OOIDA Foundation releases research on ‘driver shortage’

February 18, 2019

Land Line Staff


The OOIDA Foundation’s latest research indicates that the claim of the trucking industry undergoing a driver shortage is a myth.

The research arm of the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association released two one-pagers on the topic on Feb. 8.

“Though large motor carriers continue to blame capacity issues on a chronic driver shortage, real-world facts produced by DAT, the Journal of Commerce, IHS Markit, the Bureau of Labor Statistics, and the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration demonstrate that the primary issue is actually driver retention,” the OOIDA Foundation wrote.

In October, the driver turnover rate for large fleets rose to 98 percent. The FMCSA has stated that there are 455,000 new entry-level commercial driver’s license holders and 98,000 reinstatements every year.

According to statistics, truck drivers who stay in the industry seem to be migrating to smaller fleets or becoming an owner-operator. Citing the Journal of Commerce, the OOIDA Foundation wrote that companies operating 100 trucks or fewer have gained 345,925 drivers since 2012, while fleets with 501 or more trucks have added only 169,467 drivers.

“That trend has contributed to the biggest carriers’ inability to add capacity and is exacerbated by poor driver wages,” the OOIDA Foundation wrote.

The Business Insider reported that median wages for truckers have decreased 21 percent on average and by as much as 50 percent since 1980.

Research also points to overcapacity, the OOIDA Foundation says.

“Real-world facts … have demonstrated that there are more trucks on the road than there is freight to haul.”

The OOIDA Foundation cites the CEO of Werner Enterprises stating that within the summer of 2017 the carrier received more than 100,000 applications. In addition, Swift Transportation removed 1,600 trucks from its fleet in 2016.

FMCSA data says the trucking industry had added more than 600,000 jobs since 2012, representing an increase of 32 percent.