Driver Shortage Increase Costs

Updated: August 13, 2013

The shortage of commercial truck drivers is a good news-bad news proposition, depending on your perspective. Anyone who already has a CDL can find steady employment almost anywhere in the country. The downside, though, is that the scarcity of drivers means fewer goods are being shipped, which could result in higher prices for consumers.

The United States Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates the United States will need about 330,000 more truck drivers by 2020. Some industry experts believe that figure is conservative. The reasons for the shortage are many.

Steve McCourt, vice president of G&P Trucking says, “There’s a quality-of-life issue. In other words, a driver is out on the road and not at home, so he doesn’t spend every night at home. There’s pay issues, where people believe the industry has to work too hard to get the driver pay up, which we believe too.”

The current crop of drivers is an aging group, with the national average age 55, meaning the shortage could get worse before it gets better as these drivers near retirement age. Also, some construction workers and others who found themselves unemployed used trucking as a stop gap job and are now leaving to go back to their preferred employment.

The shortage comes at a time when the economy is improving, so consumers are willing to spend more, creating a great demand for goods in general. But as the housing market rebounds, there will also be a dire need for building materials, which are largely moved by truck.

McCourt says there’s not much that won’t see a price increase. “If there’s a demand for the movement of goods throughout our supply chain and there’s a limited supply of drivers, then basically capacity gets squeezed, and when that happens prices go up.”

Likewise, if carriers are forced to raise pay to attract desperately needed drivers, those costs will filter down to the consumer as well. So either way, Americans are likely to feel the driver shortage in their pocketbooks in the foreseeable future.



  1. Ken Gibson

    August 13, 2013 at 10:39 pm

    If you want to stop the driver shortage, and I don’t believe that there is one, then the first step is to end all the unnecessary regulating. The trucking/transportation industry is the most Over-regulated industry in the nation. Every year the trucker is responsible for more and more, while the pay remains dismal at best. Each year, truckers are forced to do more office type work, mechanical type work, and often are not given appropriate time to get to their pick-up/drop-off points. Then the shipper/receiver farts around getting you loaded/unloaded, so that you are late getting to your next scheduled appointment, yet no matter what happens, it is always the driver’s fault that he/she was late. Not to mention, that states are closing down more and more roadside parking areas making it darn near impossible to find a place to park by the end of your day. It’s no wonder that nobody wants to drive truck anymore.

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