The problem of the short supply of truck drivers is not new in America. However, the situation has reached epic proportions as older truckers retire combined with truckers simply quitting for less stressful jobs. According to the American Trucking Association (ATA) report released last month, the trucking industry is 80,000 drivers short in terms of workforce, a record number with predictions indicating this number could double by 2030.
Causes of The Nationwide Trucker Shortage
Besides retirement and the backlog of CDL appointments, another significant factor causing truckers shortage is the demographics of the current workforce, primarily age and gender. Statistics from the Bureau of Labor Statistics show that the average age of truckers in the US is 55 years, with most retiring in the next 10-20 years.
Another demographic challenge is gender, with only 6 percent of the commercial drivers’ workforce being female. The industry can solve this problem by emphasizing that women are needed and essential in the sector.
The lifestyle of a truck driver is also a significant factor contributing to the shortage of these workers. Truck drivers spend many days on the road, with most drivers returning home only a few days a month. Truckers also have to contend with poor diet and sleep deprivation, which is a big turnoff for most job seekers.
The Impact of Nationwide Shortage of Truck Drivers
Shipping delays are among the most likely outcomes of the shortage of truck drivers. That means states like Texas that depend heavily on waterborne transportation will continue to experience an overwhelming number of ships and containers at the ports.
According to John D. Esparza, the Texas Trucking Association president and CEO, “The lack of CDL drivers and the backlog of CDL appointment times contribute to the supply chain challenges.”
That’s why the government is taking the initiative to curb the nationwide shortage of truck drivers.
Addressing The Problem
To ease the supply chain hiccups caused by the nationwide shortage of truck drivers, the state government in Texas is expanding commercial driving license (CDL) testing to six days up from the regular five days. According to the Department of Public Safety (DPS), individuals seeking to renew or obtain CDLs can take the test from Monday to Saturday for three weeks, beginning the fourth of November 2021. Although the expanded CDL testing services will be available in select state offices, the move will play a critical role in allowing more qualified drivers to move more goods and ease the massive traffic jam in warehouses and ports.
Other Possible Solutions
Even as DPS looks at a temporary fix to the shortage of commercial truck drivers by extending CDL testing days for three weeks, more needs to be done to address the problem. According to players in the sector, one way of solving trucking drivers’ shortage is leveraging immigration.
Increasing the wages for commercial truck drivers can also play a critical role in solving the problem. However, according to the ATA, raising the pay only hasn’t borne much fruit in resolving the challenge. The association suggests other alternatives such as decreasing the time truck drivers spend on the roads to allow truckers to come home every night and reducing the minimum age of a commercial truck driver to 21 to attract a larger pool of competent drivers.“Laws that govern the tractor-trailer industry might seem tedious and excessive, they are necessary because they keep truck drivers safe. This is an essential profession and truck drivers deserve fair working conditions just like any other profession,” says personal injury lawyer Felix Gonzalez.