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Driver Shortage Warrants Creation of New ATA Subcommittee

Driver Shortage Warrants Creation of New ATA Subcommittee

The driver shortage has gotten to a point where it can no longer be ignored.

With 50,000 positions needing filled in the freight industry, carriers have been scrambling to address this concerning problem in recent years.

For the first time in a decade, the issue of a shortage in the trucking workforce has become one of the industry’s top problems. There are plenty of issues which may have had an effect on this. A more stringent industry full of top-down controls could be the first culprit, as this makes for a stark contrast to the “freeing” nature trucking jobs were once known for.

Stagnant wages and increasingly tough work conditions have likely also played a part in the shortage. Unfortunately, the problem may be getting worse – as many veteran drivers near their retirement, it is estimated that the current shortage could quadruple in scope within the next five years.

The American Trucking Associations is taking action to remedy this problem, acknowledging the issue for months in reports and now moving forward with a dedicated organization to address it.

The Workforce Development Subcommittee was first announced by ATA at the 2017 Management Conference & Exhibition in Orlando, FL. The group will be dedicated to helping improve recruiting, training, and retention of drivers in the coming years.

ATA President and CEO Chris Spear said: “ATA will now, through this effort, fully engage with our local, state, and federal leaders to find real solutions to these shortages. Our industry has openings today that could provide a middle-class standard of living to tens of thousands of Americans–we just need to find ways to identify these people and provide them adequate training in order to put them to work building our industry’s future.”

The subcommittee will be chaired by John Smith, ATA secretary and chairman of CRST International. It will function as a part of ATA’s Labor and Regulation Policy Committee.

Issues the subcommittee plans to take on include driver pay, age requirements, training, apprenticeships, and more. A full labor force in the trucking industry is vital for the industry’s long-term success, and ATA hopes their new subcommittee will reverse the concerning trend of dwindling rosters.

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