Despite Rapid Changes, Driver Shortage Still Industry’s Top Issue


The more things change, the more they stay the same – in trucking, at least. Despite the unrelenting pace of unforeseeable events in 2020, carriers believe a very familiar challenge is still the top headwind they face – the shortage of professional truck drivers.

In its latest Top Industry Issues survey, the American Transportation Research Institute (ATRI) reported that the driver shortage remains the top issue for carriers.

“For the fourth year in a row, the driver shortage was the top industry issue overall, as well as topping the motor carrier list of concerns, highlighting the challenges fleets face in recruiting new talent and keeping their current drivers,” ATRI said.

“In fact, driver retention was carriers’ No. 2 issue, and sixth on the combined list.”

As reported by Truck News, the report was discussed at the American Trucking Associatons’ Management Conference and Exhibition:

“It is a very complex issue. We have had this for a number of years,” said Bob Costello, chief economist at ATA. “What is interesting is, the driver shortage went away in April and May, and now it is back as bad as ever. It is not going to go away anytime soon.”

Eric Fuller, president and CEO of U.S. Xpress, said more than 40,000 drivers have left the market in the past six months alone due to various reasons.

“That is a big deficit that I don’t know can be filled in a short period of time,” Fuller said.

Here are the Top 10 issues identified by ATRI:

  1. Driver shortage
  2. Driver compensation
  3. Truck parking
  4. Compliance, safety and accountability
  5. Insurance availability and cost
  6. Driver retention
  7. Tort reform
  8. The economy
  9. Driver detention
  10. Hours of service

ATRI received responses from 3,122 truck drivers, motor carriers, and other industry stakeholders.

Scroll to Top