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Trucking Industry Struggles to Replace Aging Workforce

December 3, 2014

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The largest portion of the truck transportation workforce was in the 45-54 year age range in 2013. Graph via ATRI
The largest portion of the truck transportation workforce was in the 45-54 year age range in 2013. Graph via ATRI

The median driver age had risen significantly over the past two decades according to a new paper released by the American Transportation Research Institute that analyzed the demographics of driver age.

The ATRI found that the trucking industry was disproportionately dependent on employees 45 years of age or older. At the same time there has been a sharp decrease in drivers aged 35 years and younger.

The median truck driver age in 2013 was 46.5 years old versus 42.4 for the overall U.S. workforce. Private carriers skewed older still with a median driver age of 52 years old.

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“The average age of our current driver workforce is 52 and we’re noticeing fewer and fewer younger individuals applying for jobs in recent years,” said Keith Tuttle, founder of Motor Carrier Service and member of the ATRI research advisory committee.

Despite the driver shortage, younger prospects are not joining the industry making the looming retirement of a large portion of the workforce more alarming to carriers. The ATRI cited restrictions in allowing drivers to join the industry as key to the industry's struggles to find younger drivers. 

A federal requirement that CDL holder be at least 21 years old is the biggest obstacle to attracting younger drivers, according the ATRI. The age requirement leaves a three year post-high school gap which may be preventing drivers from considering a career in trucking.

Certain sectors like hazmat or long-haul trucking have even more stringent restrictions, often limiting its drivers to an age of 25 years or older.

“If the industry doesn’t collectively figure out how to recruit younger drivers we may not have anyone left to haul freight in the coming decades,” said Tuttle. “With more and more of the nation’s freight being hauled by trucks now and in the future, this is a piece of the puzzle we have to solve.”

To gain access the entire paper, click here.

Comments

  1. 1. Troy frost [ December 04, 2014 @ 04:04AM ]

    Looking forward to your newsletter!!

  2. 2. Jeff Clark [ December 04, 2014 @ 07:56AM ]

    It is another kick the can down the road temporary solution to a permanent problem The biggest lie in the industry is that we are not attracting enough drivers into the industry. The truth is that we do a poor job of retaining those that we do recruit.

  3. 3. tom slivka [ December 06, 2014 @ 12:00PM ]

    Now publish a graph showing real wages and benefits adjusted for inflation between 1994 and 2013 for over the road drivers. Is there a shortage of drivers or a shortage of trucking companies paying a wage that retains drivers?

  4. 4. Bob [ December 07, 2014 @ 06:13PM ]

    This is because the pay that most trucking company's is lower than other blue collar trades.

  5. 5. Zeb Cary [ December 11, 2014 @ 02:48AM ]

    I'am 57 years old and have been disabled since I was 39 . I started trucking in 1975 my first year out of H.S. the company my Dad drove for signed a certificate of training and it was legit because I was in riding with my Dad every chance I had.I joined the Teamsters at age 18 and worked union for twenty one years. You can see from just the little I wrote that I had a couple of big breaks . Unfortunately I have degenerative spine disease . And had no choice but to have spinal surgery , after four failed spinal surgeries a hip replacement and eight abdominal hernia repairs. I'am now on Social Security Disability . Plus a pension from the Teamsters and medical and RX. If it had not been for the Company that helped me get my class one D.L in 1975 my life would be different today. Perhaps better or worse . I believe that companies having the right to sign a certificate of training is crucial for young men that desire a career in trucking.

  6. 6. Loreto [ December 12, 2014 @ 05:52AM ]

    So I'm 22, have had my cdl sense I was 29, couldn't drive out of state or find someone to hire me till I was 21, first job was crap, all 1099 payments, second job was local, good pay but crap trucks with long hrs as well. I don't mind putting in hours, but when the truck you drive is so loud you can't hear yourself talk and it's so rough it's like riding a bull, long hrs get to you. I try to apply with bigger companies but they say I'm not old enough or they want to pay like 30 cpm and that's not good at all. I have a clean driving record, no tickets or duis. Have tankers as well but nothing :/

  7. 7. Loreto [ December 12, 2014 @ 05:53AM ]

    So I'm 22, have had my cdl sense I was 19, couldn't drive out of state or find someone to hire me till I was 21, first job was crap, all 1099 payments, second job was local, good pay but crap trucks with long hrs as well. I don't mind putting in hours, but when the truck you drive is so loud you can't hear yourself talk and it's so rough it's like riding a bull, long hrs get to you. I try to apply with bigger companies but they say I'm not old enough or they want to pay like 30 cpm and that's not good at all. I have a clean driving record, no tickets or duis. Have tankers as well but nothing :/

  8. 8. Craig Markowski [ December 15, 2014 @ 08:15PM ]

    It’s not a truck driver shortage but an enforceable compensation and safety issue.

    Since Federal, State or Local authorities do not enforce the laws when trucking companies cheat the drivers, paychecks usually fall far short of compensation earned .

    Complaints of extensive promised but unpaid diverted loads in the Texas oil country fall on deaf ears at the Department of Labor where they focus on “minimum wage issues” to companies who stretch the truth and mislead drivers about allowable axle spreads to leave the drivers personally liable for the thousands in overweight fines merely to be replaced with more of the trusting naive willing to take a chance to put food on their family’s table.

    And the local law enforcement who decline to prosecute the fully documented thousands in bad check’s paid to penalizing the drivers refusing to drive CDL risking overweight, poorly maintained death traps and fatigued conditions for endangering the unsuspecting public until the DOT finally shuts the shady companies down years later.

    It’s a question of trucking company integrity and accountability to attract and retain quality drivers.

  9. 9. daren [ December 16, 2014 @ 05:55AM ]

    I've been driving truck for over 30 years. There are so many problems that need to be fixed in this industry that I could write a book on it. Short version, pay by the hour and home time, 6-8 week training period with driver after completing driving school.

 

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