Driver Shortage A Big Issue For 2018
In not so surprising news, 2018 seems to be facing the same issues that the trucking industry has had for the past 8 – 10 years: driver shortage. For trucking companies that have a sizable fleet and have been around for more than a few years, they have all likely encountered a similar issue of finding enough licensed CDL drivers.
The reason this shortage hadn’t been felt as much was because there was a “freight recession” according to the ATA research and findings. That same article is projecting a driver shortage to reach 50,000 drivers and exponentially grow over the next 10 years.
Different carriers are approaching this issue different. Some have begun targeting more upfront money offers to drivers to entice them away from other carriers. There has also been a trend to offer better benefits to drivers too that cover family and not just the driver’s themselves. Many carriers are starting to increase pay and make themselves become more competitive as the pool for drivers continues to shrink. Some are also adjusting the routes that they place their drivers on trying to give them more home time or less taxing routes.
The bigger issue is that many are predicting a spike in freight needs and requirements which means the industry will feel this driver shortage much more heavily than in times past. Looking back to 2012, there was a driver shortage just shy of 20,000 versus 2017 which has been estimated over 50,000! If the same report from the ATA estimates numbers correctly, by 2026 we could see a shortage as high as 160,000. It should be noted that a lot can change especially as autonomous driving trucks continue to be a focus around trucking technology for the next 10 years.
Even CDL licensing schools are considering adjustments around things like reducing a driver age requirement and creating systems set specifically for returning veterans in need of a new career. Many carriers are hoping that this can help reshape the image that many have had around CDL drivers and the lifestyle they have.