Survey says driver shortage, driver compensation top trucking industry concerns

Survey says driver shortage, driver compensation top trucking industry concerns
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Motor carriers and commercial drivers agree on just four of the Top 10 challenges facing the trucking industry, according to the American Transportation Research Institute’s (ATRI) annual study. The shortage of for-hire, long-haul drivers was the top issue in ATRI’s annual survey that has taken the industry’s pulse for the last 15 years. ATRI released the 2019 critical issues results October 6 at the American Trucking Associations’ (ATA) Management Conference and Exhibition in San Diego. Motor carriers, who made up 51% of the 2,000 respondents, overwhelmingly picked the driver shortage, which the ATA pegged at 60,800 at the end of 2018. The issue did not crack the Top 10 for commercial drivers. Drivers, comprising 35% of respondents, listed driver compensation as their top issue. It made the overall list for the first time, ranking third. Carriers, who raised driver pay an average of 6% in 2018 when truck capacity was tight, did not list the issue in their Top 10. The lack of acknowledgement by the two groups on driver shortage vs. driver pay points to a longstanding chicken-and-egg argument over whether the industry would have a shortage if drivers were better paid. What is not in dispute is that many drivers are reaching retirement age with few young people trained to take their place. The ATA projects a shortage of 105,000 for-hire drivers by 2023 if nothing changes. The shortage could balloon to 160,000 by 2028. “There is no one reason. There is no one solution,” said Bob Costello, the ATA’s chief economist who regularly projects driver shortage and turnover numbers.” This is not just an issue in the U.S. It affects Europe, Mexico and China, too.” The average age of a driver trainee is 35 years old, USA Truck Inc. CEO James Reed said during an ATA […]

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