Driver shortage? That don’t make no sense

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“I don’t math well, Jen-ny, but I know 102% isn’t a real number.”“I don’t math well, Jen-ny, but I know 102% isn’t a real number.”

In my pursuit of daily trucking news, I read probably 15 – 20 trucking specific articles. Among these, I would say roughly half cite or have cited the ever elusive and unicorn-like “driver shortage.” These articles usually tick me off, and about 99% of them quote Beelza Bubba and his buddies over at [insert whatever snarky name you’d care to] trucking association, who strive to keep wages as low as possible so the giant fleets can keep on raking in the dough. (Gasp. You mean they don’t represent the American trucker?? Holy Toledo, Martha, bar the door, these folks is tellin’ tales!)

Repeating a worn-out phrase over and over again does not make it true. Believe me, if it did we’d all have affordable health insurance and safe retirement funds. (Excuse me while I giggle maniacally.) I’ve written about this before and I will likely do it again, because about every couple of months, I see something so incredibly stupid I can’t contain myself and I have to write about it.

I was reading a financial index report written by someone I’m sure is a very smart man. I’m also sure he was likely paid a lot of money to do the report, and for the most part it was extremely informative. That being said, this gentleman begins his piece with a paragraph stating the industry is “grappling with an ongoing driver shortage.” He then goes on to say driver turnover is at 102% at some of the larger fleets, and the fact that it’s above 100% indicates “trucking companies are rehiring more than the equivalent of their entire workforce every year.”

Let that sink in, Forest.

I’m not a smart person, Jen-ny, but even I understand if you have enough drivers to rehire your entire workforce once a year, there is clearly no shortage of drivers.

So, I’m either completely nutso, or a lot smarter than the economist. Or, someone has repeated the “driver shortage” phrase to him enough to make him believe it, even though the numbers scream the truth. I’d like to believe he just wasn’t edited very well, and no one noticed the blatant contradiction, but I doubt that’s the case.

All the associations and coalitions in the world don’t change fact. The fact is, there’s one organization actually doing things for truckers, instead of to them, and it’s OOIDA. The rest of the “safety alliances” and “associations” lobbying with big bucks from big ducks aren’t representing anything but their own interests. Safety is now a more than 30 billion dollar a year industry, and if things continue in the current downward spiral, it will most definitely become the most profitable part of trucking. Who wouldn’t want a piece of that action, especially if by lobbying and having laws enacted, you could parlay your personal investments in electronic safety into gigantic fortunes?

Run, Forest, run.

There’s nothing you can put on a truck to make it safer than a well trained driver. Period. And there are plenty of well trained drivers who are leaving the industry because they just won’t put up with the nonsense of the not-so-well-trained churn puppies all these “safe” companies are throwing out there. Period.

It’s really not that difficult, Jen-ny, even for someone who isn’t the sharpest stick in the pile.

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