ATA report shows increased truck driver turnover for large fleets

The ATA’s Trucking Activity Report said that there was an annualized rate of 75 percent for large truckload fleet driver turnover, representing a 69 percent increase from the fourth quarter of 2010 and a 39 percent annual increase compared to the first quarter of 2010. The first quarter turnover percentage is at its highest level since the second quarter of 2008.

By ·

A new report from the American Trucking Associations (ATA) found that longhaul truck driver turnover was up during the first quarter.

The ATA’s Trucking Activity Report said that there was an annualized rate of 75 percent for large truckload fleet driver turnover, representing a 69 percent increase from the fourth quarter of 2010 and a 39 percent annual increase compared to the first quarter of 2010. The first quarter turnover percentage is at its highest level since the second quarter of 2008.

The report noted that turnover is on the rise, with the driver market tightening in conjunction and drivers moving around from one carrier to another for the best pay and benefits.

“The driver market is tightening,” ATA Chief Economist Bob Costello said in a statement. “We hear nearly every day from fleets who cannot find enough drivers to meet demand. With the economy continuing to recover from the Great Recession, the implementation of new regulations and the number of retirees outpacing the number of drivers entering the industry, I expect to see the turnover rate continue to rise.”

Driver turnover and tight capacity are two things that clearly go hand in hand in the trucking industry, especially during the current tight market conditions, spurred on by a stalled economic recovery and the recent implementation of CSA 2010, as well as possible changes to truck driver hours-of-service regulations.

And unless capacity is added by major trucking players, it is likely that turnover will continue at its current rate, say industry experts.

“Even if carriers were buying trucks, they still cannot find drivers,” said Lana Batts, partner at Transport Capitol Partners. “In order for carriers to attract and retain drivers, rates will need to rise from where they are today. Rate hikes will go to driver pay first even though unemployment is still nearly ten percent. Possible driver candidates are collecting unemployment with a cash job on the side—and are also home every night.”

While the ATA report points to increased turnover, it should not suggest that strong economic activity is what is supporting that effort, according to FTR Associates Senior Consultant Noel Perry.

“The trucking data is not an indication of economic recovery,” Perry told LM in a recent interview. “It is an indication of a trucking recovery.  Turnover goes up early in recoveries as drivers who want to change fleets do so.  Truckers have not hired earlier because productivity allowed them to move more freight without hiring.  Now they have to hire to expand.”

The ATA report also found that driver turnover at small truckload fleets inched up one percentage point to 50 percent in the first quarter for its highest level since the third quarter of 2008, and less-than-truckload (LTL) fleet turnover rose to 8 percent in the first quarter from 6 percent in the fourth quarter of 2010.


About the Author

Jeff Berman, Group News Editor
Jeff Berman is Group News Editor for Logistics Management, Modern Materials Handling, and Supply Chain Management Review. Jeff works and lives in Cape Elizabeth, Maine, where he covers all aspects of the supply chain, logistics, freight transportation, and materials handling sectors on a daily basis. Contact Jeff Berman

Subscribe to Logistics Management Magazine!

Subscribe today. It's FREE!
Get timely insider information that you can use to better manage your entire logistics operation.
Start your FREE subscription today!

Latest Whitepaper
Is Your Logistics Strategy Keeping Pace with Your Manufacturing Efficiency?
U.S. manufacturers continue to invest in world-class technology and innovation, as a growing number of businesses choose to expand U.S.-based production — or return manufacturing from Asia.
Download Today!
From the April 2017 Issue
While adoption rates have remained relatively flat, yard management systems (YMS) are helping logistics operations turn that important space between the loading dock and the gate into a vital link in the supply chain.
Information Management: Wearables come in for a refit
2017 Air Cargo Roundtable: Positive Outlook Driven by New Demand
View More From this Issue
Subscribe to Our Email Newsletter
Sign up today to receive our FREE, weekly email newsletter!
Latest Webcast
Maximize Your LTL Driver Adherence with Real-time Feedback
This webinar shows how companies are using real-time performance data to optimize the scheduling of their city fleets, as well as the routing of their standard, accelerated and time-critical shipments.
Register Today!
EDITORS' PICKS
2017 Salary Survey: Fresh Voices Express Optimism
Our “33rd Annual Salary Survey” reflects more diversity entering the logistics management...
LM Exclusive: Major Modes Join E-commerce Mix
While last mile carriers receive much of the attention, the traditional modal heavyweights are in...

ASEAN Logistics: Building Collectively
While most of the world withdraws inward, Southeast Asia is practicing effective cooperation between...
2017 Rate Outlook: Will the pieces fall into place?
Trade and transport analysts see a turnaround in last year’s negative market outlook, but as...