the drivers you already have, pay them for their endless time in parking lots, pay them a decent rate that’s higher than what they were paid in the 1980’s, and give them more time home than 1 day every 7.
Why don’t you trucking companies use your resources for keeping your drivers instead of trying to get them? IF you did this then you wouldn’t have to look for them, they would beat the door down trying to get in! Use your brains! It makes NO sense whatsoever to endure a 121% turnover rate, think it has nothing to do with your goofy practices, and just run about trying to find more.
Of course we ALL know that the quality of drivers has dropped dramatically in the past few years with good reason. NOBODY wants to put up with what drivers have to put up with on the road AND deal with a bad trucking company at the same time. So, all our good drivers (the ones with brains, common sense, decency, common courtesy, etc) ARE leaving in an effort to save some of their sanity. DUH!
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