It has been made known that driver turnover rates are fairly high considering the difficult nature of the career path. However, the turnover rates have continued to rise as the shipping industry has begun to recover, which could mean concerns of limited capacity and higher rates.
The American Trucking Association (ATA) has reported that the annual turnover rate for linehaul truckload fleets has risen to 106%. This is the highest rate that has been seen in over four years. The driver turnover rate has increased to this point since it has increased during six of the last seven quarters. In regards to smaller truckload fleets, the turnover rate has increased to 86% in the second quarter. This is substantial considering it was only at 15% in the first quarter.
Less-than-Truckload (LTL) tends to see lower rates of driver turnover since transit times are shorter, and drivers typically spend less time away from home. They are at a turnover rate of 9% in the second quarter, which is a 1% increase from the first quarter. While this is small compared to the numbers above, the steady increase is still concerning.
What will help avoid driver turnover? Salary increases and getting truck drivers home regularly are two very big factors in decreasing the rate of turnover. And it is crucial that the turnover rate decrease because carriers will need to cut capacity if they do not have enough drivers to meet the demand (even if the product demand is there), and that means that rates will rise. Hopefully solutions can be created so that skilled and reliable truck drivers will not only enter the field but stay there long-term.
These solutions are going to be difficult to manage though as regulations continue to become more stringent and the pressure on drivers continue to increase. Currently it is estimated that the trucking industry needs 20,000 to 30,000 more drivers, but as stated above, the shortage will only grow as volume picks back up. There are estimates that forecast the driver shortage increasing to the 250,000 range, and these significant driver shortages would keep carriers from taking advantage of increasing capacity and growing their company. It would also drive up rates.