The lack of good, qualified over-the-road drivers is no truck driver shortage myth. The fact is that with today’s driver shortage in trucking, industry leaders are sounding the alarm. The US truck driver shortage is starting to threaten the industry at the same time that freight tonnage is increasing.
In 2017, more than 3.5 million truckers are working to move cargo across the nation, but more than 35,000 qualified truck drivers are still needed. The need will only become more challenging. Analysts says that by 2023, some 240,000 new drivers will be needed to keep up with projected freight growth. To combat the driver shortage in trucking, freight companies across North America are focusing more resources on recruiting and training.
What’s behind the US truck driver shortage?
The lack of young people choosing trucking as a career is a big part, as is the high number of drivers in their 60s and even 50s who are retiring. Trucking is a physical job requiring stamina and strength and new generations of potential newcomers to the field are choosing less strenuous work.
Another factor in the US truck driver shortage rests in salary shifts that have not seen trucking keep up with other occupations. Trucking used to be a ticket to big earnings, an occupation where hard work and long hours would be rewarded. Men, and a few women, could earn a good living, regardless of their educational degrees or background. Today, hours of service safety regulations and the rise of better paying opportunities have made driving less attractive to many young people.
Another big factor is the lack of drivers who can meet the basic occupational requirements. According to an American Trucking Associations executive, between 85% and 90% of motor carriers are reporting that “most applicants are not qualified.”
Yet rewarding career opportunities can definitely be found in the trucking and logistics industries. If you have friends graduating from high school or college or entering the job market, talk to them about the trucking industry. You can be the industry’s best “sales person” for friends and family!
Here’s a tip for people considering becoming a long haul truck driver: take advantage of free freight-matching load boards to help you stay loaded. To start your friends on the road to success, tell them about FreeFreightSearch.com, the world’s largest free load board. To register for FreeFreightSearch.com, click here.