The Truck Driver Shortage

The Truck Driver Shortage

The Truck Driver Shortage Has Made the News

The truck driver shortage has been at the top of the list for industry concerns the last five years in a row. The shortage was originally reported by the American Trucking Association (ATA) back in 2005 though.

This shortage has officially made the news finally. People have started to take notice of the supply chain disruptions and industry struggles as they see empty shelves and backed up cargo. Between a retiring workforce, COVID issues, difficulties recruiting younger drivers, and many other problems, the shortage of drivers continues to increase.

Recent FMCSA Regulations Add to the Driver Shortage

FMCSA regulations regarding drug and alcohol testing have added to the truck driver shortage over the past year. Since January of 2020, more than 72,000 truck drivers were pulled from the road for failing drug tests required by the Drug & Alcohol Clearinghouse.

56% of these failed drug tests were due to marijuana use. The top three after this are Amphetamines at 18%, Cocaine at 15%, and Opioids at 4%. As there is no way to distinguish when the drug use has occurred with these tests, drivers are being forced off the road for driving under the influence.

The rising popularity of CBD oil is also a concern. The DOT has put out warnings about using these oils as they can negatively affect a drug test.

What Does This Mean for the Supply Chain?

With 72,000 drivers out of service, and difficulty recruiting new drivers, we are looking at continued and possibly increased supply chain disruptions. There are already stories in the news about supply chain backups.

With limited drivers to pick up cargo, America will continue to see empty shelves and delayed deliveries of goods. Older truckers are starting to retire as well due to other issues, and the cargo will continue to sit at distribution centers.

What Does This Mean for the Trucking Industry?

The FMCSA does have the option for drivers to complete a return to duty program for those who end up on the drug and alcohol registry, so they can fix their records. Very few drivers have taken advantage of this program though.

Of the 72,000 drivers removed from the road, only 17,000 have completed the program. The rest show no signs of completing this and are leaving the trucking industry for good.

While it is good to get people off the road who are putting others in danger, this loss with little recruitment ability is hitting the trucking industry hard. Trucking companies are competing heavily for new recruits, driving up costs and leaving many companies with very limited resources.

Trucking companies will need to find ways to recruit new drivers if the driver shortage is going to end. Some recruitment options have been put forth, but it will take time to see if these methods will bring results.

Preparing Drivers to Meet FMCSA Regulations

While the industry scrambles to recruit new drivers, there is still a need to make sure the drivers you already have are prepared to meet FMCSA regulations, so you don’t lose any drivers to regulatory issues. This means you should make sure your drivers are getting regular training to stay safety conscious.

Infinit-I Workforce Solutions provides an online training program that allows you to easily assign and drivers to easily access training. Drivers can complete training from any device with an internet connection, so there’s no need to disrupt supply movement further.

Join us for a free 2-day Safety Management Boot Camp in Dallas, TX to see how Infinit-I can help you get the most out of your training program.