Shortage Of Truckers Causing Problems for Americans
Having good, competent truck drivers is essential to our nation’s economy because most of the goods we eat are transported by truckers on our highways. However, our country is currently facing a truck driver shortage. It is one of the biggest concerns for the trucking industry.
Statistics show that there was a shortage of 60,000 drivers in 2019. Although a shortage of qualified truck drivers is nothing new in the United States, the issue has increased due to the coronavirus pandemic. Now fewer truckers are available to carry goods across our highways.
Why Is There a Truck Driver Shortage?
The main reason for America’s truck driver shortage issue is the low retention of drivers. Driver turnover rates among large truck companies are more than 90%, while 72% in smaller companies.
The shortage is not due to the lack of people interested in driving trucks. There are plenty of individuals interested in a trucking career. However, once they learn about the low pay, the poor working conditions, and the job demands, they abandon the idea.
Top Reasons Why Drivers Leave the Trucking Industry
- Low wages: Truck drivers used to make good money once upon a time, but that is no longer the case. While the cost of living has significantly increased, the wages have not gone up.
- Unpaid work: Most trucking companies pay their drivers mileage, which means drivers often don’t get paid for the time they spend stuck in traffic jams, bad weather, construction zones, or other traffic delays they encounter. Some companies expect drivers to perform extra duties between loads without providing additional pay.
- Unfair fines: Rules and regulations are put in place to ensure drivers don’t break the law on the road. But when drivers are fined unfairly in revenue-based states, it comes out of their paychecks and reduces their overall pay.
- Dangerous job: A truck driver’s job is risky and dangerous. Driving in bad weather, going for long hours, driving on rough roads to make deadlines put the driver in difficult situations. In some cases, the deliveries include hazardous substances that could also put their health at risk.
- Uncertain Future: With technology evolving and changing, some truckers believe they could be replaced by autonomous trucks someday. Although autonomous trucks are available now, they’re not reliable enough to pose a threat yet.
- Being away from family: Truck drivers spend a lot of time on the road and away from their families. This loss of time can’t be replaced.
Shortage of Truckers Creates Multiple Issues
When 72% of all goods in the United States are transported by truck, it’s straightforward to see that a shortage of competent and trained drivers creates multiple problems. The shortage of drivers puts a burden on the ones remaining. Lack of sleep, driver fatigue, and longer work hours are causing significant safety issues.
The shortage not only affects the economy but also creates a safety problem on the road. A high driver turnover puts everyone on our roadways at risk. Studies indicate that experienced truck drivers who stay with the same company are less likely to get into an accident.
Over 5,000 people died on our nation’s roadways in accidents involving a large truck in 2019. That number has steadily risen in the past decade.
Retaining Qualified Truck Drivers
It is the responsibility of truck companies to retain qualified and competent drivers to operate commercial trucks on our roadways. The companies must also have a proven safety record of their drivers.
According to the Code of Federal Regulations Title 49 for Transportation, employers’ responsibility is to screen applicants. It is also crucial for trucking companies to properly train the drivers they hire. The drivers must go through background checks and evaluations before being hired. Once they are hired and trained, the drivers must receive adequate pay and good benefits. They must not be required to drive for more than the allowable hours. The job of driving a truck is essential in every aspect.
What is Trucking Industry Doing to Solve the Driver Shortage?
The driver shortage will keep growing if the high turnover rate continues. The trucking industry recognizes this as a big problem and understands it’s time for a change. Some trucking companies have tried improving pay rates and other offers, including:
- Increasing mileage rate: Offering bonuses and higher mileage rates.
- Recruiting different groups: Reaching out to other groups such as foreign workers, women, and ex-military personnel.
- Hiring younger drivers: Pushing to have the driver’s age lowered from 21 to 18.
- Hiring immigrants: Hiring immigrants who are willing to work for less pay and fewer benefits.
- Providing longer trailers: Investing in longer trailers to move more freight per trip, resulting in fewer trips for drivers.
Watch YouTube Video: Why America is Facing a Shortage of Truck Drivers. In the following video, CBS Mornings report why there is a shortage of truck drivers and how that could drive up costs for Americans.
Roseville Truck Accident Attorneys
I’m Ed Smith, a truck accident lawyer in Roseville. An accident involving a large commercial truck can lead to devastating and even fatal injuries. If you have sustained serious injuries or lost a loved one in a truck accident, reach out to our experienced injury lawyers today at (916) 921-6400 or (800) 404-5400 for free, friendly advice. You can also reach us on our online contact form.
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