Recently, our small panel of highly qualified truckers talked about long-haul trucking as a career. This week, they look at the question of whether there is, as many media outlets have claimed, a real driver shortage.
Richard: There is a driver shortage, but it’s not so much a lack of manpower as a lack of good drivers. The major training companies are kicking out thousands of new drivers every week; there are plenty of steering wheel holders, even though not so many are good drivers.
Turnover is high in this industry, and as often as not, the best drivers are leaving first, because they won’t put up with the nonsense. I love this job, but it’s increasingly becoming not worth the hassle.
As for the American Trucking Association’s (ATA) statements [in the Post article] regarding the “driver shortage,” the ATA doesn’t really represent the driver; they are more of a lobbying group for the largest carriers, and their goals may not be the same as the drivers.
Clint: The cry for more drivers has led to companies hiring quantity versus quality. I am more nervous around other trucks than I am cars. It is a scary truth. In my honest opinion, the American Trucking Associations, which represents the industry, isn’t ever going to quit crying “driver shortage” until every member company has a team in every truck. After eight years of trucking, this change has me on the edge of selling out and looking for a different income.
Kari: I don’t think there is one. I think there’s a qualified driver shortage. You’ve got people attending CDL (commercial driver’s license school) for three weeks and going out with a trainer who only has three months experience. We talked to a CR England driver last week splitting 28 cents per mile. The recruiter lied to him. Imagine.