The truck driver shortage has been a nonstop topic of conversation for the last several years, and it has only gotten worse since the pandemic. Unfortunately, it doesn’t look like the problem is going away soon. We saw what’s happening with the truck driver shortage in 2023 and predictions for the future. Let’s explore what’s happening now and what’s being done to combat the problem.
How Bad is the Trucking Shortage?
The American Trucking Association did have some good news this year. They predicted the driver shortage would drop about 20% between 2022 and 2023. Unfortunately, this decrease likely won't last very long. The reason for the decline is that the economy is expected to slow early in the year. Soon, demand will rise when we get closer to 2024, and there will be more need for trucks. The American Trucking Association predicts that shortages will reach a record high of 82,000 when this happens.
What is Causing the Trucking Shortage?
We’ve discussed the causes of the trucking shortage before on this blog, but we’ll summarize them here. There are four main reasons we’re seeing this shortage now:
- Age: Most drivers are in their late 40s and early 50s. This means many drivers are retiring, and we need more drivers signing on to replace them.
- CDL Age Requirements: Naturally, we want to bring young people in to combat the problem of older drivers retiring. However, federal regulations prevent anyone under 21 from obtaining an interstate commercial driver’s license. High school graduates who might otherwise immediately pursue a career in trucking go into other fields and stick with them instead.
- Lifestyle: The trucking lifestyle can be challenging. Long-haul truckers often work 60 to 70 hours per week. Much of this time is spent away from their homes and families, making a healthy work-life balance tough to achieve.
- Lack of Women Drivers: Trucking is one of the most male-dominated industries in the U.S. Women make up nearly half of the population, but they make up less than 15% of truck drivers. Unfortunately, such an imbalance tends toward harassment and discrimination, making the industry feel unsafe for women drivers.
4 Tips to Combat the Trucking Shortage
Getting new drivers is critical to the survival of businesses. It’s challenging, but you can attract new talent if your fleet stands out as a great place to work. Here are four tips to make your fleet an appealing place to work:
- Reduce time on the road. Many modern workers put work-life balance ahead of anything else, including pay. This applies to truck drivers as well. Consider domicile networks that eliminate the need for overnight trips. This means hiring multiple drivers along a route, similar to a relay race. One driver would start the journey, meet another at a meeting place such as a fueling station, and that driver would continue to the next meeting place. This pattern would continue until the trip is complete. Each driver would get to spend more time at home this way.
- Prioritize flexibility. Some drivers prefer part-time positions or want to work flexible hours. In this time of a driver shortage, managers may have to work with this. For example, some drivers prefer a four-day workweek. Managers can create unique routes to make this possible for these drivers and future applicants who may have this preference. It makes your fleet stand out from the rest.
- Make the position more appealing to women. Of course, your company should offer a safe space where women won’t be harassed or discriminated against. That goes without saying. But you can also take strides to make the job less physically demanding, like incorporating air ride seats and brakes. You can include hydraulic dollies and automatic transmissions as well. Make sure that there is equal access to restrooms and lockers on every part of their journey.
- Recruit the next generation. You can probably gather from this article that you’ll have to engage the younger generation of drivers. This means offering career advancement opportunities. Many young drivers want to see examples of managers and executives who have moved from the driver’s seat to the office. They also want to see technology incorporated into the job. Things like fleet management software, apps, and dash cams will go a long way in enticing younger drivers.
Read More About the Driver Shortage
At Azuga, we work to keep you informed on all aspects of your fleet’s operations. We don’t only do this with our state-of-the-art fleet management software but with research into fleet industry trends as well. Check out our previous articles on the ongoing driver shortage to learn more.
- New Infrastructure Bill Could Reduce Truck Driver Shortage – Jan. 20th, 2022
- The Driver Shortage and 3 Best Practices for Retention – Mar. 29th, 2022
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