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Fewer Drivers. More Money?

The threat of a driver shortage has long been a hot topic in trucking circles and the source of intense competition to recruit the most qualified trucking professionals.

The industry had a quick reprieve in 2009 when the economy and housing market were sinking, but now that the economy has picked back up, truck drivers are once again in high demand. Even here at Nussbaum where our retention record is stellar, we’re selecting from a smaller group of qualified applicants.

According to the Truckload Carrier Association (TCA):

  • The industry is currently short by 20,000 drivers
  • 90% of carriers struggle to find quality drivers who can pass DOT requirements

When proposed changes to the hours-of-service (HOS) regulations are implemented this year, carriers may have to add more trucks and drivers to haul the same amount of freight. Also, the CSA program continues to cause challenges for carriers with approximately 7% of drivers generating most of their scoring problems.

And did I mention the baby boomers headed for retirement? Trucking will be hard hit as our seniors enter retirement.

Trucking is a tough job; harder in the first year when new CDL holders put in their training time. It’s no secret that to succeed as a driver, you have to love this job and love life on the road.

But love alone doesn’t pay the bills and the industry pay scale hasn’t kept up to pace. In fact, many industry experts predict a driver shortage would lead to a pay increase, dollars that would be absorbed in the costs of goods and covered by consumers.

At Nussbaum, we’re looking at the driver shortage issue from all angles:

  • First and foremost, we work to make our company a place where drivers come to stay. In a company culture where we value professionalism and integrity, drivers appreciate that we are true to our word.
  • We have increased driver pay over the past two years and continue to pay above industry averages so that we attract the best drivers while keeping our prices competitive.
  • Nussbaum drivers also have an opportunity to increase their pay through Driver Excelerator, a bonus program that rewards performance across three categories – operations, fuel savings and safety. Our top performing drivers are earning an additional $1,500+ per quarter.
  • Finally, we are looking at other changes we may need to make within our operation to make a driving career more attractive to a broader range of applicants.

Without trucks and truck drivers, America stops! It will be interesting to see how our industry adapts and how professional drivers gain the appreciation and respect they deserve.

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