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Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association

1 OOIDA Drive, Grain Valley, MO  64029
Web site: www.ooida.com
Facebook: OOIDA

Contact: Norita Taylor, norita_taylor@ooida.com
Headquarters: (816) 229-5791

For Immediate Release

Shortage myth used to pull younger drivers into trucking workforce

(Grain Valley, Mo., Feb. 28, 2019)– The Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association sent a letter to members of Congress opposing the DRIVE-Safe Act (H.R. 1374 and S. 569). The bills propose lowering age requirements to get an interstate commercial driver’s license from 21 to 18.

OOIDA said in the letter that many of the same entities pushing for a change in the current minimum age requirement would simply use it to take advantage of a new pool of drivers who would be subjected to poor working conditions, predatory lease-to-own schemes and woefully inadequate compensation. 

“If safety is the top priority when considering a change to a regulation, when it comes to age, the number should be raised, not lowered.” said OOIDA President Todd Spencer. 

The premise of the bills say the change is necessary in order for the trucking industry to mitigate a supposed shortage of drivers.

OOIDA contends that there is no shortage, but rather very high turnover in the long-haul (or truck-load) sector of trucking.

The Association points out that any issue with retention could be mitigated with other solutions that would be safer for all highway users. For example, compensation has been shown to be tied directly to highway safety, as revealed in studies that suggest there is a strong correlation between driver pay and highway safety.

“Most carriers with high turnover do so by design,” said Spencer. “They could deal with driver turnover by offering better wages and benefits and improved working conditions. But putting younger drivers behind the wheel of a truck isn’t the solution because it does nothing to address the underlying issues that push drivers out of the industry. It merely exacerbates the churn.”

This fact sheet explains how the industry isn’t afflicted with a shortage of drivers, but is actually plagued with overcapacity and driver retention. This document talks about how wages have decreased for truck drivers at large carriers and many have moved toward smaller fleets. This short video that explains why there is actually high turnover as opposed to a shortage.

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The Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association is the largest national trade association representing the interests of small-business trucking professionals and professional truck drivers. The Association currently has more than 160,000 members nationwide. OOIDA was established in 1973 and is headquartered in the greater Kansas City, Mo. area.