January 13, 2019

Trucker group calls driver shortage a myth

OOIDA says there's no shortage of drivers—just a shortage of drivers willing to put up with low pay.

By DC Velocity Staff

One of the biggest challenges for shippers in 2018 was coping with a truck capacity crunch that's been widely attributed to a chronic shortage of drivers.

Now, one group is pushing back against that narrative, calling the truck driver shortage a "myth." The Grain Valley, Mo.-based trade association Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association (OOIDA) argues that the industry's problem isn't a shortage of drivers; it's widespread job dissatisfaction among drivers that leads to high turnover. "The real problem is driver churn caused by low pay and poor working conditions," Norita Taylor, OOIDA's director of public relations, said in a release.

"The idea of a driver shortage has been around for decades and is typically used as an excuse to push other agendas that are not beneficial to small-business truckers," Taylor said. "With turnover numbers reaching 98 percent and higher, we see a serious problem that can only be solved with compensation and better treatment of drivers."

That point of view runs counter to the position of industry groups like the American Trucking Associations (ATA) as well as most carriers, brokers, and consultants. But OOIDA is undaunted. The group recently released a video in which Todd Spencer, OOIDA's president and CEO, offers a detailed accounting of the economics of trucking and explains what it will take to fix the problem. You can watch it below.

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