HARLINGEN, Texas (ValleyCentral) — The American Trucking Association (ATA) said since the pandemic a shortage in truck drivers has become a major problem.
Bob Costello, Chief Economist for the ATA, said the shortage is a problem that takes more than one solution to solve.
“The hard part here is we have a driver shortage for a whole host of reasons, which means there’s no one solution to how you solve this problem,” said Costello.
Costello said the shortage of drivers right now is the worst they have ever seen, partially because of the pandemic.
“A couple of years ago we were at 61,000, I have every reason to believe it is more than that now and the pandemic has exacerbated it,” said Costello.
The root of the cause of the driver shortage, Costello says, is a list of reasons having to do with demographics.
“It’s demographics, high average age, it is demographic in terms of females. Females make up 47% of the workforce but there are only 7% of drivers.” Costello said the long hours on the job doesn’t help, “it is also a lifestyle where you know you’re out on the road for a period of time at best 5-6 days until you get home but there are drivers that are out on the road 2-3 weeks before they get home.”
Molly Bazan with One Stop CDL Driving Training said they see veteran drivers quit because they want to spend more time with their families. Costello said one of the ways they make drivers stay and attract new drivers is with pay.
“The good thing is pay is going up and pay is increasing 5 times the historical average.” Costello added that also includes “sign-on bonuses.”