Why is there a truck driver shortage in the United States?


The trucking industry is an important component of business in the United States. Truck drivers spend continuous hours transporting products between different companies all throughout the country. However, within the past decade, there has been a shortage in truck drivers. For most students, they tend to follow what other people do rather than explore high demand positions. If this shortage isn’t solved soon, it will directly affect companies and their customers. Here are five reasons why there is a truck driver shortage along with some possible solutions.

Truck Driver Ages

Currently, the average age of truckers ranges from 45 – 55 years old. This shows that most truck drivers will be retired within the next 15 to 20 years. With this age range dominating the trucker population, there won’t be many people left to do the job. The starting age for a trucker is 21, giving a three-year gap in between high school graduation and eligibility. During this time, it is very likely that these young people will find a better job offer that they are likely to stick with. One way to fix this shortage would be to change the minimum age for trucker eligibility. Another solution would be to give benefits to older truckers so that they are more likely to retire later in life.

Trucking Lifestyle

Secondly, the shortage is caused by the truck driving lifestyle. This occupation requires a lot of travel. Truckers are not home often. When they are home, it’s not for very long. It is also common for truck drivers to have sleep deprivation. Often, drivers will skip sleep breaks in order to get to their destination faster. This also causes a safety issue on the road. Another negative aspect of their lifestyle is eating habits. Most food options at truck stops or highway rest areas are unhealthy options, such as fast food chains. Because of this, long-term truckers are at a higher risk of having health issues later in life. The trucker lifestyle could be improved by offering less hours to allow more home time. Companies could also create a budget for healthier food options for truckers.

Hours And Timelines

Hours and deadlines can drive potential employees away from the industry. Truck drivers are constantly from week to week, often driving continuously throughout the day for each job. Since they are paid the same no matter how long the trip takes, they are more likely to skip breaks to make the trip go faster, causing them to violate truck accident laws in the process. This may finish the job quickly, but it makes the truckers more tired because the lack of their breaks. To fix this, truckers could be scheduled further apart so they have more recovery time in between jobs. Companies could also offer more pay if the truckers take more time to deliver. This could promote a safer trip for the drivers and keep them in better health.

Average Paycheck

Many people think that truck drivers make a lot of money. This is true when it concerns private drivers. Self-employed truckers are able to demand more pay for each job, and they are generally the most reliable choice. However, many companies choose to hire their own truck drivers. These drivers aren’t paid as much. Some even have a pay gap. No matter how long the driver has worked, they are averaged in with the newer drivers, who are paid less. Additionally, if these more experienced drivers were to ask for a raise, they are more likely to be replaced than obliged to. This is a mistake of trucking companies because hiring newer drivers will most likely lead to more risk. If these companies were willing to keep their older drivers and pay more, they would be able to keep their more experienced drivers.

Trucking Efficiency

The lack of efficiency of the trucking business is one of the main reasons why there is a shortage in drivers. In this business, there are a lot of scheduling issues. Truckers will drive to a location to deliver. After completing a deliver, they next pick up location could be anywhere. In fact, 1 out of every 5 trucks on the road are empty. This raises the costs of trucking because there is more travel being done by these drivers. As a result, truck drivers end up wasting precious time and resources too. Companies could benefit greatly if they looked for jobs in similar locations for their drivers. This boost in efficiency could even delay the future shortage that is expected.

These are all contributing reasons why there is a truck driver shortage in the United States. The average age of most truck drivers is getting closer to retirement. The younger generation is not interested in the trucking lifestyle. Moreover, truck drivers have to manage long hours and tight deadlines while not receiving a very high salary. Overall, the efficiency of the industry can discourage truck drivers from continuing their jobs. All of these factors contribute to the shortage of truck drivers in the US.