It’s time to treat the root cause of driver retention problem

Discussion in 'Truckers News' started by drvrtech77, Nov 27, 2021.

  1. drvrtech77

    drvrtech77 Road Train Member

    Mar 20, 2010
    A guy goes into the doctor’s office because of a shooting pain in his arm.

    The patient tells the doctor, “Every time I move my arm like this, it hurts. What do you recommend?”

    The doctor replies, “Don’t move your arm like that.”

    As far as jokes go, it’s an oldie but a goodie.

    However, it’s probably not the solution you want to hear from your doctor. Rather than determining the root cause, the doctor is looking for the easy way out so that he can likely hit the golf course that afternoon.

    In a way, the doctor’s solution is similar to how the American Trucking Associations and numerous members of Congress want to treat the driver retention problem in the trucking industry.

    Instead of digging in and correcting the problems that lead truckers to exit the driver’s seat and move to another career, they continue to search for ways to find new drivers to replace the ones who just left.
    Last week, about 60 members of Congress wrote a letter to the U.S. Labor Department asking it to prioritize grants for unemployed Americans to be trained as truck drivers. The bipartisan letter signed by Rep. David Scott, D-Ga., and others said the measure was necessary as trucking companies struggle to retain drivers.

    “With turnover rates for large, long-haul truckers reaching the 90% mark and the lag time for training and onboarding new drivers lasting several months, it is critically important DOL enact these measures as soon as possible,” the letter stated.

    This solution, along with ATA’s push to allow 18-year-olds to drive interstate, does absolutely nothing to address the reasons that large carriers have a turnover rate of 90% or more. It does nothing to address insufficient compensation or poor working conditions that lead a person to attain a commercial driver’s license and then walk away from the industry a few months later.

    The Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association has been shouting for years that there is not a driver shortage and that the way to retain drivers is to compensate them for all of their time and to make it a more enticing long-term career.

    If anything good has come out of the current supply chain crisis, it’s that the mainstream media is finally starting to catch on to what OOIDA has been saying for years. Recent articles from Time, Business Insider, and Quartz have all called into question ATA’s claims that there is a shortage of truck drivers.

    And just last week, OOIDA President Todd Spencer made some extremely candid remarks during an interview with MarketWatch.

    Spencer said the fast-tracked training grants for new truck drivers will not be successful if steps aren’t made to make it a more attractive career path.

    “The reality is, if the job you’re offering sucks, is the solution really to go find more suckers, or should you improve the job so people will come and stay?” Spencer said.
    Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg previously said the same thing in a more politically correct way. He compared the industry’s driver retention problem to a leaky bucket, meaning that adding more water won’t help as long as the holes in the bottom of the bucket remain.

    If the trucking industry really wants to solve the problem, there are plenty of things that can be done.

    Pay drivers for all of their time. Eliminate the overtime exemption. Provide safe places for drivers to park. Remove burdensome regulations that do nothing to improve safety.

    Because, eventually, you’re going to need to move your arm like that. And, eventually, trucking companies will again be looking for a new wave of drivers unless they give their existing drivers a reason to stay. LL

    It’s time to treat the root cause of driver retention problem
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  3. bzinger

    bzinger Road Train Member

    Dec 10, 2014
    omaha , ne
    And how many times has this been addressed by truckload carriers ? Other than wining about a driver shortage and needing a new supply of cheap labor .
    The LTL segment seems to be taking the bull by the horns but until the truckload sector collectively gets their head out of the sand this will never go away .
  4. Freddy57

    Freddy57 Road Train Member

    Nov 29, 2013
    Mount Vernon, MO
    The big carriers don't get it and they really don't care. Who wants to be stuck in somebody else's truck for 25 days or more each month...that's not an employee, that's a slave. A lot of drivers end up quitting so they can go home.
    The HOS rules seem like they were written by somebody just coming off of a weekend drunk. There was nothing wrong with the rules we had, all it needed was a reset provision. Then drivers could stagger their hours which would free up parking again and make more efficient use of the roads.
    Until somebody wakes up and smells the coffee...which is highly unlikely in the current environment...the megas are going to have a revolving door on their trucks and they will continue to demand somebody else fix their problems, as long as it doesn't actually require them to fix their own house.
    dwells40, sevenmph, austinmike and 2 others Thank this.
  5. bzinger

    bzinger Road Train Member

    Dec 10, 2014
    omaha , ne
    Well put and I do remember when I had to quit a few jobs to get a day off.
    Freddy57, dwells40 and homeskillet Thank this.
  6. REO6205

    REO6205 Trucker Forum STAFF Staff Member

    Feb 15, 2014
    If it's a battle between OOIDA and ATA you know by previous example which one is going to win. ATA represents the big carriers, they have bigger bucks to spend for lobbyists, and they have a track record for getting their way. They do not, and never will. have any concern for the drivers.
    The main thing ATA and their supporters fear is a massive turn toward the unions.
    OOIDA tries their best to stay up with what's going on and if it weren't for them I think most small companies and O/Os would have sunk out of sight long before now. They don't have any real power but if things keep going the way they are the power might find them.
    Say what you want about unions....I'm no fan of them myself...but sometimes a union is the only thing drivers have to keep a company from running right over them.
    Maybe it's time we encourage OOIDA to really represent the drivers and to consider collective action in their behalf.
  7. Lunatic Fringe

    Lunatic Fringe Medium Load Member

    Oct 1, 2016
    You're largely preaching to the choir here. Granted, there are a few grizzled, old, "thank you sir, may I have another" types who cling to the notion that anything other than pay per mile will lead to anarchy and drivers going down the road at 3 mph to milk the clock but we all know that there are plenty of carriers that don't have a clue how to treat or pay drivers.

    The good news is that skilled drivers are getting harder to come by. Baby boomers are retiring in record numbers and the incoming generation besides being a much smaller group have more hurdles to entering the CDL job market. Their whole lives they've been hearing the marketing releases from tech companies saying trucks will be driving themselves any day now so they think, "why bother getting a CDL if I'm just going to be out of a job in 5 years"? States legalizing the devil's lettuce means many of them smoke that stuff only to show up at CDL school and take a hair test. They think they're covered because it was legal in their state and it was x months ago. They learn the hard way that a failed drug test for a safety-sensitive job ends their career before it starts. For the ones who bother to do research beforehand and figure they'll just abstain for 6/8/10/12 months before going to school then get invited to a party, take a couple of puffs and just perpetually keep restarting the clock.
    homeskillet Thanks this.
  8. homeskillet

    homeskillet Road Train Member

    Jun 1, 2013
    Dayton, OH

    Well said.

    May I cut and paste this to an email sent to my alleged representatives in *retch* Congress?
  9. drvrtech77

    drvrtech77 Road Train Member

    Mar 20, 2010
    Please do!
    homeskillet Thanks this.
  10. blairandgretchen

    blairandgretchen Road Train Member

    Dec 9, 2011
    South west Missouri
    The LTL sector has always had this bull by the horns.

    None of the new driver questions in here ever ask that question. When we ran LTL with ODFL, I’d pick up that trucker rag that every quarter would report turnover.

    LTL was consistently 20-30%, while truckload carriers replaced their entire staff every year.

    It was obvious to us, I can’t fault new folks for not seeing this. They just think they have to tough it out?

    So - LTL is screaming for drivers just like everyone else, so attrition rates are the same.

    Why is LTL such a great gig? My simple explanation to anyone bored enough to listen?

    It removes shippers and receivers. Local P and D does that. LH just runs, drops, hooks, fuels, showers, scales and rolls. High CPM, (70cpm) - maximum run time/revenue, no unpaid work.

    Don’t tell me the consumer won’t pay a higher price for goods - we already are due to other factors. Truckload needs to get with it and pay the driver for all work performed, and tighten up on shippers and receivers.

    Do truckload carriers pay for breakdown time?

    ODFL did. Hourly. And motel.

    Now I’m just rambling. But after 2 years of truckload BS, we figured it out and went LTL ASAP.
  11. Trucker K

    Trucker K Light Load Member

    Sep 21, 2019
    Really it's a simple fix. Just pay drivers 33% (1/3) more than we're obtaining now. For example:

    OTR now averages $0.45/cpm to $0.50/cpm plus (33%) = $0.60 cpm to $0.67 cpm

    City drivers $24/hr plus (33%) = $31.92/hr

    Plus additional Truck Stops from 2000 (Usa) Plus 33% to an additional 660 more. Everything factors into 'Obtain more' such as a pay increase to infrastructure changes and building more Truck stops and Rest Areas for Truckers. The $1.2 Trillion infrastructure budget should take at least 5% ($60 Billion) of the money for Truckers alone regarding their well being such as essential rest.

    That's on average for a 5 year paid Royalty fee with a T.A. Truck government regulation truck stop cost $25 Million = 2400 New Truck Stops. Whiles only stating 1/4 of those are necessity oppose to using up the initial 5% of the overall $1.2 Trillion. Even with a 1.378% cut from the infrastructure budget would help alot of Truckers and possibly encourage more to venture into trucking by obtaining their cdl. Plus it would help this Global Supply Chain crisis.
    BeHereNow97 Thanks this.
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