The ATA has just published a paper titled “Truck Driver Shortage Update” written by Bob Costello, Chief Economist and Vice President for the ATA which you can see here. While I’m sure Bob is a very nice person who is doing his best with the information provided to him, anyone who is familiar with the industry will see more than a few anomalies in the report.
The ATA is claiming that on average, the industry will need to generate 96,178 new drivers every year. Since I have no information to the contrary, I will accept that as fact. What follows is a little more dubious. They claim that 36% of the shortage is caused by industry growth, 16% by non-voluntary departures (firing), 11% by Voluntary non-Retirement departures (quitting), and a whopping 36% by retirements. Now I’m starting to question their data gathering methods.According to their data, over 3 times more people retire every year (taking with them the boatloads of cash they made during a long, happy career) than leave to go work in another industry (because they know those boatloads of cash don’t exist).
erhaps the ATA didn’t count the drivers who are fleeing by the thousands from an industry where they’re chronically underpaid, exploited, and generally trashed. Perhaps they think that there truly is a lack of people who want to work in a growing industry, not just a lack of people who will put up with the way that drivers are treated. Perhaps they think that there really is a “driver shortage.”
When explaining why the shortage exists, the report states that it’s the fault of the HOS rules and safety regulations that were put in place in order to keep companies from exploiting their workers and putting them in unsafe conditions. While some of the regulations in place –particularly certain aspects of the CSA program– are unnecessarily overbearing, the real reasons for the shortage are the issues that every driver is intimately aware of.
The report says that by 2022, there could be a shortage of 239,000 drivers. It laments that the trucking companies can do nothing to improve their state of affairs without the repeal of government regulation. Well, Bob, I’ve got great news for you; you and the other trucking companies can fix this driver shortage today! Pay drivers a livable wage so they can support themselves and their families, and stop treating drivers as if they’re the least essential part of your business. It’s entirely in your hands.
Source: fleetowner, ATA