Driver shortage or truck surplus?

Commercial Truck Driver and Pet

Driver shortage or truck surplus?

by Mark Montague

You’ve likely heard reports that there’s a shortage of drivers in the trucking industry. There have also been reports that a record number of heavy-duty truck orders from last year is creating a capacity surplus.

So, which is it? How can we have a surplus of trucks and a shortage of drivers?  It can’t be both, can it?

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I am NOT much of a believer in the driver shortage. Or to rephrase – we can say emphatically that the trucking industry always has a need for highly competent, service-oriented, safe drivers.

Driver turnover was lower last year, as the industry responded with the need for more drivers by offering higher wages. But part of the issue is that, when trucking goes through slow periods and prices drop, some of the really good drivers leave the industry for other opportunities.

The challenge for the trucking industry is finding a way to compete with other industries. How do we keep those employees that other types of businesses also want to hire?

Which leads me to this thought: What other job requires you to drive somewhere and sit for hours for zero pay? If there was a federal rule that for all the time spent sitting, while on duty, drivers had to be paid an hourly wage then I think keeping qualified candidates would be a lot less daunting. And that would translate into better pay and working conditions for all segments of trucking.

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