Driver turnover in the trucking industry is nothing new. American Trucking Associations (ATA) reported that in the third quarter of 2019, driver turnover for large carriers was at 96 percent. For small carriers, the number was 73 percent, which was the same as it was in the first quarter of 2019. LTL carriers saw driver turnover of 9 percent, which was actually half of what it was at the start of 2019. So what are the main factors influencing driver turnover in the trucking industry?
Personal Life Contributes to Driver Turnover
More drivers want to spend more time with friends and loved ones. There is no doubt that trucking requires concentration and long solitary hours. The more time truckers are away from home, the more likely they are to explore other career opportunities. In order to help change this, some carriers are trying to shorten the average trip length for truckers. The idea behind the push for shorter trips is that if drivers are able to be at home more, then their social needs will be met, and they will be more likely to stay at their current jobs. Additionally, some drivers are making hauls with spouses or pets to reduce loneliness on long hauls.
Health and Driver Turnover
For many drivers, health is an ongoing battle. While jobs keep truckers on the move, their lives are mostly sedentary. What’s more, the food choices on the road are not the greatest. Fast foods that are high in carbs, sugars, and fats to nothing to keep truckers healthy. Unless drivers are packing food from home or spending a lot for healthier options, the results can lead to heart conditions, sleep apnea, or worse. The impact of the trucker lifestyle has led to higher driver turnover due to health conditions.
Since most drivers are paid by the mile, there’s an allure of making long hauls all over the country and taking home good pay. The ELD mandate of 2017 placed a cap on take-home pay by limiting hours on the road. Waiting at docks doesn’t help either. While the burden on take-home pay rests a lot on shippers and legislation, wages and salaries are one of the biggest driving forces behind driver turnover.
As mentioned above, a few carriers are trying to resolve driver turnover by shortening the length of their hauls to allow for more time at home. Some carriers are implementing wellness programs to ensure the health of their drivers. As far as limited hours, it has become a major concern for truckers, shippers, and carriers alike. No one wants supply chains hampered by hour limits.
Over the next year, the ATA plans to expand its scope to take these issues into account and find a way for all parties to work together and reduce driver turnover.