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Truckload driver turnover surges in 2Q

| September 13, 2012

The annualized turnover rate for linehaul truckload fleets of all sizes surged in the second quarter, with turnover at large fleets breaking the 100 percent barrier for the first time in more than four years, according to the American Trucking Associations’ quarterly Trucking Activity Report released Wednesday, Sept. 12.

For large truckload fleets, those who report in excess of $30 million in revenue, driver turnover rose 16 percentage points to 106 percent – the highest level since the fourth quarter of 2007. The last time the turnover rate was more than 100 percent was in the first quarter of 2008.

“We continue to see steady, albeit sluggish, growth in freight volumes, which increases demand for drivers,” said Bob Costello, ATA chief economist. “That, coupled with continued pressure on fleets to improve their safety records as a result of regulatory oversight changes, is increasing competition among carriers for drivers with clean histories.”

At smaller truckload fleets, turnover jumped to 86 percent in the second quarter, a 15-point jump over the previous quarter. The spike put turnover at its highest level since the third quarter of 2007.

“We have been contending that the driver shortage is by and large qualitative rather than quantitative,” Costello said. “Despite some estimates, I believe that in terms of raw numbers, the trucking industry is currently short somewhere in the range of 20,000 to 30,000 drivers. However, if we continue to see growth in freight volumes, we can expect that number to rise in the near future, exacerbating the qualitative shortage and creating a quantitative one.”

The turnover rate for less-than-truckload fleets averaged 9 percent in the second quarter, up from 8 percent in the previous quarter.

  • oiujhygtfrdesw

    I guess it cheaper to pay students a quarter a mile, and deal with the turnover, rather than pay a professional wage, and get and keep a professional driver.
    Honestly, with all the recruiting hassles (90-days and gone) and all the truck damage (oops, didn’t see that telephone pole there!) that you get with students, I would think it would be cheaper to hire year-in and year-out pros and pay them what they are worth.

  • Finnfyre

    Maybe if they would quit treating drivers like shit, they wouldn’t go to another carrier. I might be just a dumb driver, but it seems to me that if you treat your people well, they will reward you with their loyalty.

  • Bplugcast

    Companies are looking at the bottom line (who/what costs the most; accidents, trucks and equipment, regulations or personnel). With this turnover, I suspect Personnel are the most costly, so the companies cut back (lowering the pay of workers (mainly truck-engineers, AKA truck drivers) for the apprentice truck-engineer at lower pay.

  • Im4fairwages

    What other industry gets by without paying overtime for working employees 60 hours a week??? Bet the salepeople for the trucking companies out recruiting or finding new shippers aren’t out there for 6-20 days at a stretch on their own dime. The trucking companies have been abusing drivers for decades and the good ole government regulators don’t give a damn. It doesn’t take rocket science to figure out why the turn over is so high and why 60 hours logged is really 80 hours worked and the pay works out to be minimum wage for timer really spent. You pay an employee a fair and honest wage and you’ll keep ’em. Until then the trucking companies deserve the high turn over and the “opps, I didn’t see the telephone pole.” Isn’t it interesting how the trucking companies can find ways to buy fuel at $4.30 a gal but can figure out how to pay decent driver wages and per diem.

  • long shot

    is this nation so clueless that we can’t see what’s happening to us. we are being phased out by gov’t. better wake up and soon or you won’t be waking up at all

  • Richard M. Gaskill

    What really angers me is carriers get government rewards for exploiting veterans . They offer “free training ” for veterans but if veterans fail to complete a year employment obligation they will bill them several thousand dollars for training and won’t give them a training certificate .
    They tell veterans the training is approved under the G.I. Bill and vets can collect training benefits . Vets have to realize to get training benefits you have to be a trainee getting low trainee pay – often as little as $300 a week while being out 4 to 6 60 hour weeks with a trainer .

  • Ripped Off

    These comments are True and good reasons for everybody leaving trucking….there IS life after truckin……it is also depressing to QUALIFY and work ur butt off and have to wake up in the truckstop next to a Spanish Speaking illegal alien ‘driver”…on One side and a Guy wearing a Towel on his head on the other side…..seems like a WASTE of TIME and energy…to be involved in this scum of the earth industry?

  • Krystal Proud Trucking Manager

    First let me say as a Carrier we pay our employees well and it shows. They get a flat rate on their loads, we try our best to have them home every weekend, etc. but we are a smaller company too. I don’t think it’s right to “stereotype” all carriers….BUT also let me say, that the majority of the issues we face is Rising number of Brokers that want to pay less than a dollar a mile even on some loads, and the IDIOTS that agree to take it so then the broker starts to think that’s okay…you take a dollar a mile, minus 4 dollars a gallon, to a truck that moves 5.5 miles to a gallon, driver pay, truck maintenance and insurance expenses, and WHAT are you left with? Nothing exactly. Almost cheaper to park the truck than to run it. So if you want to know where all the drivers have gone? Soon you’ll be asking where have all the carriers gone and whose gonna move my shipments!?? Then it will be too late. PAY FAIR FOR EVERYONE INCLUDING CARRIERS!!

  • Marty Marsh

    LMAO,please don’t bring common sense in to this.

  • 1SilverEagle

    There’s a great book for all managers; BY THE SEAT OF YOUR PANTS, by Tom Gegax. If the carriers would read and follow pgs 69-106 of this book, the back door would only open for those we want to use it.
    Right now most carriers over promise and under deliver. Drivers are taken advantage of once their on board. If I need to pay a driver $20 for his time on something, even when I’m not getting paid, it gives him a sense of his time being valued. If he does something and I say “We don’t get paid for that so we can’t pay you.” That makes him/her feel like they are not of value to the company. If their boy is playing in his first baseball game, that needs to be as important to the company to get him home for that, as it is to him. When we start treating our drivers like family, and include them in decisions, they will feel like part of the team and won’t want to leave. Drivers are front line customer service reps, happy drivers can reap rewards by making happy customers.

  • Marty Marsh

    39 years and no more lic, I would rather starve to death,and I may,but these clowns aren’t abusing me anymore.But worry not, CR England and CRST are training Americas new drivers as we speak. I almost forgot, and ATA will make sure they are under paid.For those that have to stay in it, God Bless.

  • mousekiller

    Seems like a lot of drivers think getting out of trucking is the answer. This is just what the FMCSA and Erik Holder and La Hood and Anne Ferro want so they can say as a matter of fact, There is a driver shortage now. .
    We MUST bring in foreign drivers to fill the gap. will be the next sounds we will hear from Washington’s talking heads. Lets don’t even talk about the ATA.
    I refuse to fold to their demands. I have been driving trucks for over 45 years and consider myself a pro.
    I chose to drive and loved it for many years. Not so today. Far too many of Today’s drivers are not worth the time to open a door for now. No personal pride, a limited vocabulary. they look, dress and smell like a dumpster divers and are barley qualified to be on the highway in a commercial vehicle.
    I am tired but will not give up.
    Voting is the only way to bring new blood to the decision making process in washington and that is the only way we will have a voice. If you don’t vote , don’t complain, your the problem.

  • Marty Marsh

    1SilverEagle,I’m not trying to be smart here but that is common sense,not to mention it would make this a perfect world.But considering most see us just as another tool that they have to have,this will never happen.

  • Marty Marsh

    That works for me because I’m tired of dealing with these slimy creatures,these people are so low they have to look up to a slug.

  • charlie

    with the newest trucking alliance trying to get eobr`s and e logs you are gonna run everyone out of trucking as more restrictions mean less money. Just because big trucking need these to keep up with their drivers they want to force it on everybody nd not everyone has 1000 wagons to make these 2 restrictions work. They say safety, crap neither has a thing to do with safety, quit wasting your drivers pay on lobbying in washington nd you may have good drivers and actually figure out a way to turn some profit strives to maintain an open forum for reader opinions. Click here to read our comment policy.