What To Do About The Driver Shortage?

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Eddie F.'s Comment
member avatar

Hey all: I am a company driver with three years experience. I'm looking on moving into the business side of the logistics industry, and one of my contacts there has asked my to do some analysis of the driver shortage -- the causes, and most importantly what companies should do about it.

I have some of my own ideas and opinions, and I'll be doing my own research, but I know there are a lot of guys on here with way more experience than I, and I'm interested in hearing what ya'll think. If the CEO of a mid-sized company were to ask your opinion on what he could do to attract and keep more drivers, what would you say?

"More pay" is an obvious answer, but I want to find things that companies/the industry can or should do without dramatically altering their budgets. Also, I'm looking for things that *companies* can do, not DOT.

Any thoughts or suggestions welcome. If there's a good thread or article you want to share, that would be great, too. Thanks!

DOT:

Department Of Transportation

A department of the federal executive branch responsible for the national highways and for railroad and airline safety. It also manages Amtrak, the national railroad system, and the Coast Guard.

State and Federal DOT Officers are responsible for commercial vehicle enforcement. "The truck police" you could call them.

PackRat's Comment
member avatar

Driver shortage? It's a myth.

Here's some research you can perform: How many new CDLs are issued in the USA each year?

CDL:

Commercial Driver's License (CDL)

A CDL is required to drive any of the following vehicles:

  • Any combination of vehicles with a gross combined weight rating (GCWR) of 26,001 or more pounds, providing the gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) of the vehicle being towed is in excess of 10,000 pounds.
  • Any single vehicle with a GVWR of 26,001 or more pounds, or any such vehicle towing another not in excess of 10,000 pounds.
  • Any vehicle, regardless of size, designed to transport 16 or more persons, including the driver.
  • Any vehicle required by federal regulations to be placarded while transporting hazardous materials.
Stevo Reno's Comment
member avatar

But Packy, issued what about either never used, or lost due to incompetence by the newbie CDL holder.....Me thinks, they make it kinda seem like a shortage, due to the fact these companies, buying new trucks, faster than they can fill the seats too.....Lots of trucking companies have a glut of trucks sitting unused

CDL:

Commercial Driver's License (CDL)

A CDL is required to drive any of the following vehicles:

  • Any combination of vehicles with a gross combined weight rating (GCWR) of 26,001 or more pounds, providing the gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) of the vehicle being towed is in excess of 10,000 pounds.
  • Any single vehicle with a GVWR of 26,001 or more pounds, or any such vehicle towing another not in excess of 10,000 pounds.
  • Any vehicle, regardless of size, designed to transport 16 or more persons, including the driver.
  • Any vehicle required by federal regulations to be placarded while transporting hazardous materials.
Bobcat_Bob's Comment
member avatar

It all comes to money and probably home time.

Pay more and more people will be interested this is often glossed over but is probably the easiest aspect to fix. Also having to be out 2 plus weeks at a time makes it extremely difficult for anyone with a family.

Rob T.'s Comment
member avatar

Eddie this is tough to answer because everyone places a higher importance on different things. One major thing I dislike about many trucking jobs is they're paid by the mile. For most people entering this industry they've always been paid from the time they start their day until they go home. In their mind if they're earning 50 CPM and doing 70 mph they're making $35/hr if you break it down that to hourly pay. That's great, but they're not earning anything while sitting and waiting to be loaded/unloaded. Many people view it as working for free. Personally I'll do what I can to continue being paid hourly with OT. Others (including many on this forum) love the concept of being paid by the mile. One thing my local (regional?) Home daily job does that keeps everyone happy is give us the choice on how we're paid. Work Saturday and Sunday you can make $31/hr for all hours. Otherwise you can do hourly with OT after 40 that starts around $24 now I believe (I'm at $28 after 3 years) with an additional $1 for all hours that week if you work Saturday and Sunday. Otherwise they'll pay you somewhere around 51 CPM and $32 per stop. We deliver to grocery stores so we're not an OTR company but everyone seems to be happy with how they're paid. We also get to choose our own routes daily based on seniority.

One thing I've seen some OTR companies are doing is allowing drivers to give their preferred area to run and what area they don't want to run. Having flexible home time options would be wonderful. Some drivers live out of their trucks and don't take hometime very often. Others want to be able to be home every weekend or swing by the house a couple times a week. I think the biggest advantage to attracting drivers is keeping your current drivers happy and being flexible. Drivers talk and if they're happy they're likely to share with others. A great example of this is a few weeks ago someone popped in and talked about their experience they've had with Marten. It drew quite a bit of attention and others showed interest in moving over there. Likewise, other companies that somebody had a terrible experience with make some people second guess going to work there.

Regional:

Regional Route

Usually refers to a driver hauling freight within one particular region of the country. You might be in the "Southeast Regional Division" or "Midwest Regional". Regional route drivers often get home on the weekends which is one of the main appeals for this type of route.

OTR:

Over The Road

OTR driving normally means you'll be hauling freight to various customers throughout your company's hauling region. It often entails being gone from home for two to three weeks at a time.

CPM:

Cents Per Mile

Drivers are often paid by the mile and it's given in cents per mile, or cpm.

OWI:

Operating While Intoxicated

OOS:

When a violation by either a driver or company is confirmed, an out-of-service order removes either the driver or the vehicle from the roadway until the violation is corrected.

BK's Comment
member avatar

Things would be much better if company policies had more driver input . But drivers are drowned out by lawyers and insurance companies. I doubt that will ever change.

I think someone on this forum made the comment that there is not a shortage of drivers; there is a shortage of good drivers.

C T.'s Comment
member avatar

You answered your own question basically. Not sure about other drivers, but pay is my number one concern with a carrier. You can have the nicest trucks, great dispatchers, great home time or whatever else, but if you're paying .35 cpm there's not much to go on.

Dispatcher:

Dispatcher, Fleet Manager, Driver Manager

The primary person a driver communicates with at his/her company. A dispatcher can play many roles, depending on the company's structure. Dispatchers may assign freight, file requests for home time, relay messages between the driver and management, inform customer service of any delays, change appointment times, and report information to the load planners.

CPM:

Cents Per Mile

Drivers are often paid by the mile and it's given in cents per mile, or cpm.

Davy A.'s Comment
member avatar

I'm sure there are a lot of short drivers but not much can be done about it after puberty.

But in all seriousness. Base hourly pay should be higher. The reason I say that is because most other trades are starting to climb, but they have been held artificially low for decades. Skilled trades in general should be much closer to the 40 per hour mark if they were rising as most other professions.

While many of us do get paid by the mile, which is by definition, piecework, we don't get the benefits of piecework pricing as other industries do for peripheral items.

For example. The more difficult and time consuming a particular load or job is, typical price increase would be 20 percent or more. Waiting would be paid so that you would be making usually more than your piecework rate during the time period. Pre trip would be paid, and virtually. Anything and everything has a dollar value attached to it. Any piece you do is paid.

Another item is that the pieceworker is able to negotiate their rates in most other industries. A trade off takes place, some extras we may not charge or charge lower rates in exchange for different runs or a higher rate elsewhere. That being said, there is a basic rate that the market will pay and workers will still perform well at.

As was said, it's tough to quantify because there are so many motivating factors. It's not to say that a top performing driver can't make excellent money currently, as we can. But I also think the flip side of it is than many if not most failures are self induced from drivers having poor performance and unrealistic expectations.

G-Town's Comment
member avatar

Missing keyword... QUALIFIED.

Jasper's Comment
member avatar

Wonder where all the drivers are? Look at all the drivers that make their on time deliveries waiting to be loaded at the warehouses. Some drivers wait up to 20 hours or more when they could be making other deliveries.

Companies should put more pressure on these warehouses that can't get their act together. Same with shipping yards, this hurry up and wait is nonsense. It's not so much of a driver shortage as it is a driver not driving instead of driving.

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