Yep, you read right, industry-wide there is a REAL shortage of CDL drivers, particularly Class A drivers. According to recent statistics published by the American Trucking Trends the current driver shortage is 35,000 – 40,000 nationwide and growing at an estimated 20,000 per year.
This is due, in part, to a number of factors; a few being:
*more experienced Class A “Road Warriors” are retiring
*fewer new recruits are enrolling in Truck Driver training schools
*a significant increase in the amount of goods that are transported by truck
*tougher FMCSA Trucking Safety regulations and enforcement for commercial truck drivers and bus drivers
When CDL drivers start to accumulate points on their license many potential employers will pass over these candidates in search of drivers with less points and better SAFETY margins for insurance purposes. When drivers get too many points they lose their commercial driver’s license. Some of the areas drivers will start to accumulate points and potentially lose their CDL after a number of points are exceeded would include:
*not performing a thorough pre-trip inspection to check for leaks, check tires, (cracked rims or leaking hubs), have on hand spare fuses, fire extinguisher, repair non-functioning lights, check that both horns operate, replace damaged mud flaps or other mechanical defects
*unsafe driving – speeding, reckless driving, improper lane changes, inattention, driving on the shoulder or median, failure to yield, exceeding speed limits through construction zones
*fatigued driving – excessive hours of service, logbook violations
*driver fitness – not medically fit, expired medical cards or medical card not with the driver
*alcohol, drugs – impairment by alcohol, illegal drugs, prescriptions and over-the-counter medications
*vehicle maintenance – failure to make repairs of lights, brakes, flaps, mirrors or other mechanical defects, excessive mud or debris on vehicle/tires
*cargo – not properly secured, dropped cargo, size/weight violations, loose straps, chains or tarps
*hazmat -unsafe hazmat handling, not following marked hazmat routes, not displaying proper hazmat placards, incorrect or missing hazmat documentation
*accident/incident history – frequency, cause and severity of accidents
*using a hand-held cell phone for calling or texting
*too many tickets
The above violations are an all-out effort to make the roadways as SAFE as possible. At the same time, it causes a higher turnover in CDL drivers. There are less CDL drivers but we have SAFER CDL drivers.
Experienced CDL drivers with little or no points on their license, a clean MVR, a clean criminal background and solid, past CDL employment understand they’re in great demand by numerous companies. Many of these drivers are enticed to leave a good company to drive for another company offering more money, added miles or extra time at home. More and more companies are offering ever increasing sign-on incentives and bonuses to attract and retain CDL drivers. New CDL trucking school graduates with little or no experience have opportunities to select from companies offering continued training, mentorship and OTR experience. Other companies have a “grow our own” CDL driver program, offering training and experience along with an iron clad employment agreement upon completion of the Company provided training.
Staffing companies offer a variety of opportunities for CDL drivers to work for a variety of Customers, performing local, regional, OTR. Definitely not an inclusive list but these opportunities are: drop & hook, no touch, LTL, yard hostler (requires great backing skills) ramp & dolly (get your gym work out here), seasonal mail hauling (good $$), flatbed, hazmat, tanker, etc.. These opportunities provide CDL drivers with schedule flexibility and exposure to different trucking venues to find their “Dream Job”.
At some point you may find yourself in the presence of someone contemplating a career change or a young person thinking about future career options. I encourage you to “mentor” this individual about the profession of Commercial Truck Driving. The current and ongoing shortage in CDL drivers coupled with the increase of goods delivered by truck, makes CDL driving a very lucrative profession that has a stable base not greatly impacted by economics. EVERYTHING consumers and industries use, at some point, moves by truck. So, there will ALWAYS be a need for CDL truck drivers!
The staff of Contracted Driver Services expresses our deepest condolences to the family and friends of Mr. Harmond Hill of Ft. Worth, TX. Mr. Hill tragically lost his life while performing his chosen profession of driving a truck. Mr. Hill was a SAFE, well-respected, much sought after CDL Driver and long-time employee of the CDS family. Harmond will be GREATLY missed.
Rest in Peace Harmond Hill.