The American Trucking Association (ATA)  has concluded that trucking companies are currently about 60,000 drivers  short. “This gap is only expected to grow and could reach 6 figures by 2024, said  ATA’s  Chief Economist, Bob Costello.  


“The increase in the driver shortage should be a warning to carriers, shippers and policymakers,” Costello said,  because if conditions don’t change substantively, our industry could be short just over 100,000 drivers in five years and 160,000 drivers in 2028.”  


This shortage of drivers will lead to a combination of  higher  prices  for goods  and more of outofstock items. This greatly affects perishable items, according to the University of South Carolina’s Management Science Professor, Mark Ferguson.  

Swafford Trucking’s  transportation manager Vernon Rutland says his warehouse and transport company turns away two to three jobs a month because they can’t find the drivers they need.  


Swafford Trucking used to pay their entry-level drivers between $17  and  $18 per hour and now have felt the pressure to increase rates to retain drivers.  


Some truck drivers believe the shortage is due to the new  regulations on in-vehicle  electronic  logging devices (ELDs), which mandates that drivers can only drive their vehicles for up to 11  hours before having to take a  10-hour  break.  


According to an estimate by the FMCSA, ELDs will help save about 26 lives and prevent up to 562 injuries every year. Fleets with ELDs  receive much  better insurance premiums because it has been proven ELDs increase fleet safety and  insurance  companies offer much better rates than to fleets without ELDs.  


What’s really causing this shortage?  

According to the South Carolina Trucking Association, the top  two factors contributing to truck driver shortage are  retirement rates and stigma associated with truck drivers 


A lot of truck drivers are starting to  retire, and not enough young drivers are entering the workforce  to make up for the lossIn most cases, if young, new drivers do enter the trucking industry,  they are doing so without adequate training, making it difficult for them to avoid fines or stay on the job.  


To combat the  shortage, SC  Trucking Association President, Rick Todd,  said his association  is  heavily recruiting in high schools. “We want to show these kids these are good, all-American jobs.”  


Individuals looking to enter the industry as a truck driver can look to technical colleges and institutes for proper training and courses. 





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