When entering any business, you now often find signs saying they are understaffed so excuse any delays. The trucking industry has also been dealing with understaffing and recruiting. Before the pandemic, the industry was already dealing with a driver shortage which has led to the shortage reaching near historic highs. The American Trucking Association (ATA) is forecasting in 2021, the driver shortage will rise to a record-breaking 80,000+ drivers.
Why is There a Driver Shortage?
There is no singular cause for the driver shortage, which means there is no single solution. Despite not being able to identify a sole source, there are primary factors that account for the shortage:
Age of Drivers
The average age of drivers is near retirement- which means several drivers are leaving the industry in a short amount of time. ATA predicts over the next decade they will have to recruit 1 million new drivers to replace those retiring. Due to commercial drivers needing to be at least 21 years of age to cross state lines, it is harder to keep up with the number of drivers retiring.
Since the pandemic, more companies are offering their employees the ability to work from home. The job responsibilities of a truck driver require being away from home for long periods. This lack of flexibility has led to drivers leaving the industry- especially those in the long-haul market.
Lack of Infrastructure
There are not enough parking spots to accommodate the number of trucks on the road, making driving long distances difficult for truckers. To ensure drivers secure a spot to rest overnight drivers need to stop for the night earlier. The lack of parking causes congestion in rest areas- limiting drivers’ ability to safely and efficiently perform their duties.
If current trends continue, by 2030 the shortage could surpass 160,000 drivers. The government, trucking companies, and AssetWorks are strategizing ways to prevent that from happening:
United States Government
The Bipartisan Infrastructure Law includes plans to recruit drivers. Currently, women make up only 7% of drivers. The law will establish a Women in Trucking Advisory Board to better advertise trucking for women. It also discusses tactics to recruit both men and women into the field by allowing drivers between the ages of 18 and 20 to drive on the interstate.
Trucking companies are trying various approaches to not only recruit drivers but to keep their current employees. Organizations already increased drivers’ pay and bonuses back in 2020, so salary is no longer the issue. Companies are now working to improve their benefits by being more flexible with time off- as the lifestyle of a driver often steers them out of the industry.
AssetWorks Field Service Solutions (FSS) ensures your drivers stay safe on the road so they can make it back home timely and safely. With the Work Alone solution, managers can check in with their drivers while they are traveling, and they will be alerted immediately if a driver misses a check-in. Our certified Electronic Logging Device (ELD) also helps managers stay on top of driver behavior, vehicle inspection, and drivers’ sleep.