- Driver turnover rate at various carriers surged in the second quarter, a warning that the market for drivers is tightening, an ATA news release reported.
- The turnover rate at large truckload carriers increased to 90% — a jump of 16 percentage points — the highest it's been since Q4 2015.
- Smaller carriers earning less than $30 million in annual revenue saw their turnover rate increase 19 percentage points to equal 85%, the highest since Q1 2016. LTL turnover is less clear, with over-the-road LTL driver turnover dropping only one percentage point to 9%, while the rate for local LTL drivers grew 14%, an increase of 2 percentage points from the previous quarter, and the highest rate within the past three years.
The industry has long feared driver turnover rates, and now that fear has come to fruition.
"The fact that turnover jumped so much for small fleets too shows that the driver market is getting tight at all levels," ATA Chief Economist Bob Costello told Supply Chain Dive.
A combination of factors has resulted in a massive turnover rate for truck drivers, including what some call an unsustainable industry model wherein drivers work long hours to pay for rigs and fuel.The Electronic Logging Device (ELD) mandate is also a likely contributor, with many independent drivers disinterested in paying for, let alone adapting to, a technology replacing their familiar paper logs. And though the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has attempted to ease the strain of acquiring a commercial driver's license (CDL), their efforts appear to be fruitless.
The breadth of the driver shortage is troubling as the industry heads into peak delivery season. Some analysts believe that rates are likely to rise as much as 10 - 20% as a result, with the industry deficit between 200,000 to 300,000 vehicles. Whether the outcome means rate rises or more intermodal delivery methods such as rail or air, the shortage will likely affect shipping costs for the holidays.