National News

Reasons for the Truck Driving Shortage in America

Republished from Granite Grok

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Over the last few years, the number of truck drivers and truck driving firms has reduced across both America and Canada leading to considerable distribution across both countries.

Indeed, the problem has become so acute that America has a reported shortfall of around 60,000 drivers, with Canada suggested to be 25,000 drivers short.

Strangely, the phenomenon isn’t just isolated to North America, either. Similarly, there are driver shortages across Europe, causing significant problems to distribution channels and leading to food and gas shortages.

Why are drivers in such short supply?

In short, not enough fledgling drivers are coming through the system – and even those that are already qualified to drive are leaving in their droves. In response, various sites have sprung up online where companies can post their delivery driver jobs to independent contractors and even individuals.

The most common reasons for drivers moving to other jobs

Although all drivers are different and each will have his or her own reason for entering alternative employment, some of the more common reasons given for leaving the trade include:

Low wages: Not so long ago, drivers made good money working on the road; however, with the rise of competition between firms, this is now not always the case.

The amount of unpaid work: A lot of firms pay their drivers for the number of miles they complete rather than taking account of the amount of time they might spend in traffic jams, at traffic lights, in bad weather, or on highly congested roads. This leads to the unfair situation that a driver could spend hours behind the wheel yet not complete particularly high mileage.

The fear of being replaced by autonomous, self-driving vehicles: Trials are already well-underway with self-driving vehicles – with manufacturers paying particular attention to autonomous trucks working in convoys. Although the tech isn’t quite reliable enough yet to send fleets of trucks out onto the roads safely, it very likely will be soon. With an uncertain future ahead of them regarding guaranteed employment, many drivers are jumping ship early. The prospect of self-driving trucks also dissuades many others from getting started in driving roles.

Unfair fines: The haulage industry is heavily regulated, with tough fines for those that transgress the rules. Often drivers – rather than the firms they work for – face these fines, which come directly out of their wages.

Monitored driving hours: As mentioned above, the truck driving industry is closely monitored and regulated, and drivers can only stay on the road for so long. Should a driver be delayed for any reason, they have to stop when they reach these limits. Consequently, delays outside a driver’s control can result in lower mileage – which, obviously, means lower wages.

Truck driving is a dangerous job: Due to their size and weight, trucks are considerably more dangerous than other vehicles, and the fact drivers are expected to complete jobs in all types of weather and conditions further compounds the risks involved. As a result, accidents can and do happen – and, when they do, the results can be severe or even fatal.

Categories: National News

6 replies »

  1. Compliance with Government regulation is the greatest challenge drivers and trucking companies deal with. From CDL licensing requirements to Hours of service issues to Federally mandated Electronic Driver Logs- actually a surveillance system for trucks and truckers- Federally mandated drug and alcohol testing, with a mandated Clearinghouse for reporting, it takes staff in an office to back up the driver in the truck. The record keeping requirements are massive- It has been reported recently that 80,000 drivers are currently disqualified to drive, due to drug and/or alcohol issues. Marijuana being the current #1 disqualifying issue.

  2. It’s all about their terrible pay. The consolidation of corporations and trucking companies has resulted in wages and compensation taking a major downturn, much like the wages of most all of middle class Americans when adjusted for inflation. Our labor force wages and compensation have been on a death spiral for decades. The working people have had enough, union or no union, they are now standing up for fair compensation for a day’s work. It is time workers once again enjoyed fair livable wages, good healthcare and a decent pension. This is what happens when the dollars that once flowed liberally through our economy are being hoarded by a very few billionaires and millionaires, leaving little left to go around for the rest of us. Let’s wake up and acknowledge what is really going on. It ain’t the regulations, that is a very minor part of it all. I have come to know and have spoken with a few truckers over the last few years. Our truckers are burned out.

  3. Starting on February 7, 2022, any individual seeking to obtain a CDL must complete 74 hours of classroom and behind the wheel instruction for a class B CDL, and 148 hours for a class A (tractor trailer). One must also have classroom training before even applying for a Hazardous Materials endorsement. And minimum age for Interstate Commerce is 21 years old. Most driving schools are at least $2500 for class B.
    So what does a young prospect do for three years after high school awaiting eligibility to drive out of state, and how does he afford $5000 for training? Especially if he doesn’t want to go over the road?
    Oh, and now they have to give up the pot because it is still illegal while possessing a CDL. Then say nothing about the disrespectful driving habits of most motorists.
    Google a “pre trip inspection”, watch it and see how many people can even remember that entire procedure before taking a skills test. Especially with the rate of ADD these days.
    There’s a couple reasons for a driver shortage, and no future prospects.