The news may be flooded with stories about the lagging U.S. economy and disappointing jobs reports, but it appears there is at least one profession that could use a few more applicants. USA Today reports that there is a genuine shortage of truck drivers, and the problem is leading to pricier deliveries and longer waits on packages.

There are plenty of reasons for the driver shortage, with a raft of retiring baby boomers and the $4,000 to $6,000 price for a six-week training course being among the main culprits. Another potential issue is a requirement for trucking companies to publish their safety records, which has reportedly led to some companies looking only for drivers with clean records. And the problem could become worse in the next year as the federal government enacts strict federal limits on the time drivers can spend behind the wheel of a big rig.

The good news is that drivers at least 21 years of age have plenty of opportunities for employment. Pay has gone up as well, with compensation jumping five percent year-over-year to an average of $50,000 per year. And with pay jumping that fast, a few thousand dollars worth of training becomes more of an investment.


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  • 127 Comments
      glassguy2
      • 2 Years Ago
      many on here say ship by rail ,who do u think has to be on both ends to make it work ? that train doesnt stop in every town to unload your crap . im not a driver but damn how stupid can you be
      Phillip
      • 2 Years Ago
      I am a retired truck driver, car hauler, Sure you can make $50,000.00 a year ( I did my second year driving 1n1998). What they don't tell you is that is withe 60-70 on duty hours per week. Do the math and you can work two $25,000.00 a year jobs and still be home every day. My last year I did make $100,000.00 but busted my derriere and earned every penny of it. If you want to get away from your family that bad go fishing.
      SundaeDriver
      • 2 Years Ago
      As a professional driver, here's an insiders view. $50k a year "is" attainable. After many many many many years as a low-paid company driver, staying out 3-4 weeks at a time, taking no vacation, never seeing your family (even on holidays), countless hours of downtime waiting on loads or waiting on repairs or waiting on the DOT for random roadside inspections, and a lot more. Large trucking companies see new recruits as dime-a-dozen and are completely expendable. If you don't make it, there's someone right behind you who can take your seat right away. The recruiters who you talk to first will tell you any lie they need to in order to get you to sign on (been there, heard the bullshit). The trainers you spend time in a truck with to learn how the company works will tell you any lie they need in order to keep you with the company (been there, heard that bullshit, too). Then once you get signed off from training and are given your own truck, the dispatchers will drop the truth in your lap like a ton of bricks. You're a number and nothing more, you're going to get home once a month if you're lucky, and you're going to be paid pennies per mile (been there and guess what? Heard that bullshit as well. Also couldn't buy the t-shirt because I couldn't afford it). There are a million reasons why I got out of that lifestyle as fast as I could. I'm still driving a truck for a living and loving it. It's a lifestyle some people can thrive on, and more power to them. Now, Autoblog, please please please do a bit more research next time you copy/paste an article onto your website. There's some good information here, unfortunately its mixed in with a mountain of dis-information that the big trucking companies love to feed potential employees.
        schnellsalem
        • 2 Years Ago
        @SundaeDriver
        Your right Sundae.. When I was driving, thats all I seemed to do was sit at loading docks, wishing I could get home and making nothing while sitting there while union workers ***** assed around !!!
      RocketRed
      • 2 Years Ago
      Lots of informative comments here. One possible additional factor here is the increase in fuel costs. As I understand, independent drivers must pay for their own fuel. When prices rise, fuel cuts into their margins heavily. From an economic point of view I find this inefficient and odd. The shippers and customers, obviously, don't want fuel price change risk on their books, or any other variable cost of transport. Who does. But the party least able to diversity and manage, the driver, has to manage this issue.
      ftwcowboy61
      • 2 Years Ago
      always has been a shortage big companies tell you anything to get you hired then the truth comes out, after you have been there for a while and in debt to the company 50K years away with no experience. most of us out here driving are tired of the bad pay,long hours and no help from the public in general. try giving a driver a little room to manuver ie making turns, getting on the highway, not cutting in front of them like your in a nascar race might be helpful to those of us still out here just remember everything you have has been hauled on a truck just so you can get it at the store or delivered straight to your house, trucks stop and you do without and it could be something you or someone you know needs.
      Jean
      • 2 Years Ago
      Let me make it real simple for anyone contemplating a trucking career - When the day comes that a truck driver can make the same amount of money that any warehouse worker can make in 40 hours and not have to work 70 hours to do it, then grab the job. Otherwise you are just playing with your pudding, and subjecting yourself to relentless and unnecessary tactics by the State and Federal governments to take whatever than can get from you. Let's just take a look at the ridiculous hands free law. Get caught talking on your phone in a commercial vehicle and it's a $2,700.00 fine to the driver and $11,000.00 to the company. If that's not good enough let's take a peek at the fact that if you work for a company and are pulled in for an inspection, any defect on the truck becomes a mark on your record not to mention a fine to the driver. The trucking industry has become romper room. They must have had the same moron that thought of the TSA come in and head up the DOT. Oh yeah, and it's all for safety. These people drive more miles in a year than most drive in 10, and are proficient at it. The down side is that most of these hard working folks have never had insurance, much less a retirement. The only way they made their way was robbing Peter to pay Paul and working endless housr on end. I say pay all driver's a 40 hour a week paycheck and time and a half after that up to 70 hours. For the owner operators I say pay them the same along with a truck expense check of 50% of whatever the load pays. That's fair, and I bet you would never see another tired truck driver ourt there. There would be no shortage and you could retain the very best the industry had to offer. If that's not realistic, than what is realistic is eating cold day old Chicken from the Royal Farm while your sitting there for nothing waiting on that cheap paying load.
        ftwcowboy61
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Jean
        40 hours a week and 50 percent of the load wont cover the expense of the truck ,fuel, insurance and maintenence. let alone blow a tire give you props for trying, but the numbers arent there for an owner op at those wages
      RJC
      • 2 Years Ago
      The total hours spent behind the wheel is a safety issue. That's the government making that law, no different than what airline pilots have to follow. I have no probems with that one. That posted safe driver list. That's an insurance thing. If you apply for a job with Dominos delivering pizza, they want to see your DMV record. They don't want to hire an unsafe yahoo who may be a liability, and run up their insurance costs, and expose them to lawsuits from damages incurred on the clock.
      Tweaker
      • 2 Years Ago
      Now that most trucks are company owned, the biggest factor is their low pay and long hours. It has finally come around to bite them. Now they will just have to offer more money to attract more drivers. Unless they figure out a way to import Mexicans to do it cheaper.
        Groagun
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Tweaker
        Sorry to tell you, they are: and not just with Mexicans.
      davefromfwb1
      • 2 Years Ago
      trust me driving a truck is no fun at all.
      proxim2020
      • 2 Years Ago
      For any one with a family, home time is probably the biggest turn off. Starting out, you're going to be away for weeks or months at a time with a few days back at home. That is unless you score regional/hot shot runs, which isn't likely first starting out. Second I'd say is the pay. That 50k a year is after you have some experience. Most newbies get pretty low cents per mile. When you add in the hour restrictions, being at the mercy of the dispatcher, and paying back training, the first couple of years will realistically only get you somewhere around 30k-35k. Now the independent trucker is king. It's not that hard to do 100k a year in business. You can easily clear 50k in the first year after all of your business expenses. You make your own schedule, charge your own rates, and pull the loads you want. You also do your own maintenance and have to find your loads yourself. But in the end running your own truck is a lot more profitable than working for a company, but it's a lot more work.
      insanemstng
      • 2 Years Ago
      Crappy dispatchers living in a truck never seeing home and they wonder why they cant get drivers and to add to it law enforcement that ***** on the drivers in every state.
      Ron Lappreau
      • 2 Years Ago
      Fifty grand? That's exactly the kind of crap that causes new drivers to bail as soon as they realize they've been scammed by professional liars.
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