Is the Driver Shortage Real or Just a Myth?


It is a complaint heard often in the trucking industry …

We can’t find enough drivers!

According to the American Trucking Association, the driver shortage is real and only getting worse. They contend the shortage is driven by such factors as demographic changes and an overall tight workforce.

But, wait a minute.  IS there a driver shortage?

While the ATA has always been recognized as the primary voice of the industry. another industry group says that there is NOT a shortage of drivers. The group I’m referring to is the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association (OOIDA). Their opinion is that, contrary to a shortage, the industry is dealing with some self-inflicted wounds caused by a shortage of pay and an abundance of poor treatment. 

A recent report published by the Bureau of Labor Statistics entitled Is the U.S. labor market for truck drivers broken? concluded that,

“As a whole, the market of for truck drivers appears to work as well as any other blue-collar labor market, and while it tends to be ‘tight’, it imposes no constraints on entry into (or exit from) the occupation. There is thus no reason to think that, given time, driver supply should fail to respond to price signals in the standard way.”

 The take-away from the report is clear – if driver wages go up enough, there should be no driver shortage.  

According To OOIDA – The Driver Shortage is a Myth

 The OOIDA believes that there isn’t a shortage of drivers. On the contrary, trucking is plagued with overcapacity and driver retention. The belief is that carriers DO have enough applicants for their open positions. However, around 90% of these applicants don’t meet the demanding qualifications to be hired. Any actual shortage is concentrated in the long-haul truckload segment of the industry.

We have often said that the notion of a driver shortage is a myth,” said OOIDA President Todd Spencer. Furthermore, he feels that perpetuating this myth is doing harm to trucking and pushing an agenda that could harm the industry and affect highway safety by allowing younger drivers to operate in interstate commerce.

At DriverSource, we know wages (and benefits) are key to finding and retaining great drivers. Since we are a recruiting and placement for the industry, we work with hundreds of companies seeking drivers. This gives us a good understanding of what constitutes great driver wages. We work hard to make sure our drivers’ wages stay on average or above-average in each market.

Bill D for DriverSource