(Nov. 7, 2012) — The American Trucking Associations released an analysis of the truck driver shortage, concluding that it has the potential to grow to 239,000 drivers over the next decade.
The current shortage, estimated by ATA to be in the 25,000 range, is acute and limited primarily to the truckload sector of the industry; but that long-term trends could cause the shortage to explode in the next decade, ATA says.
“Carriers and fleet executives have begun expressing concern about their ability to identify and hire qualified professional drivers,” ATA Chief Economist Bob Costello said, “and with this report, we tried to identify where the impacts were being felt the most, why the shortage is increasingly worrisome and why it has the potential to get worse.”
“On average, trucking will need to recruit nearly 100,000 new drivers every year to keep up with demand for drivers,” Costello said, “with nearly two-thirds of the need coming from industry growth and retirements.”
The paper, echoes many of the same themes highlighted earlier this year by the Canadian Trucking Alliance in an eye-opening Blue Ribbon Task Force report on the Driver Shortage. That report examined the root causes of the driver shortage and several potential solutions for the trucking industry to undertake.
The ATA paper states that while private fleets and less-than-truckload carriers may have some difficulty hiring drivers, the bulk of the shortage was confined to long-haul, over-the-road truckload carriers.
In addition to industry growth, retirements and drivers voluntarily changing careers, ATA believes certain government regulations – chiefly the yet-to-be-implemented hours-of-service changes and the federal government’s driver and carrier oversight program: Compliance, Safety, Accountability – will exacerbate the driver shortage, while the industry’s transition to electronic logging is unlikely to have a significant impact.