Massive Truck Driver Shortage Explained by Drivers

The worst kept secret in America is that there is a massive truck driver shortage. According to the American Trucking Association (ATA), 51,000 more drivers are needed today to meet the demands caused by shipping more goods across the country.

The current truck driver shortage is causing all kinds of headaches, including delayed deliveries and higher prices for goods. Experts predict it is only going to get worse in years ahead.

With some transportation companies offering $80K+ annually, often combined with a healthy “sign-on bonus,” many inside and outside the transportation industry are asking, “Why do people not want these jobs?!

Heather Long recently wrote a timely article on the subject. She interviewed several drivers, whose on-the-job experience ranged from four months to 40 years, and asked them to help explain some of the reasons behind today’s truck driver shortage.

Here are a few of the highlights: (Editor’s Note: Having been a pool freight brakeman for Southern Pacific Railroad for several years, many of the drivers comments hit close to home.)

  • The lifestyle is rough. Barely see family, rarely get a shower, and no respect from “civilian” drivers, law enforcement, or major retailers. (If you want to know how rough it really is, talk to a trucker’s spouse.)
  • Divorce rate is high.
  • Sedentary lifestyle and limited access to healthy food and exercise causes health issues, sometimes life-threatening.
  • Over-the-road drivers make the most money but are rarely home with family. Most companies prefer drivers stay out 60 days and then take just a few days off.
  • About half the drivers interviewed said they would recommend the job to family and friends despite the hardships. One driver saying, “It’s the easiest money you can get without a college degree.
  • Many of the drivers said their annual pay is under $50K. (Government statistics say median pay for the industry is $42K.)
  • Many felt “sign-on bonuses” were a complete joke because of all the strings attached. (There were a few stories about employers intentionally sabotaging the situation so sign-on bonuses went unpaid.)
  • According to drivers, the industry pay scale is way behind the curve, especially after adjusting for inflation and cost of living.
  • To make more money, many drivers are leaving current employers and starting their own transportation companies.
  • It takes a special kind of person to do this job because you basically give up your life for the job.
  • “Companies don’t treat you like a human. You are just a machine that makes money for them.”

Driver recruitment is a difficult, but not impossible, situation to overcome. There are definite “Do’s” and “Don’ts” to consider when trying to reach, engage, and attract the quality candidates needed to fill thousands of empty cabs across the country.

Get in touch with Mitton Media. We’d be happy to share our experiences and help you set up targeted strategies to achieve similar success.

About Mitton Media®

“We do the work. You get the credit.”®

Mitton Media is a full-service recruitment advertising agency with a rock solid reputation for helping employers  “put qualified butts in seats” as cost-effectively and quickly as possible.

As the HR Director for a national transportation company recently shared,

Mitton Media’s blended media strategies and creative hiring messages deliver consistent results every single time. It’s nice to work with recruitment advertising professionals I can trust to get the job done and make me look good in the process.” 

Mitton Media designs, produces, and executes blended recruitment advertising programs that GRAB ATTENTION and GENERATE IMMEDIATE RESPONSE for:

  • Hard-to-Fill or Mass Hiring Initiatives
  • Public/Private Job Fairs
  • Professional, Skilled Trades, Hourly, and/or Seasonal
  • Local, Regional, or National hiring campaigns

More information:

For more information about Mitton Media’s services and capabilities, including strategic placement packages on, contact Shana Reinhart @ 281-242-4473 x. 102.


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