According to an estimate from the American Trucking Association, the U.S. is experiencing a shortage of more than 80,000 truck drivers. According to experts, if this current trend continues, the trucking industry could need more than 160,000 drivers by 2030. The ATA also estimates that about 72% of America’s freight transport moves by trucks, which shows how dependent consumers are on the drivers who deliver products to stores, gas to pumps, or the items you order to your doorsteps. Combined with the pandemic and the supply chain crisis, the truck driver shortage is causing major bottleneck issues in delivery. Consumers and entrepreneurs need to know what to expect in the coming years.
Factors Responsible for the Driver Shortage
There is no single cause of the driver shortage, but some of the primary factors include:
- The high average age of current drivers leads to an increased number of retirements
- Women make up only 7% of all drivers, well below their representation in the total workforce
- The inability of some would-be and current drivers to pass a drug test is a problem exacerbated by an increasing number of states legalizing marijuana (a substance still banned federally)
- The federally mandated minimum age of 21 to drive commercially across state lines poses a significant challenge to recruiting new drivers.
- The pandemic caused some drivers to leave the industry, plus truck driver training schools trained far fewer drivers than usual in 2020
- Lifestyle issues, notably time away from home, especially in the longer-haul market
- Infrastructure and other issues, like a lack of truck parking spots, which causes drivers to stop driving earlier than they need to so they can get a place for the night, and congestion which limits drivers’ ability to make deliveries safely and efficiently
- Other barriers to entry like the inability of potential candidates to meet carriers’ hiring standards for driving records or criminal histories
Driver Shortages Worldwide
This is not just an American problem. Trucks haul comparable amounts of freight in places like the European Union and China, and countries and regions worldwide are experiencing driver shortages. The International Road Transport Union documented shortages in a survey of 800 transport companies in more than 20 countries. According to the study, about 20% of positions went unfilled in Eurasia last year.
Solutions for the Driver Shortage
Because there is no single cause of the driver shortage, there is no single solution. Recently, driver pay and earnings have gone up significantly for a career already a well-paying path to the middle class for Americans without a college degree. Data from the Department of Labor shows that the average annual earnings of production and nonsupervisory employees, with the vast majority of those being driver occupations, in the long-haul for-hire truckload industry is increasing roughly five times the historical average. While this is good for drivers and those looking to enter this occupation, rising pay rates alone will not solve the driver shortage because some drivers will choose to work less at a higher pay rate, negating the impact of the increase. The solution to the driver shortage will most certainly require increased pay, regulatory changes, and modifications to shippers’, receivers’, and carriers’ business practices to improve driving conditions.
Partnering with Strapping Products
At Strapping-Products.com, we think of our customers as partners. We understand that we’re an integral part of their success, and we work hard to do all we can to foster that critical relationship. If you have any questions about how we’ve dealt with the recent supply chain issues, contact our team today by phone at (888) 803-8140 or via email at email@example.com.
We look forward to working with you to ensure your products arrive at their destination safely and efficiently!