OOIDA’s president says the problem is driver retention, not shortage

July 3, 2018

Mark Schremmer


For the third time in the past few months, OOIDA President and CEO Todd Spencer told the viewers of the Fox Business show Varney & Co. that the trucking industry’s perceived driver shortage is a myth.

During a segment with guest host Charles Payne on Tuesday, July 3, Spencer said the real problem has more to do with the big fleets’ inability to retain drivers.

“We’ve been hearing about a truck driver shortage for about 30 years now,” Spencer said. “The same people say it over and over. Of course, what they’re really talking about is that they’re not able to retain people because pay and benefits aren’t adequate. They’re plenty adequate to attract them, but they’re not adequate enough to keep them. So they continually say it’s a shortage.”

According to a report from the American Trucking Associations in June, the driver turnover rate for large truckload carriers rose was at 94 percent in the first quarter of 2018. That means most drivers, who receive an average pay of $42,480 per year and are exempt from overtime pay, don’t pursue trucking as a long-term career.

Instead of doing more to retain drivers, however, the ATA is lobbying for the minimum driving age for truck drivers in interstate commerce to be reduced from 21 to 18.

Spencer said that doing so wouldn’t solve the problem.

“Increasing the supply of people to be drivers will never address the problem, because the problem is retention,” he said.

According to figures released by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, there are 449,000 new entry-level CDL holders and 98,000 reinstatements every year.

Previously in May and March, Spencer spoke with Stuart Varney about the issue. This time, he provided OOIDA’s view to Payne.

“We appreciate what you are doing, because I haven’t heard this side of the story,” Payne said. “So stick at it, because it’s pretty clear you are for the American truck driver.”