2. April 2013 08:00
There is a continuing stream of press about the shortage of over-the-road truck drivers in the country today. Right now, the shortage is estimated at 125,000 fewer drivers than are necessary to meet demand. According to the Department of Labor and FTR Associates, this shortage will more than double by the end of 2013, the largest deficit in nine years. In 2012, turnover averaged 98% at the large carriers and 82% at the smaller operations.
Depending on which side of the fence you are sitting, the shortage is blamed on such things as CSA 2010 activity, reduced hours-of-service rules, and traffic delays caused by infrastructure. However, the most recent data shows that the average salary for an over-the-road driver in 2011 was $39,830. This is not exactly an overwhelming amount when you consider the hours, working conditions, bad food, and the impact on personal and family life. If the economy continues to improve, I suspect even more drivers will turn to other occupations where they can make an increased salary and be more like normal people.
While some carriers are trying to deal with the salary situation, it will take an industry-wide effort to make a significant impact. The carriers must be prepared to face cost increases; but more importantly, shippers must recognize that to get the service they need, they must pay more.