The driver shortage in different parts of the US has become a persistent problem. This complicated issue ultimately ties into multiple lifestyle choices according to Bob Costello, Chief Economist of American Trucking Associations.
The trucking industry is experiencing a significant shortage of truck drivers and needs an additional 60,800 truckers to progress. The booming industry will need more than 105,000 truckers by 2023 if hiring efforts do not improve.
Costello identified many factors worsening the shortage of drivers, including the pandemic’s effects on vehicle and driver schools. Many fleet companies are also not willing to pay drivers their desired amount. Also, some will often cancel the contract if drivers visit their homes frequently.
Another major factor that Costello associated with the driver shortage is Drug and Alcohol Clearinghouse from the FMCSA. It’s the database that contains information regarding drug and alcohol violations of commercial drivers. Though ATA considers FMCSA’s Drug and Alcohol Clearinghouse a beneficial step, it has impacted the driver pool.
If you run a truck fleet, learning how FMCSA’s Drug and Alcohol Clearinghouse contributes to the issue of driver shortage is beneficial.
FMCSA’s Drug and Alcohol Clearinghouse and Driver Shortage
The rate of driver turnover, in general, is higher for many over-the-road fleets compared to local ones. Driver turnover rate for truckload drivers was 90 percent for all the OTR operations. Furthermore, it was more than 20 percent for all the local operations last year.
It shows how different factors such as shippers, fleets, and receivers’ treatment with the drivers and the Drug and Alcohol Clearinghouse can impact the driver turnover rate. Sometimes, fleets and trucking companies try to hire drivers of their competitors and offer them the opportunity to operate new trucks.
However, factors like the FMCSA’s Drug and Alcohol Clearinghouse deteriorates the matter. Many drivers who are issued drug violations don’t know the procedures required to re-enter the industry. It’s indeed a big reason that keeps drivers from getting back on the road.
The restriction allows authorities to get rid of many drivers who pose risks to others. However, it also leaves fleets with multiple vacant positions that need immediate backfill. It has added to the problem of driver shortages.
Moreover, this problem causes other issues in the large truckload sectors. Today’s trucking market needs more drivers to ensure timely delivery of goods and other purposes.
Trucking companies with driver shortages are not able to grow their fleet. Some other factors are contributing to this situation, such as, fleet equipment, lack of good packages, and competition among trucking companies.
All in all, Clearinghouse provides employers and the FMCSA with the necessary ways to identify truckers who are banned from driving a CMV. It ensures that such drivers get the required evaluation before operating on a public road again.