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Truck driver shortage in the U.S.

By: Drivers staff

Date: Sunday, 03. July 2011

For the many unemployed truck drivers across the US, it may be surprising to learn that there is currently a nationwide shortage of qualified and experienced truck drivers. According to USA Today 'Shortages of trucks and drivers are delaying some deliveries of products and raw materials across the USA and raising freight costs.' In the context of an almost 10% general unemployment rate in the U.S., such a shortage seems unlikely and out of step with the experience of the wider economy.

The USA Today report uses examples from companies such as Con-Way truckload freight company, who had to offer $10,000 bonuses to entice the 70 new drivers they required this summer.

However, the recession has led to the closure of many small truck and freight companies and forced larger companies to cut driver number and hours. This has resulted in a significantly reduced pool of workers and vehicles available to move goods. Although the tonnage index (the actual amount of freight being carried) has been on the increase in recent months and years, American Trucking Association Chief Economist, Bob Costello, predicts subdued tonnage growth in the months ahead.

The American Trucking Association, ( the largest national trade association for the trucking industry, calculates this tonnage index based on surveys from its' membership.

However, despite any stagnation in truck freight tonnage, an increased demand for truck drivers will be driven by a reduction in the numbers of existing drivers resulting from both more stringent safety regulations and an aging driver population. A recent article 'Truck driving jobs on the increase?' highlights the issue of the decreased availability of drivers for these reasons. The ATA however, predict moderate increases in tonnage for the last few months of the year which if true, will further fuel the driver shortage.

Reuters quote Noel Perry, an analyst with logistics consultancy firm FTR Associates as predicting ' ... a driver shortage of about 180,000 in 2010 and 500,000 in 2011 as the recovering economy increases demand and the new regulations crimp the supply.'

It is evident that there are many driving jobs out there and the numbers of these jobs will increase with any rise in the level of freight tonnage, but the number of drivers retiring due to either age or the new safety regulations, will likely be the greatest contributor to a truck driver shortage.

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DOL should provide workpermits for foreign drivers. European drivers are well trained and reliable

kamal jit pal,

hi i am kamal jit pal i am truck driver from uae 10 years experianc i am 38 year old any vicancy call me 00971503738502

Fed Up,

The Industry is Filling up with Spanish Speaking "drivers". If YOU do NOT fit in to this catagory YOU will be looking for the EXIT from this business SOON.

Deborah Lipsitz,

There may be many job openings out there, but with the average real pay being below $6/hour, and bizarre requirements by employers that doesn't even come close to what the US Department of Labor claims the job entails (most of it unpaid work, btw), it's no wonder that trucking companies are having a hard time finding qualified and experienced drivers. Most, while they publicly claim otherwise, prefer drivers with minimal or no experience, for no other reason than they don't have to pay those drivers as much as they would someone with a lot more experience. I myself have over 16 years OTR experience, an excellent safety record and work history, all CDL endorsements, TWIC, etc. But, for the last year, not one of the several hundred motor carriers in the US has been willing to hire me.

And I know of hundreds of drivers like myself. Now companies are refusing to hire the estimated quarter million unemployed experienced, qualified, and safe CDL holders because, get this, we're unemployed. Of course, they use other bizarre reasons as well. I've heard of companies (verified) that will bring dozens of drivers across the country for orientation (a pre-hire process), and then simply refuse to hire many of them (without any explanation), leaving them stranded hundreds of miles from home and still without a job. Some of the very companies that refuse to hire experienced drivers are some of the loudest complaining of driver shortages, and then they turn around and use the myth of a driver shortage to hire "guest workers" to drive their rigs for half what they would have to pay a student driver born in the US.

As I said, there may be many driving jobs out there. But, I'm betting the author of this article wouldn't dare trade their current job for most of those job openings.

ranjeet singh,

i m
22 year old one year experiance in dubai heavy vehicle 40f container line work mobile no in italy 003 9380 6386790 emil adress

Ron Lappreau,

A long time ago society decided to regard trucking as a bad thing. Not too smart was it?


I drove truck in the U.S. for S,N,I, Although the International Navistars were brand new they were not good. I mean that as a serious understatement. That and the mileages we were expected to cover, downtime at weighbridges, loading and unloading, gettng paid only while the wheels were turning (predicted mileages,)trying to sleep in the back of those cab overs and some of the road conditions were horrendous. Until you address these conditions you are going to have a serious shortfall of drivers. The U.S. trucking system needs turning upside down and inside out....

Pawandeep singh,

hi my name is pawandeep singh from india i am a heavy duty trailer driver i have a u.a.e driving licence and i have 4year experience in dubai.if u have any vacancy then pls send email.


Why is it so difficult to get workforce grants ? I live in indiana and have attempted getting a grant for training for five years .

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