2013 US Trucking News — Drivers Turnover Rates Rise to 99%

Drivers turnover rates rose to its highest in 2012, continuing to 2013. In Arlington, the American Trucking Association’s Trucking Activity Report showed the appalling turnover rate.

According to the report done annually, the turnover rate for large truck load fleets reached to 99% in the second quarter of 2013. While in the second quarter of 2012, large truck load fleets’ turnover rate was 98%. A rise in the turnover rate posed a 2% increase to 99%.

As stated by the American Trucking Association’s Trucking activity Report, “Turnover at truckload fleets with less than $30 million in annual revenue remained unchanged at 82%, while turnover at less-than-truckload fleets plummeted nine percentage points to 6% – The lowest level in two years.”

With this, ATA Chief Economist Bob Costello said, “The continued improvement in the freight economy, coupled with regulatory challenges from the changing hours-of-service rule and CSA will only serve to put a further squeeze on the market for drivers. A tight market for drivers will push costs higher for fleets as they work to recruit or retain quality drivers.”

The search for experienced truck drivers is now putting the trucking industry into a tight spot. This turnover issue also brought one truck driver to comment, “I see all the companies offering cash for new drivers and it doesn’t seem to work. As a driver with 15 years with my current company I would not think about leaving for a cash sign on bonus. A cash sign on bonus will not replace my 4 weeks of vacation or my full vesting with my 401K. Don’t offer cash as a sign on bonus offer to match a driver’s current vacation and vest them from day one in the 401K. Make the medical from day one. I currently get 4 weeks’ vacation, 9 paid holidays,4 personal days, company match 401K and would start all over again if I switched to a new company. Does anybody really expect a long term driver to give all that up for even a $5,000 sign on bonus?”

Another also sounded off through a letter to the editor, commenting on the turnover on the news which says the following:

“Over the past few decades, we’ve done ourselves a significant injustice in the trucking industry by not paying attention to the changes happening around us as they relate to recruiting drivers and owner-operators.

Our shortsighted actions have cost us greatly both in bottom-line dollars and human suffering. How do you think the cost of five to six drivers in a truck over its life cycle compares with having one or two drivers? What is the effect on that asset’s value? Consider the maintenance costs when so many different folks are in and out of the vehicles — Deficiency reporting that’s more a blame game than making sure equipment is ready to go

What is the cost to safety? It’s a known fact that a company with high turnover has more accidents and workers’ compensation claims. Orientation is continually educating people, and administration never settles down because everyone is new to the paperwork process.

What happens to your reputation for customer service? How can an entire workforce be trained over 12 months and still provide dependable service?

Does anyone want to take a stab at how many people in North America have earned their commercial driver licenses but are no longer in the industry? My guess is that for every three licensed drivers, two are still driving for a living.

What’s next? Will we keep doing the same thing and end up where we’ve been for the past 30-plus years with our drivers?

Stop and think this one through: If you focus on quality and integrity and make them cornerstones of your operation, you will get quality and integrity. Don’t settle for less. You might not get to be the biggest company in the shortest amount of time, but was that ever a good goal?

Turnover can be managed and beaten — it isn’t an unavoidable evil of the trucking industry. We need to start treating trucking and the people who choose to spend their lives in it with a great deal more respect than during our most recent past. I believe the effect on margin dollars and turnover is astronomical, and the industry is losing huge numbers in cash and people because of it. If turnover’s cost could be recovered and split with drivers — half to them and half to the company’s bottom line — any rational person would make that deal without hesitation. And in reality, that deal is sitting squarely in front of many companies, and they just don’t see it.

Companies that keep their heads in the sand are the primary cause of trucking’s reputation today. Time will run out on them, and their truth will be revealed.

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