I keep hearing about the ‘Driver Shortage’. Everyone that I talk to tells me about it. When I’m talking to drivers, they say that they know that they can quit a job today and be driving tomorrow. When I discuss hiring with my clients, they repeatedly say that they can’t hire drivers and that there is a shortage.

I call Bullshit! Yup, in my opinion, everyone that says that there is a driver shortage is full of sheep-poop. Now before my e-mail box fills up with your contrary opinion or viewpoints, let me explain.

If there was a true driver shortage, when you go to the store there would be no milk to purchase. When you go to work, the plant would be shut down because the parts didn’t arrive and you would get sent home. If I go to the store and I can’t find whatever it is that I went shopping for, THAT IS A DRIVER SHORTAGE. When manufacturing plants shut down temporarily because of a shortage of parts, then you have a DRIVER SHORTAGE.

When my clients stop complaining to me about the low trucking rates, then there might be a shortage. Right now, trucking is not making gobs of money. That means that there is an oversupply of trucks to move the freight. And since we are not yet using autonomous driving trucks, we know that there must be a driver behind the wheel for each and every truck out there. So, when the freight is still getting to the destinations and trucking rates are at historical lows, WE DO NOT HAVE A DRIVER SHORTAGE!

Drivers of trucks are not getting paid a fair price. We all know that drivers pay has not kept up with inflation. If we truly had a driver shortage, then drivers would be paid what they are worth and maybe even a little more. So again I say, there is not a driver shortage.

What are the signs of a driver shortage? Store shelves are at least partially empty, plants have temporary shut downs, freight rates rise and driver wages go up to where they belong. Since none of this is currently true, we do not have a driver shortage. What we do have is a severe QUALITY SHORTAGE! Yes, quality.

Because of the poor quality of drivers, insurance rates are rising; crash rates are flat or as some people are even saying, may be on the rise. And when I say, “Poor Quality of Drivers” I do mean all drivers – both automobile and truck. Car drivers are worse today than ever before. Because of their lack of knowledge about how to drive around large trucks, they are constantly putting themselves in danger and causing most of the crashes on our highways. But I also see truck drivers making stupid choices as well. When you drive our roads, do you see trucks following too closely? And have you noticed that fewer semi-tractor trailers seem to be governed at the 105 kilometers per hour that has been legislated?

Well, that was my rant. Please let me know what you think. Do you think that there is a driver shortage? Or is it a quality deficit? Will we ever see rates and driver pay go up? Let me know; I look forward to your thoughts and comments.

Please be safe out there.

Chris Harris
Top Dawg, Safety Dawg Inc.
@safety_dawg (twitter)

About Chris Harris, Safety Dawg

Chris has been involved in trucking most of his adult life. He drove truck for and worked in various office/management positions for a major truck company. His last position of 5 years in the safety department where he was responsible for the recruiting of Owner Operators and their compliance. He joined a trucking insurance company in 2001 and has been in the insurance side of things until making Safety Dawg a full-time endeavour.