Causes of Shortages
Why are there capacity and driver shortages in the trucking industry? The capacity issue is at least in part a byproduct of the electronic logging device (ELD) mandate. This mandate compelled drivers to log their hours electronically, which made it more difficult to understate hours when reporting them. Strict health and safety regulations regulate how many hours a driver can work. Cutting these hours have affected productivity negatively. In some cases, drivers reported up to 10% fewer miles, which results in capacity shortages.
There are also a number of reasons why the driver shortages exist; the hours and lifestyle required of drivers are among these reasons. Trucking is not the most glamorous industry in the world. Drivers must remain seated for hours each day, shower at rest stops, and spend long periods of time away from home.
With this lifestyle also comes a variety of health issues typically associated with the profession. As previously mentioned, truck drivers must remain seated most of the day and have limited access to healthy meal options, so major health problems such as diabetes can be a serious problem for drivers. Additionally, drivers also suffer from high levels of sleep deprivation as they may give up sleep to deliver freight as quickly as possible (LTX). In the words of Mark Montague, Industry Pricing Manager at DAT, “(Trucking) does not seem a profession that attracts millennials. It doesn’t suit their lifestyle.”
If Montague is right, then we have a big problem. Truck drivers are typically on the older side and they’re not getting any younger. The average age of a commercial truck driver in the United States is 55 (LTX). In the next 10-20 years, many of those drivers will reach retirement age, if incoming drivers don’t replace them, we may be in trouble.
Prospects aren’t looking great either, more and more people are going to 4-year colleges, and the odds of a person getting a 4-year degree and then becoming a trucker are fairly slim. Furthermore, since the belief is that automation may take over the industry, many young prospects believe they have reason to save the time and money required to earn a CDL and instead pursue another career.
Next week we will examine what can be done about the shortages and that the future of the industry may look like.
Personal Care Transport is the only company in Pennsylvania that is licensed to transport truck drivers. With over four years of experience, Personal Care has built close relations with men and women in the industry and has a deep understanding of the training process. Use Personal Care Services for all your trucking-related transportation needs!