A white paper released Monday by the American Trucking Associations states that the trucking industry is having a difficult time finding qualified professional drivers today, and that industry officials are even more fearful of a massive shortage of drivers in the coming years.
ATA estimates that the current market shortage of drivers is around 20,000 to 25,000, mostly long-haul, over-the-road truckload carriers. In fact, a study released this year by ATA reported 90 percent of for-hire truckload carriers stated they could not find enough drivers capable of meeting the Department of Transportation requirements.
"Carriers and fleet executives have begun expressing concern about their ability to identify and hire qualified professional drivers," said ATA Chief Economist Bob Costello in a statement. "With this report, we tried to identify where the impacts were being felt the most, why the shortage is increasingly worrisome, and why it has the potential to get worse."
While the current shortage is problematic, it is nothing compared to what the industry is on track to experience in the next decade. ATA estimates that if the industry continues the current trend, the driver shortage could increase to as much as 239,000 by 2022.
"On average, trucking will need to recruit nearly 100,000 new drivers every year to keep up with demand for drivers, with nearly two-thirds of the need coming from industry growth and retirements," Costello said.
ATA's short white paper is available at bit.ly/ATAtruckershortage.