Driver Shortages in the U.S. Trucking Industry


By Brent Peterson – Vice President, Director of Industrial Brokerage

According to a recent USA Today article, “Trucking companies nationwide are about 60,000 drivers short; a gap that is expected to grow in the coming years and could threaten U.S. supply chains.”

The American Trucking Association warns driver shortages could reach six-figures by 2024.  As over the road, truckers continue to age and head into retirement, the question becomes who will continue to fill the need and what does the future of this vital industry look like?

There is a constant need to keep recruiting drivers given the shortage of drivers currently facing the truck industry.  While hiring, training and retaining drivers over the long-term is crucial and has its challenges, it all begins with the recruitment of the right candidates and giving them a reason to stay.  To this end, benefits for truck drivers have become more crucial than ever because all motor carriers are facing the driver shortage.  Above industry-standard benefits, could mean the difference between a fleet of drivers that stick around and one that leaves looking for better perks.

Consider these five benefits that could help the driver retention:

  1. Find ways to attract more drivers through incentives, including becoming their owner-operators, owning their rig and equipment and more workforce training.
  2. Make improvements in efficiency and comfort in big rig trucks.  Truck drivers spend a considerable amount of time in these vehicles. We need to ensure they are safe and comfortable.
  3. Consider having more distribution centers, smaller in size in more cities so truck drivers have fewer nights away from home, making their personal lives and lifestyle less disruptive.
  4. Have more teams of two people driving together to relieve each other and make the job less lonely. Isolation is a huge reason for the turnover in the trucking industry.  Setting up a team environment could ease the burden of individual drivers.
  5. Start paying more money with more competitive retirement packages and health benefits.