No Ease in Sight for U.S. Truck Driver Shortage

The American Trucking Associations estimates that the shortfall will double in 10 years.

August 02, 2019

ALRINGTON, Va.—The U.S. truck driver shortfall is not slowing down. A recent study by the American Trucking Associations (ATA) shows that the driver shortage jumped more than 10,000 to hit 60,800 last year, Bloomberg reports.

While the deficit will slow a little because of a slight dip in freight demand, the relief isn’t long-term in an industry with aging drivers, especially in long haul, said Bob Costello, ATA chief economist. “If things do not change, that’s where we will end up,” he said. “At some point, you go from being an operational pain-in-the-neck for the supply chain to real issues for all of us as consumers.”

Trucking companies have offered higher pay and are actively recruiting former military, young people and women. “The trucking industry needs to find ways to attract more and younger drivers,” Costello said. “Right now, the average age of an over-the-road driver is 46 years old, and almost as alarming is that the average age of a new driver being trained is 35 years old.

In order to meet the nation’s freight demand, the trucking industry will need to hire 1.1 million new drivers over the next decade—an average of 110,000 per year to replace retiring drivers and keep up with growth in the economy.