CDL Driver Shortage

Driver Pay Increase Expected to Cause Shortage

American Transportation Research Institute has reported that commercial driver wages will continue to rise to become the top expense for FMCSA regulated carriers and other related businesses. This would potentially exceed fuel in terms of operating expenses.

As if the fight to hire & retain CDL drivers wasn’t enough, the increase in pay will likely disrupt the trucking industry if/when drivers switch employers. On the flip side, it’s becoming more and more costly to hire drivers which brings up another thing companies need to take into account.

commercial vehicle inspection

Companies are putting a focus on the overall CDL driver pool; as the industry is estimated to be 50,000 drivers short by the end of 2017. If nothing is done to address this, it’s estimated that there will be a 174,000 driver shortage by 2026 leaving the commercial trucking industry in a tough spot.

Motor carrier companies are addressing the issue and are starting to rework compensation packages to get new drivers. Higher pay and new incentive schemes will now be part of the picture. With the ongoing trend of being short on drivers, the typical driver’s wage can be expected to increase by around 40% over the next two years. On top of that, the means of payment may also be adjusted to further make the package more attractive. Included in the list of possibilities is how they are paid – per load, per mile, or hourly. Only time will tell which compensation plan will better suit the industry. Our advice is to ask your drivers. 

In addition to this, shipping charges are expected to increase to compensate for higher wages being paid.

Not all hope is lost though, some things you can do to lighten the hit of the driver shortage are fairly simple. Keeping drivers happy can be as simple as listening to what is important to them, or offering an extra day off. Additionally, a company that hires fast will be more adapt to continuing seamless operation. Invest some time in learning the tricks of hiring faster and more efficiently and you might be surprised by just how much smoother things run.


CDL Driver hiring files

Tyna Bryan

Founder and primary consultant for DOT Readiness Group. She's been deeply involved in the compliance side of multiple FMCSA regulated companies; as well as consulting and training on D.O.T. compliance and regulations for twenty years.
Tyna Bryan