For the past thirty years, the turnover rate among truck drivers and the problems associated with motor carriers retaining drivers have been studied by the industry.
Over a span of at least three decades, the second largest industry in the nation has been unable to figure out the reasons why experienced, veteran truck drivers are quitting the vocation.
Today, the problem has worsened as more career CDL drivers are calling it quits and never looking back. The industry likes to refer to this as a truck driver shortage, just as they have done in the past.
In reality, the most common complaints by drivers today are still the most common of past decades:
- Low pay
- Not paid for work performed
- Lack of home time
Low pay for truck drivers have been a major issue for years which began to creep into the business after the deregulation of the industry. Over time, it has become the top reason for all categories of drivers choosing to leave the profession. The average yearly pay of $34,000 is simply not seen as being enough to counter all the demands of the over-the-road trucking career.
Not paid for work performed such as detention time and various other so-called duties, have pushed many drivers into finally hanging up their commercial license and moving on to another position outside of professional truck driving. When, for example, a driver waits for seven hours to get loaded or unloaded and never receives the $15 per hour detention pay, $105 is a lot to be lost. Have this done several times in a month and one can see that the driver’s time is considered meaningless by the industry.
Lack of home time is a rather difficult reason for quitting, but nevertheless, is one of the top four reasons given by drivers. The mere term, long-haul trucking, signifies that home time is going to be minimal. As this job requires being gone for weeks and months at a time, the problem for the driver has more to do with downtime while out on the road, than it has with any other aspect. If the carrier is going to make the driver sit for three or four days without getting paid, they can at least have him or her sit at home. Failure by the carrier to fulfill the driver’s home time request is the main reason why drivers list this as the cause for hanging up their CDL’s.
Regulations throughout the industry continue to make the life of the professional trucker more difficult, cutting further into their ability to earn a livable wage. As an example, there are millions of truck drivers across the United States and all are different in their backgrounds, yet they are all expected to operate under the same hours of service rules: when they can drive, when they can sleep, etc. One single rule does not fit all parties involved and because of this and other regulatory factors such as the CSA, the industry is losing long-time, experienced veteran drivers and thus losing a significant level of professionalism and safety.
© 2013, Allen Smith. All rights reserved.