Here’s a grim prognostication…
The driver shortage that has plagued the trucking industry may continue for the next five years!
That was the consensus of a panel of industry experts gathered at the Council of Supply Chain Management Professional’s 2018 Edge Conference. Most blame a strong economy that is stoking demand for more drivers. According to the American Trucking Association, it has contributed to a 7.9 percent rise in for-hire truck tonnage in the first half of 2018 over a year earlier and more than double the gain for the same period in 2017. That increased demand combined with an unemployment rate hovering around its lowest level in almost half a century will exacerbate the driver shortage at least through 2023.
Certainly, the demographics of current drivers indicate the shortage will not be resolved anytime soon. The average driver is a 56-year old male. But, getting the next generation to consider truck driving as a career is a tough sell! Millennials are not attracted to the lifestyle shortcomings and relative low-pay compared to other industries such as construction.
The ELD mandate – a catalyst to correct the driver shortage
The recent implementation of the ELD mandate has initially added to the driver shortage, since drivers can no longer fudge their hours. This has reduced capacity between 5 percent to 10 percent, according to various industry estimates. The mandate has triggered a sudden requirement for a substantial number of additional drivers to be added all at once.
But, the mandate has also brought about changes that were long overdue. Driver pay is on the increase. The trucking industry has been successfully hiring new drivers. Trucking companies are placing large orders for new tractors. And, the mandate is helping to change attitudes of shippers, who can no longer treat driver hours wasted at their facilities as “someone else’s problem.”
The shortcomings associated with the mandate’s rigid hours-of-service (HOS) regulations has prompted the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) to consider changes championed by the trucking industry for years. There’s a very real likelihood that revisions will be implemented to the mandate. If so, driver capacity could be improved immediately.
At DriverSource, we feel that the ELD mandate has brought welcomed changes to the industry. It has helped to make trucking an even more attractive career for the future. If you are considering a career as a driver, our nationwide network of companies looking for drivers makes finding a job matching your requirements easy.
Bill D for DriverSource