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The Driver Shortage and Your Grocery List

by Anna Mischke | May 25, 2018


Imagine a routine trip to your regular grocery store before heading home after work, only to find that half of the food and beverage you normally purchase isn’t available. It isn’t readily accessible on the shelves because the delivery hasn’t been made to the store yet. Depending on when the next delivery can be made, you’re not sure when you’ll be able to buy that gallon of milk from this trusty shop again. The nation continues to face a growing shortage of commercial drivers and is expected to rocket to 174,000 by 2026 if current trends hold, reports the American Trucking Associations (ATA). The shortage has been deemed at crisis level.

Sean McNally, spokesperson for American Trucking Associations, shared that roughly 71% of all freight tonnage in the United States is moved via truck, equating to more than 10 billion tons per year. With the trucking industry and economy being “inextricably linked”, e-commerce and the accompanying perks including express shipping only add to the deliveries that already struggle to make it to their destination on time.

Due to the continually rising truck driver shortage, retailers are experiencing some of the highest rates in history, according to DAT Solutions senior industry pricing analyst, Mark Montague. Retailers saw a 30% rate increase in April of 2018 compared to the previous year. Those heightened rates then cause retailers to increase their own cost of shipping, membership, and products overall while others are forced to delay shipments.

Drivers, predictably, continue to retire and the crisis only grows worse. With a new generation of workers largely turning away from the trucking industry due to perception of industry lifestyle or they are unable to drive immediately due to regulations, the industry is finding it increasingly difficult to delivery all of the freight necessary to keep the economy moving strongly. In order to continue offering expedited service and maintain with the e-commerce boom, nearly 1 million new drivers will need to join the workforce by 2024 to keep in step with demand.


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  1. J Man | Jun 01, 2018
    Where is this SHORTAGE?!?!??? You can't even drive down most interstates anymore cause its a freight train of trucks..... The only shortage is the big company's cause no one in their right mind would drive for them, That's the reason they have to sucker kids in from school. Also yes the pay is crap only with the big company's, if your a company driver with experience  than shop around cause there's tons of good paying trucking jobs....the smaller the company the better.
  2. C A D | May 30, 2018
    The trucking industry is not as profitable as it should be.  The DM’s expect this, that, and the other, but for little pay. The going rates for runs are an absolute insult.  Truck drivers are the backbone of this country, traveling 24/7 in all elements, hauling many and different commodities, dry, frozen, liquid, and hazardous, and can subject to inspections at any giving time.  If not for us many companies would NOT be able to fullfill the supply & demand status.  Other countries pay their drivers twice the amount for the same type or if not, more crucial runs.   
  3. Trucker one | May 28, 2018

    The trucking industry incurs massive shortages because of all the new regulations placed on the industry since the turn of the century. On top of that as mentioned above, the pay is not much as it should be. There is also a difference in pay from those that ride solo and those that ride as teams. OTR drivers pay is different than that of regional and local. The lifestyle of a trucker is becoming increasingly difficult because it is hard to find a spot to park in the late night. Dispatchers are largely a big part of what is wrong. Its not just the hometime but they try and control how much you can make. Companies are also being sticklers about rules that push drivers out the door because they worry about CSA scores and also on time percentage when there are situations that cause on time problems and CSA issues. Besides you have a lot of people entering the field that are not apt to working hard. They basically think it is given to them. Drivers have a huge responsibility but no one wants to pay for that. 

  4. Joe | May 28, 2018

    The wage in the central valley is not much higher than minimum wage..  To add insult to injury the trucking industry is exempt from paying overtime... 

    Gardner trucking wants to pay $16 per hr lol...Union jobs are ok, but if you cant find a union job ...  forget it...

  5. Nick martinez | May 28, 2018
    A good reason for the driver shortage is due to the uncaring attitude of the uncaring dispatch managers out there. Many of them can care less about their drivers hometime, or whether or not the drivers are at home on time for important family events. Companies should require their DM’s to go out in the road with a driver for a couple of months so that they can see what it’s like being away from one’s loved ones. I have many hears of experience, and I am looking for a job that will keep me busy 3-4 days each week. I have a comfortable retirement coming in every month, but I like to stay active. I get calls often about going to work, but when I tell them that I am not going out on the road for more than a few days at a time, the recruiters go into this “well, then we don’t need you” kind of attitude. At this point, I usually hang up on them. A few minutes later, they call back sayong that we might have “lost signal;” I tell them that we didn’t, and them I hang up again. If they had any brains, they would take a look at the trailers just sitting out there waiting to be hauled somewhere, and say to themselves that it would be better to have a driver who is willing to drive for a few days, and willing to help move some kf those trailers, than to have no drivers. Anyway ... that is not my problem.
  6. W Allen | May 28, 2018
    While I agree with your assessment of the driver shortages I feel that a contributing reason is that driver pay is not being adjusted higher .  Supply and demand

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