Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association
For Immediate Release
Government research supports what truckers have said all along about supposed ”shortage” of drivers
(Grain Valley, Mo., March 20, 2019)– Recent research by the Bureau of Labor Statistics supports what the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association has been saying for years, that there is not a shortage of truck drivers.
“We have often said that the notion of a driver shortage is a myth,” said Todd Spencer, OOIDA President. “Our greatest concern about the perpetuation of the myth is that the misinformation is used to push agendas that are harmful to the industry and highway safety.”
To address the supposed driver “shortage,” some in corporate trucking have suggested that the age requirement to obtain a commercial driver’s license should be lowered from 21 to 18. This is a proposal that OOIDA opposes.
“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 Spencer.
OOIDA’s research foundation also recently published two new documents debunking the myth of a driver shortage.
A fact sheet explains how the industry isn’t afflicted with a shortage of drivers, but is actually plagued with overcapacity and driver retention. A second, accompanying document talks about how wages have decreased for truck drivers at large carriers and many have moved toward smaller fleets.
Last year, the association also created a short video that explains why there is high turnover as opposed to a shortage.
OOIDA also contends 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.”
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.