Driver Shortage Remains A Concern

by Jul 14, 2022Idealease, News, Truck Driver Safety

Recently, I was in a meeting with safety directors of fleets that are members of the National Private Truck Council. As we went around the room discussing the number one issue facing their companies today, it was unanimous that the driver shortage was their main concern.
The pressure on the trucking industry to help satisfy America’s growing consumption increases every year. Between now and 2027, the amount of freight moved by trucks is expected to jump by 27 percent. Meeting that demand will not be an easy task for the nation’s trucking companies, especially since America’s supply of drivers continues to dwindle. The ATA estimates that the industry will need more than 96,000 new drivers annually for the next 10 years to keep pace with consumer spending. Very few industries – especially those at the heart of the economy – face such a daunting challenge.

A large percentage (45%) of these new drivers will be required merely to meet the shortfall created due to current drivers retiring; 33% will be required just to keep up with an increase in demand. With the supply of qualified drivers at this time considerably low, driver salaries are expected to keep rising as an incentive to retain existing drivers, with many transport companies looking into innovative measures to entice old drivers to stay and new drivers to join the business.

What are you doing to retain the good drivers that you have today?

The following are some tips for consideration to retain the good drivers you have:

  1. Review for your company policies and procedures for honesty with your drivers.  Make sure the policies are forthright and achievable by your drivers.  The number one reason a driver leaves the employment of a motor carrier is that the driver feels that the company has been dishonest with them.
  2. Drivers need to be recognized as an asset to the company and a valued part of the company in all aspects of their operations and performance.
  3. Involve drivers in the operations of your company on a regular basis, i.e.: equipment selection, accident review committees, policy and procedure issues, customer service relationships etc.  Develop a relationship with your drivers, know who they are, show a genuine concern for their welfare and longevity with the company. This relationship should be consistent from the top management and ownership down.
  4. Review your pay and benefit programs to make sure they are competitive in the industry.
  5. Keep your vehicle maintained with a systematic maintenance and inspection program that insures a safe operating unit for your driver.
  6. Provide ongoing training.  It has been proven that drivers that receive training and are elevated in position are less likely to leave your company.
  7. Strictly adhere to your driver hiring and selection standards.  Qualified, experienced drivers do not want to be associated with a company that hires substandard drivers.
  8. Provide a structured and comprehensive new driver orientation-training program.  Drivers need to know the policies and procedures of the company prior to being placed into service.  If the driver is informed of polices-procedures after being placed into service they will likely terminate, as they do not know what other polices-procedures they will be required to comply with in their job later.
  9. Recognize drivers for their achievements and performance.  Safe driving awards, longevity awards, customer service, etc.  Provide the drivers with recognition that they cannot get anywhere else. The recognition should be personalized to the driver…. Coats with their name and achievement, decals for the side of their units with their first name and achievement, plaques, etc.  All driver recognition should take place with other drivers as their peers in attendance.
  10. When a driver terminates employment, conduct an exit interview. This can be done in person or send a self-addressed stamped envelope to the driver with a written evaluation to be completed.  Try to determine what the actual reason for the driver leaving your employment.

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