What To Do About The Driver Shortage?

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Anne A. (and sometimes To'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.

Which someone?!?!?

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

I could count 20, but I just painted my toenails, hehe!

~ Anne ~

I just 'GOOGLED' .. the 'real' reason for Driver Shortages. I'm done for tonight, but this one stuck: I actually came across it last week. You should read some of these, as you're healing & hunting, BK!

Change Must Occur!

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.

If you'll READ this article, others cited, and similar in SO MANY good reads for drivers sites ... It pretty much is agreed.

~ Anne ~

Glenbob's Comment
member avatar

I found the FMCSA report of 75+k CDL holders who tested positive or alcohol incidence in 2020/2021 staggering. Coupled with the average age of professional drivers could factor into a perceived shortage.

As newbie I’m 62 and know I don’t have many years to go but being willing to work goes along way. Out of my orientation class in January I’m the only one that completed the hiring process. Since that date the terminal has retrieved four trucks from drivers. Two trainees quit during the OTR training. I haven’t been around long enough to have history of the industry. However, as a business owner myself I know the challenges of hiring and retaining the current generation of workers. After 12 yrs of trying to get others to work. I sold out to my partners. The hiring pool of workers with good work ethic is shallow. competition for there service is sought across all industries. A quick google search will provide interesting articles concerning retention in the trucking industry.

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.

Terminal:

A facility where trucking companies operate out of, or their "home base" if you will. A lot of major companies have multiple terminals around the country which usually consist of the main office building, a drop lot for trailers, and sometimes a repair shop and wash facilities.

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.

CSA:

Compliance, Safety, Accountability (CSA)

The CSA is a Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) initiative to improve large truck and bus safety and ultimately reduce crashes, injuries, and fatalities that are related to commercial motor vehicle

FMCSA:

Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration

The FMCSA was established within the Department of Transportation on January 1, 2000. Their primary mission is to prevent commercial motor vehicle-related fatalities and injuries.

What Does The FMCSA Do?

  • Commercial Drivers' Licenses
  • Data and Analysis
  • Regulatory Compliance and Enforcement
  • Research and Technology
  • Safety Assistance
  • Support and Information Sharing

Fm:

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.
Pacific Pearl's Comment
member avatar

The, "driver shortage" is a myth perpetuated by the American Trucking Association, whose members have an annual driver turnover of 92%. They never waste an opportunity to have a press conference about their, "driver shortage". Most articles mentioning a, "driver shortage" have quotes from the ATA in them. They have plenty of solutions to solve the, "driver shortage". Whether it's training high school students to drive trucks or handing out special visas to foreigners to come to the US their, "solutions" all have one thing in common - flooding the market with less qualified drivers so they can pay their drivers less. You know who doesn't think there's a, "driver shortage" - the US Labor Department. They know that if there were an actual driver shortage driver pay would be going up, attracting new people to the industry and correcting the shortage.

What I don't see from employers is new ideas. You want OTR drivers to live on the road for weeks at a time for less than I make driving dedicated? Why would anyone do that? Here's a thought - set up a drop yard every 600 miles or so. You can offer your customers expedited service without having team drivers. A driver would start his week at his local drop yard. Go to the next yard in the network 600 miles down the road where another driver would be waiting to take the load further - like a relay. The first driver takes his 10 hour break then takes a different trailer back to his starting location. After he drops his trailer he goes home for the night. The next day he starts work and takes another trailer to the next yard in the network. After his 10 hour break he drives a new trailer to his home yard and goes home for his 10 hour break. On day 5 he can shuttle trailers back and forth between his local yard and the shippers and receivers. The driver is looking at ~3,000 miles/wk and is only on the road two nights a week with weekends off. Why hasn't anyone looked at this more driver friendly way of doing things?

Another issue is just finding a driving job. If I go to a job board I can search for CDL jobs and get hundreds of listings every day. Now, if I search for driver-facing camera, slip seating, touch freight or vaccine requirement it comes up with NOTHING with no way to screen for these things. Most of the time you don't even know what a job pays. Yeah, they'll give some jive about xx cpm or $xx/hr. not what the job pays. These companies know what their drivers are averaging per week/month but most won't just give you that information. There's no way for me to create a profile saying I have XX years of experience with no tickets/incidents/accidents or DUI's with T,X endorsements and a TWIC card and I want no touch freight in an assigned truck without a driver-facing camera with at least 48 hours at home per week with $1,500/wk minimum and no clot shot. Why not?

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.

Shipper:

The customer who is shipping the freight. This is where the driver will pick up a load and then deliver it to the receiver or consignee.

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.

TWIC:

Transportation Worker Identification Credential

Truck drivers who regularly pick up from or deliver to the shipping ports will often be required to carry a TWIC card.

Your TWIC is a tamper-resistant biometric card which acts as both your identification in secure areas, as well as an indicator of you having passed the necessary security clearance. TWIC cards are valid for five years. The issuance of TWIC cards is overseen by the Transportation Security Administration and the Department of Homeland Security.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.

DUI:

Driving Under the Influence

BK's Comment
member avatar

The cell phone is an indispensable item for all drivers. Some companies provide a phone or give a phone allowance. But other companies take advantage of their drivers and don’t compensate them for their phone, which phone benefits the company as much as the driver.

Once, my phone went on the fritz while I was on the road. You really can’t appreciate how vital the phone is to a driver until it doesn’t work anymore. I had to declare DEFCON 4 and scramble to a store for another phone and the additional expense. The company should bear this expense and the monthly charge. That is my pet peeve.

Steve L.'s Comment
member avatar

I agree with many of the suggestions here, but the CEO of that company is going to have to define "dramatically altering their budgets."

Pay - as one said; the driver sitting without pay is horrible. If a shipper/receiver is supposed to have the load ready, or receive the load by an appointment time AND the driver is there on-time, detention ought to be paid if the driver isn't unloaded in a reasonable time. Who defines reasonable? I say if the driver has to sit two hours (because two hours seems to be a normal allowable time) BEFORE being backed to a dock, the driver should be paid detention for that time. E.g. currently, the driver arrives ontime, sits 2+ hours, then an hour at the dock and only gets one hour detention pay. BUT, other companies and independent owner/operators may not charge the customer that. So, guess which companies will get the business.

Hometime - I like the hub idea of 600 miles and take another trailer back. But what if there aren't loads going right back to the same place? How many of us have picked up from paper mills in the middle of the woods, switchback roads and such, the load goes to a bigger city area, but no frieght going right back to the woods? Plus, how much will that land/maintenance of the drop yard cost? Some larger companies have the ability to do this currently, but not most smaller ones. Maybe a partnership agreement can be done between companies...good luck with that.

Equipment - All the safety stuff sounds great and I imagine the insurance companies pressure Trucking companies to take it so they get a discount on their premiums. Unfortunately, some of that equipment has sensitivities set really high. I had a truck a while back, where the beeping and auto slow-down started about 5 truck/trailer lengths back. I had to get in the left lane (which really irks the four wheelers) so far back, and with the truck governed at 67mph, it took five miles to pass another truck doing (I think) 65. Unfortunately I don't think there's an easy answer to this because each entity is only looking out for their best interest; i.e. the insurance company wants least risk at little/no cost to them, the trucking company wants low insurance rates/costs of operation (while ignoring the overall cost of all that equipment and qualified techs to adjust it), blah, blah, blah.

In the end, shippers don't want to pay more. Consumers don't want to pay more. Government rips everyone off by taking the tax dollars and claiming they'll do "infrastructure" repairs, while interstates are in horrible shape, blah, blah, blah.

I know this all sounds negative. But you want to know what needs fixing? Society. A majority of people want to get theirs while sacrificing nothing.

Shipper:

The customer who is shipping the freight. This is where the driver will pick up a load and then deliver it to the receiver or consignee.

Interstate:

Commercial trade, business, movement of goods or money, or transportation from one state to another, regulated by the Federal Department Of Transportation (DOT).

Steve L.'s Comment
member avatar

Oh yeah. Forgot to mention grocery warehouses. Why should drivers have to wait for lumpers to count the items? If the shippers sealed the trailer and the seal is in tact upon arrival, unload the trailer and let ‘em roll on.

These places can cause drivers many hours of sitting. And detention pay doesn’t come close to making up for lost mileage pay. 😎

Shipper:

The customer who is shipping the freight. This is where the driver will pick up a load and then deliver it to the receiver or consignee.

James H.'s Comment
member avatar

I agree with many of the suggestions here, but the CEO of that company is going to have to define "dramatically altering their budgets."

He means a greater percentage of the value the business generates would go to employee pay rather than to executive compensation and shareholders. In other words, the exact opposite of the economic trends of the last fifty years or so.

Andrey's Comment
member avatar

It is hard to tell whether driver shortage is real or not, especially when there is no clear definition of 'shortage' - are we talking about any drivers, including those who are straight from school, or about drivers with a few or more years of experience? Look at a typical big company with 1000+ trucks and its own school. I was trained at Roehl, but assume that other companies are similar. Every week Roehl produces about a 100 new CDL holders, which is 1000+ a year. It may look like drivers get their licenses, pay for them by staying with a company for one year and then leave. In fact, it is more complicated, because a lot of new drivers do not finish their first year and either quit driving, or go to second-chance companies, or downgrade to class B. I think companies are interested in having more inexperienced disposable drivers, so if there is a shortage, it is the shortage of good experienced drivers.

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.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.
BK's Comment
member avatar

This was before my time with the company, but the story goes that the widow of the company owner donated 20 million dollars to a local college she and her late husband attended. This caused a great amount of resentment among the drivers at that time because they felt that the money should have gone to the drivers who enabled her to have that much money.

Steve L said: “…you want to know what needs fixing? Society. A majority of people want to get theirs while sacrificing nothing.”

Very well said, sir. I couldn’t agree more. But sadly I’m not holding my breath for that to happen.

BK's Comment
member avatar

It is hard to tell whether driver shortage is real or not, especially when there is no clear definition of 'shortage' - are we talking about any drivers, including those who are straight from school, or about drivers with a few or more years of experience? Look at a typical big company with 1000+ trucks and its own school. I was trained at Roehl, but assume that other companies are similar. Every week Roehl produces about a 100 new CDL holders, which is 1000+ a year. It may look like drivers get their licenses, pay for them by staying with a company for one year and then leave. In fact, it is more complicated, because a lot of new drivers do not finish their first year and either quit driving, or go to second-chance companies, or downgrade to class B. I think companies are interested in having more inexperienced disposable drivers, so if there is a shortage, it is the shortage of good experienced drivers.

Andrey, I think you did your math wrong. 100 new CDL holders every week for a year would total 5200. Are you sure that 100 per week number is correct? Sounds high to me.

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.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.
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