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Truck Driver Shortage – Here We Go Again

Feb
26,
2010
8

Waiting for a loadHere we go again.  Talks about a major truck driver shortage is rearing its ugly head again.  Trucking companies are having such a difficult time filling truck driving job positions, even in this economy.  I wonder what all you CDL students, graduates and veteran drivers out there who have found it almost impossible to get hired, think about this?

Once again, the media is throwing out the fear of a driver shortage, thus the possibility of the rise in the price of goods.   According to one report concerning the driver shortage, trucking companies just cannot find enough drivers to fill the need.  Are they looking?   I receive emails daily from CDL graduates and veteran drivers who have applied everywhere and still, no hire.   A driver shortage?   Here we go again . . .

CDL students who graduated anywhere from six months to a year ago, have still not been able to land a job, even through the so-called “job assistance” program offered by many of these CDL truck driving schools.   Where exactly are you trucking companies looking for drivers?  They are everywhere.  Another aspect that may help, is to classify professional truckers as “skilled” labor and not unskilled labor.   The safe handling of an 18-wheeler is not skilled?   According to the labor department, it is not.

Another aspect you may want to consider is how you treat your drivers.  It’s just the same old story that goes on and on and on . . .

Not long ago we were being told that there were too many drivers, and now . . . we are facing a truck driver shortage . . . again.   Come on now, there is no, nor has there ever been a truck driver shortage.   Are we going down this old road again?  Look around . . . many drivers are trying to find a driving job, but you’re not hiring them.  Why?  If there is a fear of a driver shortage, why are you not hiring?

Keep pushing your drivers to run illegal . . . keep from getting them home when they want to go home . . . keep using new drivers as a form of cheap labor . . . keep pushing out experienced, veteran drivers . . . keep putting more hardships on owner operators . . . keep them sitting for 2-3 days . . . keep giving them low miles . . . and by all means, keep hauling cheap freight . . . continue doing all of these things that have been going on for years, and some day . . . you just might have a real driver shortage.

Some analysts’ are reporting that the trucking industry is improving and larger companies are taking on more freight.  The industry may be improving, but only because of downsizing and the failure of many smaller trucking companies.   The failing of these companies will only be adding more experienced drivers into the job market, so where is the driver shortage?  Furthermore,  I hardly see where the failing of many smaller companies are a reason for celebration.

Once again, the media jumps on the remarks by these trucking companies and the fear of a driver shortage is appearing once more.

Give me a break.

Allen Smith

© 2010, Allen Smith. All rights reserved.

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By: Allen Smith

Allen Smith is a 37 year veteran who started at an early age in a household goods family moving business. He began driving straight trucks in 1977 and moved to the big rigs in 1982. His experience within the industry includes; owner operator, company driver, operations manager, and owner of a long distance HHG moving business, taking many of the long haul moves himself when needed. Allen Smith, a truck driver advocate who is driven by the desire to help others succeed within an industry where injustice, unrewarded sacrifice, and lack of respect and recognition exists. Allen and his wife Donna are hosts of Truth About Trucking ”Live” on Blog Talk Radio. Other websites include AskTheTrucker, TruckingSocialMedia, NorthAmericanTruckingALerts, TruthAboutTrucking, and many Social Media websites. In 2011 Allen and Donna hosted the first Truck Driver Social Media Convention, designed to create unity and solutions for the trucking industry. This is now being extended through the North American Trucking Alerts network as those within the industry join forces for the betterment of the industry. Allen strongly supports other industry advocates who are also stepping up to the plate to help those who share honesty, guidance and direction. He believes that all those involved in trucking need to be accountable for their part within the industry, including drivers, carriers, brokers, shippers, receivers, etc… The list of supporters and likeminded people grow daily, networking together and sharing thoughts and ideas for the betterment of trucking. He has coined the popular phrase "Raising the standards of the trucking industry"

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8 Responses to Truck Driver Shortage – Here We Go Again. - Post a Comment

  1. Mike M

    Nice blog. Way to cut through the media’s smoke screen. To tell you the truth, I never gave much thought to the “driver shortage” claims. One of our drivers was recently layed off and he found three jobs in three weeks, but none of them had the miles or benefits of his former position.

  2. Allen Smith

    Trucking companies and organizations want to keep this driver shortage issue going, in large part to keep the turn-over going which in turn keeps the government subsidies flowing … always about money … money to the companies, not the drivers.

  3. Juan

    Just cut the “per mile” pay. Drivers will stop cheating on logs, Accidents will go down. “per mile pay” is OK if they offer, lets say
    .37 cpm or $800.00 whichever is best but politicians get good
    Money from trucking companies and they’ll never change it.
    The best way to do better is to gather a million man march
    To the capitol to be heard. They will listen!……

  4. Super Trucker

    Oh just wait till CSA 2010 go into full effect, then we’ll see Safer Well Paid Truck Drivers on the road. I’ve seen compnies push safe drivers out of the door from having more than 4 jobs in the past 3 years, then turn around and hire a guy with a dirty background and filthy crimal history. These trucking companies have lost their minds puting dirty drivers on the road next to my family. Shame On You!!!

  5. tom

    Well, my sympathies. I’ve got 16 years over the road…Mar 2010, I had my medical exam card put in limbo. This ‘them vs us’ has been a theme since I backed my first rig out of my 1st night on the job! I am finally getting back my ‘blood-pressure’ and plan to go back OTR. The big-rigs on capital hill proposal is the best fantasy I’ve ever heard; but it happened in Europe at the Swiss/Italian border and cost about $450 million Euros! American Business ‘saturates’ to prevent this… well, the days might come where drivers are ready to play hardball? Personally, I’d not really want to go there… we’ll be ‘demonized’ to the point where nobody would trust us! Drivers need to be ‘business savy’ and look at where we need to be in the market? I have been with big and small companies… small businesses are great the first 2-5 years; but you can only ‘double’ your networth until the borders of your customers overlap with your competition? I don’t think of drivers as necessarily as people who can ruin my living… but I can do the same to my fellow professional? Cheap freight presents more liability to the Corporate carrier than the company driver.. you are the salesman that ‘hooked’ the contract for that 1 year project with a 98.5% on-time ‘guarrantee’, and your lease trailers spend more time parked as supplemental warehousing for ‘the customer’…put on the other 25 ‘lucrative’ terms and I don’t have to finish this sentence! Remember when Tri-state ‘bought’ all those haz-mat trailers, but didn’t secure the ‘contracts’ to fill them? Remember when ‘Schneider’ had more time-locked freight for ‘Sears’ than American Allied had for ‘residential goods’… you ended up with a few thousand bobtails on the East-coasts camping out for months waiting on trains to bring back all the trailers… Sure, corporate made some nickels ‘renting’ the ‘parking lot’… but sales and dispatch were working like the ‘Berlin airlift’ to get freight to return trailer saturation to all the regions from every “OC” from Green bay down to Tallahassee! I admire a corporate that can put liabilities into assets… But, here’s the deal…your administrator at dispatch should be just as good as you? Your sales rep should be good as you? Going ‘broke’ happens when you don’t take into account that you may not be in the ‘business’ you think you are in? My policy was,’48-72 hrs down’… deadhead my broke butt to the nearest maintenance bay for unscheduled services; put me up in the motel and keep the taxi receipts? Haggle, but be available for ‘shagging’! Hell, I picked up 4 drivers to take to the terminal because Greyhound shutdown for ‘inclement weather’… $120 per driver to get them to Orientation! Every place you go to… get a business card from the man you either p/u from deliver to; and have the name of the ‘sales rep’ for that account or region! America, Canada and the Mexican border is my business doorstep! If you take a ‘day’ in the yard; you flip a quarter with your dispatcher and if it falls heads, your buying lunch? ‘I can’t get away?’; then you say,’Fine, dinner afterwork? you want to call the wife/husband?’… no…then you say,’I get you touchdowns and you have no-time for me?’…start looking for another board and possibly another company;caviat…your last day must be better than you first day… do not blow bridges with your business partners, if you move on… leave a clean, fresh and well maintained rig.. either after your last cargo is delivered…or if you have a load.. make sure its covered by a relay driver… do not ‘screw’ with other peoples money, that ‘favor’ can be returned! Your the professional driver, it’s not just being behind the wheel without a scratch or on-time or ready to go? You also better be able to say,’ No, but I can get this done for you?’ There are operations where ‘extra-safe/extra-legal means’ becomes the task… you talk them down! You don’t threaten. You are the Captain of this Ship? If sales gets you ‘freight’ that is ‘damaged’..you politely ask for ‘replacement of goods’ at the shipper/ You need the words ‘damaged items’ put on all copies of the BOL/invoice before the freight goes on the trailer? Use the camera phone…read the bills! You are not a ‘cargo’ claim? If you are marginal on time, get things rescheduled? If you go to the ‘darkside’… you will be the ‘fall guy’? If you know your job..if you have ‘the working’ relationships; you will CYA not just yourself, but everybody from ‘that soccer mom’ passing you to that ‘scalehouse’ warden. You’ll be amazed how your expertise will resolve the job? I’m in it for the long haul; and ‘everybody’ should be on the same side. If you are angry, remember who took the job… that ‘I was tricked/lied to/ burned’ will not be in my dictionary. Take the time..if you are 6 months down, try ‘self-employment’,,, seriously, you can have a great career… but this is trucking, ‘very few old, bold pilots’!

  6. James

    They say it pays 4k above the national median wage. Let me see the nation median wage is based on 40 hrs a week. As a truck driver you are expected to work 70 hrs a week. And log off when you still have responsibilities you can not walk away from but save your hrs for the road. Which means you actually have about 90 hrs and logging 70 for a job that pays about 4k above the national average. So your better off working at mcdonalds 7hrs then changing uniforms going over to taco bell for another 7 hrs, then you would get uniforms and meals and not have to buy them over the road. When these companies pay actual hrs, hourly and not by the load then they might get people. Those who can do simple math could figure out these truckers are hardly above minimum wage and gone weeks at a time for it. This is coming from someone with 20 yrs exp, telling it how it is. I work as a union car hauler who everyone thinks my wages are over inflated. Well when you look at I have 70 hrs in a week and gone from the house, most people who work at a factory and worked 30 hrs a week overtime would make as much or more than I do. It sounds good when they tell you what your going to make but when you see what all you have to do. Then if you break it down to money made for time spent you can do something were your home every day for as much or more. No generation gap here just a money gap, on what you should be paid for a 90 hr a week away from home job.

  7. James

    They say it pays 4k above the national median wage. Let me see the nation median wage is based on 40 hrs a week. As a truck driver you are expected to work 70 hours a week. And log off when you still have responsibilities you can not walk away from but save your hrs for the road. Which means you actually have about 90 hrs and logging 70 for a job that pays about 4k above the national average. So your better off working at burger king 7 hours then changing uniforms going over to taco bell for another 7 hrs, then you would get uniforms and meals and not have to buy them over the road. When these companies pay actual hrs, hourly and not by the load then they might get people. Those who can do simple math could figure out these truckers are hardly above minimum wage and gone weeks at a time for it. This is coming from someone with 20 yrs exp, telling it how it is. I work as a union car hauler who everyone thinks my wages are over inflated. Well when you look at I have 70 hrs in a week and gone from the house, most people who work at a factory and worked 30 hrs a week overtime would make as much or more than I do. It sounds good when they tell you what your going to make but when you see what all you have to do. Then if you break it down to money made for time spent you can do something were your home every day for as much or more.

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