Yesterday, the American Trucking Association’s Chief Economist Bob Costello said that carriers are responding to the truck driver shortage by increasing driver pay and hiring newer drivers.
“While the driver shortage is generally confined to only certain segments of the trucking industry,” Costello said here during the “All About the Driver” General Session, sponsored by Freightliner Trucks, “it is having real impacts in how fleets recruit and retain their drivers.
Wal-Mart’s Vice President of Transportation Jeff Flackler, Werner President and COO Steve Gordon and Gordon Trucking COO joined Costello for a panel discussion on driver issues. The panel discussion was moderated by the ATA’s Senior Vice President of Policy and Regulatory Affairs Dave Osiecki.
“Fleets in all segments of trucking have told us they are having a more difficult time finding qualified drivers than they were a year ago,” Costello said. “As a result, more fleets are considering hiring drivers straight out of driver training programs and nearly three-quarters of those we surveyed plan to increase pay or have already done so.”
According to the ATA, the trucking industry needs an average of nearly 100,000 new drivers annually to enter the field in order to keep up with demand. As freight demand grows, economists estimate that as many as 240,000 new drivers will be needed per year by 2022.