The increase in truck driver shortages could be a serious problem for the U.S. economy in the future. Driver shortages were up 20% in 2018 and this trend is continuing in 2019. Within the next decade, United States industries could see the highest driver shortage in U.S. history.
The current driver shortage is being caused by several factors including the strong economy, driver retirements, new rules and regulations, and industry safety guidelines. Companies are becoming more selective when hiring new drivers. They are looking for candidates who are professional and have good driving records. Experienced drivers are in high demand in all parts of the country. The average age for a regional truck driver is 46 years, which is a concern for the future. The ATA (American Trucking Association) says the average over-the-road driver in the U.S. is 42.
To combat the current driver shortage there are several solutions that are being considered by the trucking industry. Increasing drivers hourly pay rates, providing more time at home between trips, improving health and benefit plans, signing bonuses, and pushing for easier licensing requirements concerning out-of-state drivers. Many young drivers are attracted to starting their careers earlier and gaining experience before starting families and purchasing a home. The ATA predicts that the driver shortage will have a slight dip in 2019 due to a slowing in the economy from 2018 levels. The shortage of drivers will eventually lead to higher prices for consumer goods and higher shipping charges for that packages delivered to your door.