Hours of Service, Regulations Will Worsen Driver Shortage

ARLINGTON, VA — If current trends continue, the American Trucking Associations (ATA) says the driver shortage has the potential to grow to 239,000 over the next decade.

The ATA estimates the current shortage of drivers in the for-hire truckload market to be in the 20,000 to 25,000 range. That is against a more-than-available ratio of 750,000 trucks.

But despite the fact that a driver shortage is felt more by long-haul, over-the-road truckload carriers, the ATA says private fleets and less-than-truckload carriers may also have some difficulty hiring drivers.

“Carriers and fleet executives have begun expressing concern about their ability to identify and hire qualified professional drivers,” ATA chief economist Bob Costello says. “The driver shortage is increasingly worrisome and it has the potential to get worse.”

The ATA says motor carriers continue to struggle to find qualified, professional drivers, as 90 percent of for-hire truckload carriers report not finding enough drivers who are capable of meeting Department of Transportation requirements.

In addition to industry growth, retirements and drivers voluntarily changing careers, ATA says hours-of-service changes and the federal government’s driver and carrier oversight program will worsen the driver shortage. The industry’s transition to electronic logging is unlikely to have a significant impact, ATA notes.

“On average, trucking will need to recruit nearly 100,000 new drivers every year to keep up with demand for drivers, with nearly two-thirds of the need coming from industry growth and retirements,” Costello says.


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