POLL: Why do carriers have difficulty finding new drivers?

| July 29, 2013

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  • Lowridin Truck Drivin CSP

    I think a lot of it has to do with these “Starter Companies”. While they’re great at helping new drivers get a start, they’re like puppy mills, churning out drivers with no plan for retention. That’s why most drew drivers don’t make it past 6 months with their first company. They feel abused, and left hung out to dry.

  • Big Don from Texas





    TOO Much!!!!!!

  • Tigger

    What job do you know of that you work 100hours a week, log 70 and get paid for 50

  • Big Don from Texas

    You must be one of those “drivers”! A trucking company, no matter how big or small, will not “churn out drivers” for no reason. The cost of hiring a driver is so great that companies cannot afford to do that. It is all these wannabe drivers who go through a quick driving school and think they got it made here comes the money! Then when they find out you have to really work out here to make money, they just start their unending course of job hopping until they end up right back where they were before they went to trucking school. McDonalds, if they’re lucky!

  • Roger

    Don, I drove for a big carrier and I got burnt out after 7 months because of all the finangaling. It’s just not worth it to ruin your health just so the big dogs can get richer.

  • James Deboard

    Pay & Benefits,Long hours,too much time away from home.Dishonest companies,Not being properly compensated at shippers & Recievers.

  • JW

    If they are going to be regulating by the hour then they need to begin paying by the hour and the going hourly rate is 18 to 30 $ per hour X 70-80 hrs/week.I am finally getting back into trucking after A 4 year leave and can honestly say it is out of control,I was A fuel desk cashier for the past 6 months and it amazed me the quality of drivers being hired these days!

  • Wade

    Carriers with solid business models and management are not struggling to find drivers. Carriers with weak business models and weak management teams make excuses instead of positive changes.

  • MD

    I see a lot of military that drive automatics and because they have a 348, can now go and get there CDL-A without ever driving a T/T. Wrong answer.

    Next, I see more and more companies going to a sliding mileage scale. This is bad in itself. Companies need to start thinking about these drivers instead of there own pocket. The bottom line, you give a driver a decent wage, you will keep that driver. Otherwise you will constantly have a turnover rate worst in the industry.

    Greed is a deadly sin.

  • Pilotearl

    Only a few companies hire new drivers that have 3 mo experience. Most companies want 2-3 years OTR, Unless it is insurance reasons, many companies are constantly on a search because they require too much experience. Also, they will not count experience unless it is hauling freight for a national carrier.ie military experience doesn’t count because it wasn’t OTR with bills of lading, etc. Then, if you are lucky to get on they put you with a trainer who decides to make a team and you drive while they are in the bunk and vice versa, Not much training that way,

  • Bigmotor

    I despise the day I got a CDL. I work the longest hours of my life, with no overtime. I’ve stuck with it for so long now, I’d have to start at the bottom at any other industry in which I have experience. As well as lose what little vacation time I’ve accumalated. I’ve encountered the biggest jerks in management in my working career while working for trucking companies. There’s no way I’d do it over or recommend to anyone else to enter the industry.

  • Guest

    They need to start giving people a second chance in life. not every one who has a felony is a bad person who a repeat offender. just remember, Jeffery Dahmer, John Wayne Gacey, John Wilks booth, and the man who shot JFK were not felons when they got busted. and the woman who stuck a thumb in a bowl of chili and tried to fraud Wendy’s was a felon when she got busted. Some people like my self who have only one felony who are trying to better their lives, should be given a second chance at life. There are even cops and fire fighters out there that are stealing stuff from houses or companies that have caught fire, or keeping some of the money from a drug bust. some people are caught and some people are not. So, why not give a person with or with out a felony a second chance at life ???

  • Paul Lafrance

    They need to start giving people a second chance in life. not every one who has a felony is a bad person and not every felon is a repeat offender. just remember, Jeffery Dahmer, John Wayne Gacey, John Wilks booth, and the man who shot JFK were not felons when they got busted. and the woman who stuck a thumb in a bowl of chili and tried to fraud Wendy’s was a felon when she got busted. Some people like my self who have only one felony who are trying to better their lives, should be given a second chance at life. There are even cops and fire fighters out there that are stealing stuff from houses or companies that have caught fire, or keeping some of the money from a drug bust. some people are caught and some people are not. So, why not give a person with or with out a felony a second chance at life ???

  • VDOT

    It takes more time for a driver to complete his/her load so that’s less money in a drivers pockets/less home time and more problems unless you are local/regional with great pay and benefits…and if you have a bad relationship with your dispatcher oh boy you’re in trouble now

  • Bob Moore

    Due to FMCSA changing the rules(H.O.S) without knowing much about Trucking and our pay rates not increasing much over the years doesn’t help much. Also with companies treating drivers like we are a dime a dozen has caused them a lot of the problems. Drivers do talk to each other and pass on info about how they get treated and so forth…

  • Fred Flintstone AKA Big Al P.

    First off the trainers are not from the OLD SCHOOL and have no idea what make a Professional Truck Driver, Today we have Steering Wheel Holders! WHY…You ask, Stated above. Trainers are not from the old school were we had time to help one another.. So that being said…Hours of service has a lot to do with it. For myself (now retired after 2.5 Million miles… Started in Sept 1970) I did not give a hoot about a log book. I drove till I got tired, and slept till I got up. If I drove 100 miles and got sleepy.. I’d go back to sleep. All it takes is common sense and NO BIG BROTHER watching over us. Like Qual Com etc… Trucking is in my blood and at 62 I’m thinking about going back. BUT… Big companies watch every move you make. Never would I drive for a large company again. Problem with small companies…or persons owning a truck or two… You may never get paid . Been there.. Done That. Got the shirts to prove it!

  • Jim Reul

    Nobody can pass a drug test


    I hauled fruit in Fla. for a long time. 20 years ago, I thought I’d try o.t.r. if I could see where it would pay, and how often I would get home.I was always asking guys how the $$$$$ was and how often they would get home, and realized it wasn’t for me. You have to remember that while riding around you have to maintain yourself, along with the financial obligations at home, and pay someone else to make repairs at home if you are not there. When I get back home, I’d like to hau fruit again if I can, ’cause the money was alright, it is seasonal and you get home every day. Believe me, that after a busy fruit season, you need to NOT look at a truck for a while.

  • Lowridin Truck Drivin CSP

    Actually, I grew up in the trucking industry with my dad driving for the last 27 and my uncle owning his own company for the last 35 or 40. And he’s managed to keep the same drivers for a long time and also recruit and keep mew drivers. Yes, I did go to driving school and drove for a starter company. I seen 150 students go thru that school per week while I was there, and those numbers are repeated in five other schools. That’s 750 new drivers going into OTR training a week, for one company. Every student that “graduates “, the company gets $10,000 from the government. How is that not making money from the process. Add into the fact that each driver that doesn’t make it the fill six months has to pay back tuition plus interest, which is around $3000. Sounds pretty cost effective to churn out drivers to me. By the way, I am still driving, don’t plan on going anywhere because I love the challenge. My question is, did you start with Swift or JB?

  • Sudge


  • Sudge

    Who wants to drive, with all this OVER regulation, after 30 years in mgmt. and 1.5 mil safe driving in a 379 pete flatbed.
    Going to visit my old company, the new safety man an X DOT officer from TX, says they are working on barcodes to put on the bumpers for tracking trucks, and then you know this Administration is going to put black boxes in these trucks. You know they are American friendly.(not) The roads are already set up for the barcodes, they are the magnetic wires at every red light, and out on the highway. All of that equals no miles, no pay, just sit and wait, and spend what little you have on road expenses. I did have an heart attack while driving, and it now cost to much to get all the test to take a medical exam. And you have to have a physical every year. And in Texas if you don’t keep your medical card up, they downgrade your liscence to a non-cdl, and then you have to take all written and driving test over again to get your cdl. But with all that said, who wants to drive for nothing, we have all had plenty of practice driving. It is time for them to show us the money, or drive the trucks themselves. If they can find the left door ! And then keep it shut !

  • Hellbent706

    In a nutshell people can see the corruption. The smart ones run away. To name a few…
    Corruption through over-regulations: Do you think it really takes over 3000+ rules to safely drive a truck? Maybe 50 rules are for safety reasons. The rest are just revenue generators.
    Corruption through fuel cost: Diesel is a by-product of gasoline. Oil companies use to throw it away. Now it cost more than Super unleaded.
    Corruption through overtaxing: $1500 tag tax, $550 hwy use tax, IFTA tax, diesel tax, IRP tax, KYU tax, HUD tax, SCAC tax, plus many other taxes can add up to many thousands every year out of your pay with no monetary benefit to the driver.
    Insurance corruption: On average $6000+$1000 deductible a year for mandatory insurance to drive a truck.
    Maintenance corruption: Everything for a truck is ridiculously overpriced simply because its a truck. One tire can easily cost over $600. If a broker pays $300 for a short load, you cant even buy a tire.


    It could be the fact that people don’t want to be treated like dogs by the shippers,consignee and companies. The lousey hours , pay that equals minimum wage by the time you fiqure in all your true hours, miserable choices of food to eat, the scum that drive trucks that no longer are the knights of the road, and the list goes on. After 28 years I am soooo glad to have gotten out of this profession and now I enjoy a more normal life with my wife and better pay and meals and regular hours that I get to sleep in my bed.


    I am a owner of a small trucking company.. Its really hard to find drivers mostly because insurance companies wont take them out of school or with any moving violations are the major reasons why we cant find good drivers… we over look felony at times… if its regarding stealing then its hard to look past that…

  • http://www.truckertwotimes.com/ Truckertwotimes

    I agree, only thing you left out was overpopulation on the highways

  • Chopper

    I’m with Colonial Freight out of Knoxville, TN. I have been here a few years now and love it. I get home weekly, paid well, and treated like a human being. Even without the highest pay ive ever had in a truck, I stayed because they are the only company ive ever heard of that actually cares if you make money and stay with them. I dsidnt mean to make a colonial ad, just wanted to say some companies know how to treat people. If you treat people right, they stay, and you don’t have a driver shortage. Love your company or move on, don’t listen to them tell you its going to get better.

  • Angee

    That is not always the case though I would agree with you to a certain extent. Not listed as a choice for this poll is poor candidate variety. I read Overdrive because my husband is an O/O, but I own a charter bus company. It is almost impossible to find GOOD drivers with GOOD character and who possess a GOOD driving record. I’ll admit the motorcoach industry (along with its regulation) is different than trucking, but it’s not always management. And with companies having to consider their CSA scores, we have to be even more picky. We need less regulation, not more; and the government needs decision-making people in place who KNOW the industry. That combined with the efficient management and their techniques you have described would lend itself to less headache when it comes to finding reliable employees who are paid what they’re worth.

  • Angee

    My bet’s on Swift. GREAT response!

  • Angee

    This comment made me sad. My husband has been in trucking since he was 18. He’s now 53. He LOVES his job. He specializes in heavy haul. He is paid well and is home often and the insurance is amazing. Someone said above, start looking elsewhere. Don’t stay around when they say it’s going to get better. If you’re a reliable employee who does his job without complaining all the time about nothing, LOTS of companies would love to have you. Truckers are a special breed and they hold a special place in my heart. I wish you luck in finding a better place! Your happiness is important and must be considered. Lost vacation days or seniority won’t make a damn when you look back over your life and realize how miserable you were if you decide to put up with it.

  • RealOwnerOperator

    I agree with much of both of you guys are saying. Corporate welfare is not good for anyone, especially the guys/gals actually out here owning and driving their own trucks.

  • RealOwnerOperator

    I agree with the premise that a military person who can drive a military truck is not necessarily competent to go OTR. You are wrong, however, in telling anyone what companies need to do. They only need to make money. Whenever I hear a company driver telling me what the company needs to do, I laugh. If you think you know what they need to do, buy the company and then you can do it. Or, start your own and do it and show the rest of us what we need to do in order to be profitable.

  • Disabled Truckdriver

    Dishonest companies,Not being properly compensated at shippers & Receiver’s. Low pay and being cheated out of pay that is promised. Recruiters all lie about company!!!

  • Dry Roads

    I don’t think there’s a shortage of drivers who enter the industry; there’s a shortage of new drivers who stay in the industry. It’s certainly not an easy job and I think it gets made harder when companies pay so poorly to start. Career progression is not where it needs to be, either. Many carriers ask pseudo O/Os to take additional risk but don’t offer additional financial rewards. Gov’t regs, especially CARB, new HOS and anti-idle restrictions, don’t help. To me, the most important number someone can get from a recruiter is the carrier’s turnover rate. Find a carrier where other drivers have success and, unless you’re your own problem, you’ll likely find it there, too.

  • JJMclure

    recruiters act like idiots

  • Jrs2slow

    If you got into trucking and thought you were only going to work 40 or even 50 hours a week its time to think again. And after 27 years of driving both OTR and locale and seeing what is happing with drivers and company’s I knew it was only a matter of time before the government dropped the boom on everyone and that is what they have done. Company’s pushed drivers to the braking point and drivers pushed them selves for the money. I am old school and we ran back in the day and made pretty good money. If the boss had a hot load he paid you extra for taking the chance and getting it there for him or her but not today its excepted of you to do it and not for any thing extra. And like I hear them say just be happy your working or if you don’t like it we have stacks of applications you can quite. Then they screw you by messing up your DAC report or CSA report. One thing that has not changed in 27 years is its always the drivers fault. Its a shame that this is what it all comes down to Greed on both parts. My biggest problem with these company’s is they tell you that they are different but after talking with more and more company drivers the company’s all use the same sales pitch. Then when they get you in a truck it all changes.

  • disqus_sni0TBPcXo

    I don’t think the problem is in finding new
    drivers. The problem is retaining them. I’m
    an owner of a small fleet (2 trucks) and in the past year I’ve had 6 different
    drivers with the longest one lasting 4 months.
    I’m new to this, but over the year I’ve learned the following: No matter how much money or incentives you
    offer the driver they are still going to complain. Why, because they can, they know that they
    can quit today and get hired tomorrow in another company. I believe that that each driver needs to fully
    understand what they are getting their self into before becoming a driver. Most of them want to be home every weekend or
    just drive 3 days out of the week and expect to make money. Well it doesn’t work that way, if you want to
    be home every weekend then choose another job or buy your truck and be in
    control of how many miles or days you drive.
    I guarantee you though, that once you purchase your own truck (and incur
    that $700-$1,200 monthly payment) you are not going to be able to stop every
    weekend or be on the road less than 2 weeks.
    I suggest that every trucking company impose stricter rules for
    drivers. One example could be to create
    a contact forcing the driver to drive a minimum amount of miles and days, something
    that will give a profit for both the company and driver. In addition, trucking companies need to come
    together and impose a rule of not hiring any driver that has had more than 2 jobs
    (as a driver) with two different companies within a year. This will force drivers to become more
    responsible. After all what is the worst
    it can happen? Drivers are going to quit
    without notice, well isn’t that what is already happening anyways?

  • gary d

    doesn’t it cost like 5000 dollars to go to truck driving school? Who is willing to invest that kind of money to get a job where your gone 2 weeks at a time and might only bring home 400 bucks a week and that’s at .25 cents a mile if your fresh out of school. And the only companies that will hire you give you a junk truck to start so its always breaking down so after 2 months of being jacked around they quit to go to work at mcdonalds where they are home every night and bring home about 400 bucks at 10 bucks an hour.

  • Ken Nilsen

    In looking at it with over 20 years in the industry and from strictly from an Over The Road opportunity here is how I see it. Naturally if you are looking into local jobs or dedicated jobs the following paragraph does not apply.

    I think the primary issue is improper screening of applicants. They try to sell it as a job and it is not a job. It is a lifestyle and a unique profession. No one explains to new applicants and students at the schools exactly what this entails. There should be questions like, are you willing to miss holidays, birthdays, and other special events. If you are not then do not apply. Are you ready to be gone for 30-40 days at a time? If not then don’t apply. Can you swing shift from days to nights within 24 hours? Can you go 2 days without a shower because of scheduling issues? Can you do your job without having someone looking over your shoulder to tell you what to do? Can you stand outside in weather that is 20 degrees below zero and change a headlight? Start telling people up front how tough this job can be, be honest with them, don’t talk about the great places you get to see, the money, or the prestige of being a professional. That will come with time.

  • Ken Nilsen

    I don’t think too much time away from home is an issue. If it is then you are working for the wrong company in the wrong position. There are 1000’s of jobs available where you can be home every day or at least weekly. If you are going over the road then do not expect to be home every day or every week. It is not the job for you.

    Dishonest companies are only dishonest if you let them do it.

    Compensation, again, you have to ask these questions up front. I know what the rules are where I am leased. If I do not like them I can go somewhere else.

  • Ken Nilsen


  • Tom AndSheila Hurd

    you can only oppress a working sector of society about so long before they will either rebel or surrender and find something else to do to make a living

  • Rick Larkin

    Carriers struggle in finding SAFE drivers. The reason is that most companies are doing what they can to retain those drivers. Most trucking companies are struggling because most are fighting hiring criteria that was created to keep these drivers away from their trucking companies.

  • Certifiably Nutty

    Ken, great points. However, you know for every driver like you or me that would walk away from poor compensation, there will always be someone who will take it. In my opinion, I don’t think there is an actual driver shortage, I think the companies that are crying are the ones that treat the drivers the worst. There is a perceived shortage because it used to be when drivers would walk away from a bad situation, 10 others would step in your place. now only 2 or 3 will and those few are probably not qualified to drive. Good companies will always have good drivers and a list of drivers who would always want to work there.

  • Certifiably Nutty

    YUP…the problem is there are not enough like minded people to vote ’em out of office so they get to run rampant with appointments, ridiculous regulations and of course revenue raising initiatives. I would love to know the combined hours any of these people have behind the wheel of something bigger then an SUV, yet they have all the answers. The sad part is we, as an industry, cannot speak with one voice and be heard.

  • James Deboard

    Ken,I retired in 2012.I drove for several years and I did drive for 2 companies during that time period that were pretty good companies,however I never drove for a company that was didnt lie to me at on time or another. I did see some improvement over the years but it wanst enough to get me to stay. I drove for 3 or 4 companies over the road which were always trying to get me to stay out longer than I wanted to. The pay over that time that I was a driver never kept up with or even near the inflation rate. Driving at one time was a great job to have as an owner operator or company driver but over the past 5 to 6 years I drove it started to get to the point for me that it was not that good of a job. Imiss the friends I made in the trucking profession but not the job.

  • http://thedotdoctor.com/ Andrea Sitler PhD DsC

    The industry is crumbling. Who wants to drag 80k lbs up and down the road all week for McDs pay? Too much liability on the driver and for what? These once “heroes of the highway” are shunned and spat upon by everyone from the 4wheeler to the stores that take their money (Walmart). The gov over regulates the industry in a way that demotes safety in the name of safety. One size does not fit all when it comes to clothing and regulations. Why would anyone with a choice, choose trucking today?

  • JETaratuta

    Man, you sure are new . . . Free competition for drivers means you need to learn how to be competitive — and that’s a good thing.

    You can’t “force drivers to become more responsible.” Response-ability means the ability to respond — and you want to take that away. The driver is not the problem; the driver is the solution . . . Just try running your business without any drivers. How’s that working out for you?

  • JETaratuta

    Good people are hard to find. Period.

  • JETaratuta

    A college degree can cost $100,000 and a new grad is lucky to find a job paying $10/HR . . .
    Trucking is not so bad . . .

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