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Debunking The Self-Made Driver Shortage Myth

I had this idea come across my desk this week that the driver shortage is a hoax and created by trucking company executives to place leverage in the trucking company’s hands.  I couldn’t help but smile.  The industry intentionally doesn’t hire drivers, so we have a hard time meeting commitments and in result we gain leverage because of the pain we developed artificially?  Pretty humorous, right?

The reality missed is that the leverage isn’t in the trucking company’s hands.  It is in the drivers.  The smart shippers are realizing this and doing everything they can to help company’s like ours to make the lives of the drivers better.  We work hard to do just the same.

The reality is:  even with this hard work done by most of the good trucking company’s:  It doesn’t look good.

According to American Trucking Association and Global Insight; the driver age continues to rise.  The 5% age rise in a decade is alarming to say the least.

I can’t imagine what it is like to have 100% turnover (average for this industry) at a time like this where the replacements are not easily accessible.  It also becomes a challenge for the few of us that have a more reasonable turnover (we had a 22% turnover rate in 2013) because many are now paying large bounties to get our drivers attention.

All of this makes sense to me…. I remember like it was yesterday, it was 1997 when I entered this industry and my father made the bold prediction that one day a truck driver will make more than an airline pilot.  Well, it didn’t happen overnight and we are not there yet, but it appears we surely could be going in that direction.

Lastly, drivers like to make money, but they more want to be part of something too.  If you are in the market of hiring, ask yourself – what do you do that makes you special?  If you don’t think of anything, I would guess that your turnover is closer to 100% than 22%.

Until next week, your assignment is to tell me next time our paths cross one good change the industry can do to make the lives of our drivers better!  To the drivers following this blog, thank you for being America’s lifeline.

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Kottke Trucking, Inc.