Truck Driver Shortage: The Problem At Hand, Its Impact And Solutions To The Issue

The truck driver shortage is a well-known matter of concern among many companies, within the American trucking association, and it is member associations who have been voicing their concerns over this matter for the last 2 decades through multiple avenues of media consumption. The issue has had a massive effect on all levels of businesses and as a result, has become an underlying problem. Let’s learn about ‘Truck Driver Shortage’.

Truck Driver Shortage: The Problem At Hand, Its Impact And Solutions To The Issue

Truck Driver Shortage: The Problem At Hand, Its Impact And Solutions To The Issue

The American trucking industry is facing not only the mass shortage of drivers but also the unanticipated rates of truck drivers turning over to other more feasible jobs. Trucking companies daily are faced with increasing administrative costs and rising managing costs. 

This article will highlight the causes fuelling this issue, the issue itself, and solutions that can help manage or even solve this matter of concern.

The American trucking industry

  • With more than 3 million truckers underemployment, the American trucking industry is a crucial part of America’s economic boom and prosperity. It’s a fact that many Americans unfortunately tend to look over.
  • Every day trucks carry an immense amount of freight and cargo across and into the United States allowing the industry to employ and manage approximately 3.5 million truckers from coast to coast.
  • However, the trucking industry is currently going through a tough phase and there are plenty of reasons to study and analyze their long its term effects.
  • The combination of rising prices of fuel, driver turnovers, and the highest inflation rates not seen since the 2008 crash have caused truck movements across the country to go down, resulting in freight volumes decline, which has impacted the supply chain industry to face constant losses. 

Let us look into these causes for a better understanding of the issue at hand.

Reasons for the shortage of truck drivers

  • The American Trucking Association or the ATA recently reported that the American trucking industry is facing a shortage of close to 80,000 drivers. 
  • The reason for such a vast shortage of truck drivers is the aging population of truck drivers in America. Meaning fewer people want to enter the profession.
  • The average age of a truck driver in America is anywhere from 50 to 60, and several many are expected to retire in the next 5 years. 
  • The number of young people who are entering the profession is unfortunately not enough which would make managing the future shortage a difficult process. 
  • As per ATA reports, less than 10% of truck drivers are aged 30 or less which shows lack of youth is a due factor responsible for this issue. 
  • And if the list of problems weren’t long enough, new regulations from the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) have made the process of getting a commercial driver’s license (CDL) even stricter leading to a decline in the number of people applying for CDLs.
  • Other reasons also affecting the declining rate are constantly long on-road travels, the stressful nature of being on time, the physical tiredness, and at times zero motivation to keep on going.

Its impact on the overall trucking industry and economy

  • With the rate at which the shortage of truck drivers has been on the rise, The American trucking industry will need over 1 million drivers within the next 3 years to somewhat mitigate the looming threats caused by this issue. What threats are we talking about? 
  • Shortage of truck drivers impacts the supply chain and logistics aspects of a business. Since approximately 72.5% of all freight and cargo movement is done by trucks, a healthy amount of individuals are needed to counterbalance the increasing rates year on year.
  • A large portion of the economy relies on truck movements and the services provided by truck drivers. Most of the goods delivered by trucks include different varieties of food, drinking water, raw materials for industries, and other essential resources. 
  • Since nearly 80 % of the United States relies on truck movements to deliver final goods to the final consumer, scarcity of essential items and resources can create a huge disparity between demand and supply. 
  • In short, the higher the truck movement, the higher the rate of transportation of goods and services to factories, industries, warehouses, etc. and as a result, a constant rate of demand and supply.

Essential initiatives

The issue of the lack of truck drivers is a complex one with no definitive answer. However, steps are being taken by the government and companies alike to reduce the tightening grip of this crisis and provide some much-needed relief to the American trucking industry and the American economy. The following steps are:

  • Increase Driver Pay: Most trucking companies are willing to offer higher pay, coupled with a comprehensive benefits package to keep their truckers from retiring and turning over to other jobs.
  • Reducing barriers to getting CDLs: DOT (dept. of transport) and FMCSA are in favor of various state depts. of motor vehicles who are willing to issue CDLs to people at a healthy rate and even bring young truck drivers to the road who can help match market demands with efficiency.
  • Reducing turnovers: The US government in partnership with companies has introduced registered apprenticeships. The aim of introducing an established program into the trucking industry is to enhance workforce training within the industry and reduce career turnovers.
  • Recruiting veterans: As per govt-backed data, there are about 70,000 veterans who very likely have certified trucking experience. The govt via multiple initiatives wants to connect job-seeking veterans with trucking associations and companies that require committed and skilled drivers.


The American trucking industry is the backbone of many businesses whether big or small across America which is why its core issue; the driver shortage is impacting the American economy and businesses negatively. The problem is one that can be fixed, but it will be a long process.

Truck Driver Shortage: The Problem At Hand, Its Impact And Solutions To The Issue

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