Arkansas Trucking Association

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Driver shortage on pause

A dearth of professional truck drivers to haul America’s freight has been a perennial concern for over a decade. However, the coronavirus has reduced demand for drivers so much that the driver shortage is no longer the top concern right now.

National industry publication Transport Topics, recently reported, “The often discussed driver shortage is over — at least for the time being — as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, the deepening U.S. recession and a falloff in the amount of freight being hauled by many sectors of trucking.”

Though demand in several segments has dropped off, requiring fewer drivers, but when the economy rebounds, the shortage is expected to come with it.

“The fundamentals of why we had a driver shortage did not go away,” ATA Chief Economist Bob Costello told Transport Topics. “Demographic issues, age, gender, lifestyle issues. But, for the moment, what has changed is the demand side of the equation has fallen significantly.”

One reason the shortage may reappear is offices that issue new CDLs have been closed or delayed to prevent the spread of COVD-19. New drivers are not able to enter the industry without licenses, med cards, certificates. Many of the processes to obtain these credentials have been affected by the virus.

Driving schools are also graduating fewer new drivers since class sizes must be limited to abide by social distancing guidelines.

“When the economy gets back, I fully expect the driver shortage to come back, maybe even worse than before,” Costello said. “We don’t know how many people will take this opportunity for people to leave the industry.”

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Arkansas Trucking Association
PO Box 3476 (72203)
1401 West Capitol Ave.
Suite 185
Little Rock, AR 72201

(501) 372-3462 | Phone
(501) 376-1810 | Fax

Our Mission

  • PROTECT the collective interests of trucking companies in the political and regulatory arenas.
  • PROMOTE the dynamics of trucking so that people have a better understanding of the link between America's primary freight delivery system and the standard of living they enjoy.
  • SERVE our members to help them to grow their business and their profits
You are here: Home News In Brief Driver shortage on pause