Survey: Drivers Getting Older, Less Experienced

March 24, 2014

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Sylectus' data suggests the average age of drivers is increasing. Photo by Paul Hartley
Sylectus' data suggests the average age of drivers is increasing. Photo by Paul Hartley

TCA, GRAPEVINE, TX -- The average age of the nation’s truck drivers is increasing while their amount of experience is falling.

These are some of the results released by transportation software management company Sylectus during the Truckload Carriers Association Annual Convention Monday.

Data collected over the past eight years using its transportation management software shows the average age of male drivers went up by two years, from 46 to 48 years old, while the average age of the females increased by three years, from 48 to 51 years old.

“These findings point to a strong need for progressive technology solutions to help fleets keep their drivers in light of significant retention issues,” said Sylectus in a news release.

Other key findings from the analysis include:

  • Female drivers are about one to three years older than their male counterparts.
  • Post-recession, the tenure of male drivers decreased to less than two years at a carrier. Similarly, the tenure of female drivers has decreased to about one year and three months. The parallel fluctuation in tenure is due in part to husband and wife teams, in which one spouse resigns after the other, according to Sylectus
  • The driver pool remains largely male dominated, with 92% male drivers and just 8% female drivers.

The analysis also found that, on average, fleets will experience a fleet-wide turnover every 18 to 24 months. Combined with the all-time high shortage of qualified drivers, monitoring shifts in driver demographics has become essential for carriers’ recruitment and retention purposes.


  1. 1. Dick Gaib [ March 25, 2014 @ 04:32AM ]

    Very true, experience is the only way we have safer drivers. Safer drivers are not created with 1 -2 month driver training, and the policing by the new electronic logs, we now have. I was just fired, after 7 years, no on hwy, tickets or accidents. My former employer, used to have a open door policy, but the CEO, died of cancer, and the owner, (a large private LTL and truckload carrier) has stepped down, from day to day management. Yes, they did it, (fired me) using the new non personal method, the QUALCOM. I had no ability to know who placed the order, or for why it was done. My COBRA, says I resigned. Not true. Maybe being 73, was part of it. I previously considered the company to be very fare, and as is seen daily, its all about short term profit, by geeks, and bean counters, that know nothing about the daily problems in the truckload, part of the business.. The same thing is seen every larger business, its all about figures, without understanding who makes these figures. AND THE INDUSTRY QUESTIONS, WHY THE DRIVER TURNOVER? WITH THE NEW ELECTRONIC LOGS, THAT MAKE A TRUCKLOAD DRIVER JOB, SOMEWHAT LIKE LIVING IN A JAIL. WE ARE ASKED TO DO WHAT WE DID IN THE OLD DAYS, GET THE MILES. THIS CAN NOT BE DONE, TODAY AS IN THE PAST. WHY, TRAFFIC, STOPPING EARLY, TO FIND A PLACE TO PARK, BEFORE THE E LOG GETS US, MILES CONTINUES TO BE BASED ON FICTION, NOT REAL MILES USING APPROVED TRUCK ROUTES. EVERY THING HAS CHANGED EXCEPT, THE CONSIDERATION OF THE FACTS ON THE GROUND. WHY WOULD ANY NEW DRIVERS BE INTERESTED IN TRUCKLOAD TODAY.

  2. 2. Cary Hall [ March 25, 2014 @ 06:07AM ]

    So, if I understand you correctly, you have no idea why you were let go and the discharge notification was via Qualcomm?

  3. 3. Kenny Scott [ March 25, 2014 @ 06:17AM ]

    I am 61 and have 37 yrs with 4 million mile exp. I started in regulated times to these times of over regulated times from the EPA to the Fmcsa. I advise anyone who ask to stay clear of this industry. Simply u do not get paid for what u do as a driver and the rates suck as an owner operator. With the unions retreating and the ATA winning this is a loser for a driver or OO so stay clear and I hope to be out by Oct and go to school to learn a trade because this one has been destroyed.

  4. 4. John Mullen [ March 25, 2014 @ 07:33AM ]

    First on the Commenta, Dick Gaib points out many of the causes. To Cary Hall, yes it can be done that simply. In the right to work states no reason for termination must be given. Right to work in reality is a system of employer protection. Kenny Scott, well done in your time behind the wheel. Best of luck and hunker down to a new career. Don't be lured back no matter how attractive the enticements are.
    Electronic logs, justified by the motive of safety, will abolish the drivers method of coping with existing conditions - creative loging. It will serve to increase driver attrition, not turnover, since it will be industry wide. Contrary to the opinion of Sylectus the answer will not be found in "progressive technology". As long as the industry clings to pay for less than actual miles and no pay delays, the driver shortage will increase. HDT would do well with publishing the cost of driver turn over and total loss. The cost should include advertising, recruiting, orientation, physicals the level of performance during a period of familiarization with company operations, all are factors. Does this cost justify maintaining a failing system ?

  5. 5. Soren [ March 25, 2014 @ 07:34AM ]

    Graves and as logs, he wants a level playing field, O/O are such a big threat to him. He's all about Big Business and running O/O and small companies out of business . I work for a living, I don't leave a yard drive from point a to point b turn off the key and walk away to the motel to the next morning . This Busines is not a one rule fits all. At 61 and driving trucks since I was 18 do I really need the government and Ann to tell me when to wake up and when to go to bed. Can't you just see Lewis and Clark coming over Donner pass and running out of hours. This nation was built by men who work hard to make a living for their families and themselves.. Not to sit in a truck stop for 34 hours and watch piss pumpkins roll around the parking lot. Wake up drivers for Gods sake.

  6. 6. Richard [ March 25, 2014 @ 09:20AM ]

    After 26 years of safe coast to coast trucking I said the Hell with it....Let the CEO's and Educated Idiots drive the trucks!!!...

  7. 7. CXarlton Biggs [ March 25, 2014 @ 09:31AM ]

    Majority of the drivers I work with are old men, I am almost 74 and all of them say they are going to quit when OBR are mandated. I do not know anything about them and I don't need any more expense. When I try to find a parking place at night , it is not easy. More government control and some one that's never been on road and in real life telling us what to do will do us in.

  8. 8. Marlin Bruce [ March 25, 2014 @ 11:39AM ]

    I just left the industry and in doing so took 32 years of experience and over 3 million accident-free miles with me. At 59, I'm really too young to retire, but I've had all the agressive DOT enforcement that I can stand.

    The money is just not there for the amt of hassle and things are only going to get worse. I wish I didn't have reason to feel this way about something that I have dedicated my life to, but I urge anyone who asks.....stay away from trucking entirely.

    Those engineers better hurry up with those trucks that drive themselves !

  9. 9. haller [ March 25, 2014 @ 07:41PM ]

    Headlines " Drivers are getting older" Who cares what the HDT says There are millions of people making money off of what the TRUCK DRIVERS OF AMERICA are doing, not to far into the future we lowlife truck drivers will be taxed just because we keep AMERICA going.

  10. 10. Lee Lenard [ March 27, 2014 @ 06:46PM ]

    The proposed mandate for EOBC excites ATA and large carriers because it creates a massive investment in electronic equipment and remember most O/O are going to have to subscribe to a service that collects and stores the data from the individual unit in the truck. This is AN ONGOING COST that drains money from the small operator and will force many out of business......thus more business for the large ATA carriers.

  11. 11. Michael [ April 01, 2014 @ 08:58PM ]

    Dick ; I would think it was your age , even though you were a safe driver , these companies all want younger' people . I know , I am ' old ' , too .

  12. 12. Mike Baker [ April 01, 2014 @ 09:26PM ]

    I'm 61 started driving in 1972, 42 years and over 6 million miles and no accidents. These people trying to run the trucking industry is ruining it. When us older guys are gone there will be the 2 month wonders left and most of them won't last long at trucking. It used to be good but I wouldn't reccomend this to no one. It's a thankless job and your gone away from home all these years and missed out on the kids growing up and the social activity at home.These law makers have ruined the trucking industry. Bunch of idiots in suits making the laws for the trucking industry and they don't know shit.

  13. 13. Rick Jay [ April 02, 2014 @ 10:11AM ]

    While I agree with all of the comments, it wouldn't by life or death if the shippers would stop holding us at the dock so long! How bout if once we hit the docks, time would stop & start back when we are rolling? Isnt that what DRIVING is supposed to be?

  14. 14. luis m [ April 02, 2014 @ 04:18PM ]

    I agree with you rick


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