Did you know that 72.5% of the nation’s freight by weight is moved by trucks? CDL truck drivers are a big part of what keeps the economy and the country running smoothly. It’s for this reason that there’s been a lot of concern recently about the shortage of truck drivers in the country.

Is there really a shortage of CDL drivers or is it just a myth? A Google search will show arguments on both sides of the aisle. However, according to the American Trucking Association, the United States is currently short roughly 80,000 truck drivers.

Are you curious to learn more about the truck driver shortage?

Let’s take a look at all of the different factors that impact this issue.

The Demographics of CDL Drivers

While the shortage of truck drivers has emerged as a big news story in the era of COVID-19, some of the issues leading to the shortage have been around much longer. One of the biggest issues that influence this shortage is the current workforce’s demographics.

Most of the people who work in the trucking industry are males above the age of 45. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that 55 years old is the average age of commercial truck drivers in the United States. This means that a lot of the workforce will be retiring in the next ten to twenty years.

This means that the industry needs to focus on attracting new, younger workers to avoid major issues in the future. However, in order to hold an Interstate Commercial Driver’s License, you must be twenty-one years old. This means that high school graduates must wait for three years before pursuing this line of work.

The Difficulty of Attracting New Talent

At the end of the day, younger workers aren’t getting into trucking as quickly as the workforce is aging out of it. 57% of truckers are over the age of 45 and 23% are over the age of 55. By contrast, only 20% of CDL-licensed truckers are under the age of 45.

Competition Posed By Blue-Collar Jobs

It’s not that younger workers aren’t entering the logistics industry, though. It’s just that they tend to choose warehousing over trucking. In fact, more than 62% of warehouse jobs are filled by individuals that are under the age of 45.

Work-Life Balance and Long-Haul Freight

Another important consideration is the fact that truck driving isn’t just a job, it’s a lifestyle. As the notion of work-life balance becomes more prevalent in our culture, many people aren’t interested in pursuing the lifestyle that long-haul trucking implies.

When new drivers join the industry, they are often assigned routes that have them out on the road for relatively long periods of time. Particularly when starting out, truckers might not return home except for a handful of times each month. It also takes a lot of adaptation to get used to basically living in a truck.

Driving a long-haul truck can cause issues when it comes to nutrition and sleep as well. On the highways, there aren’t a lot of healthy eating options. At the same time, truckers aren’t home often enough to consistently cook themselves healthy meals.

Sleep deprivation can also be a major issue for truck drivers. There is often pressure for them to get their freight to point B as fast as they possibly can. Not getting enough sleep can affect people both physically and mentally.

Not only can sleep deprivation make it dangerous for truckers to be on the road, but long-term sleep deprivation is linked with a number of serious health conditions.

The Impact of COVID-19

Lastly, challenges that already existed in the trucking industry have been amplified by the COVID-19 pandemic. There has been reduced labor force participation in general, and this is also true in the trucking industry.

On top of that, trucking companies are also definitely feeling the impact of issues in the supply chain. It has been difficult to order parts to fix fleets and to order new trucks due to the global microchip shortage. The value of new and used cars has also been driven up because of this.

(Are you wondering what you need to do to maintain your fleet of dump trucks? Check out these six tips to keep your fleet running smoothly.)

To add insult to injury, the pandemic has also increased demand as more people have been ordering online. This means there is an uptick in shipping and delivery all across the country, increasing the burden on trucking and increasing the demand for CDL drivers.

Custom Truck: A Leading Supplier of Trucks and Custom Equipment

As you can see, there are a lot of different factors that impact the shortage of CDL and under-CDL drivers. Some of these factors have been in motion for decades while others came on quickly, such as the coronavirus pandemic. Either way, it’s important that we understand the significance of the truck driver shortage, as trucking is a vital part of our nation’s economy.

If there were no more truckers, the entire framework of the American economy would collapse. The industries of healthcare, food, retail, transportation, waste removal, manufacturing, and banking would come to a screeching halt. Understanding the importance of truckers in our economy is essential if we want to avoid economic and societal chaos in the future.

At Custom Truck One Source, it’s our goal to provide high-quality products and services and to create stable jobs. Custom Truck has locations all across the country to serve your needs. Contact us for more information about out CDL and Non-CDL equipment.