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Driver Shortage to Intensify Over Coming Decade

08/01/2019

Despite a mild easing of the shortage of truck drivers in 2019 compared to the previous year, the American Trucking Association emphasizes the shortage of qualified drivers.

According to Bloomberg in 2018, the number of drivers required by U.S. industry increased 20 percent to 60,000 and the American Trucking Association estimates that there may be as many as 160,000 fewer drivers compared to available positions in 2030. Autonomous trucks have been suggested as an alternative to drivers. Future technology may be able to run semis on interstates through the Midwest but maneuvering vehicles at points of pick-up and delivery and reacting to poor weather conditions and difficult terrain suggests that qualified drivers will still be required.

Strategies which are current under consideration include reducing the age for a commercial interstate license from 21 to 18, recruiting more women, making greater use of piggy-back trailer- train combinations, enhancing life styles for drivers applying stagecoach schedules and creating a special work visa for immigrant drivers. Naturally the old expedient of raising wages to compete with construction and other skilled occupations is the most productive short-term solution but ultimately self-defeating.