How Many Truck Drivers Are in the USA?

By The Schneider Guy Jul 27, 2018
Truck drivers on the highway

The American Trucking Associations estimates that there are 3.5 million truck drivers in the USA.

And we need more.

In fact, we need roughly 90,000 more truck drivers a year for the next decade according to ATA to keep up with demand. Currently over 70 percent of the items we consume are being carried on America’s highways, and the driver shortage is causing consumer pricing and supplier costs to increase.

So what gives?

Why is there a truck driver shortage?

According to ATA, the trucking industry has struggled with a truck driver shortage for the past 15 years. Here are the primary reasons for the USA driver shortage:

1. Average Age of Existing Workforce

One of the biggest factors of the truck driver shortage is the industry average age. According to Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average age of a professional truck driver is 55 years old. That’s 10 years older than comparable industries like construction and manufacturing. As these drivers go into retirement, the industry isn’t seeing the same number of new drivers replacing them.

Schneider has been proactive in finding new ways to attract younger drivers:

  • Continuously re-evaluating pay structure
  • Offering sign-on bonuses
  • Offering competitive benefit packages
  • Expanding home time options
  • Keeping a young truck fleet
  • Enhancing technology and equipment
  • Offering Paid CDL Training and Tuition Reimbursement options

2. Not Tapping into Full Workforce

Another factor of the driver shortage is the industry is not utilizing the full workforce. Females make up about 47 percent of the nation’s workforce and only 6 percent within the trucking industry. The trucking industry has been stereotyped as being a man’s industry because of the physical component to it. With changes to the equipment this is no longer the case.

Schneider has been working on changing this stereotype by:

  • Highlighting current female drivers in our marketing channels
  • Dedicating a page on our website to Women in Trucking to help educate potential female candidates about Schneider and Trucking Industry
  • Providing options for female trainers for our female students
  • Standing by our “Safety First and Always” core value and offering safe equipment and safe facilities
  • Providing drop-and-hook driving job opportunities
  • Upgrading our fleet to automated transmissions and ergonomics so that females feel comfortable in the truck

3. Undesirable Lifestyle

The lifestyle of a truck driver — at least as stereotypically shown — is another factor that is keeping people from entering the trucking industry. For many, being on the road for an extended period of time is not ideal and can take some time to adjust to.

Schneider has been working on making the lifestyle more desirable by:

  • Offering an ever-increasing variety of home time configurations, which allows individuals to get home when they want to
  • Offering tips and tricks to eat healthy and exercise on the road
  • Providing a sleep apnea program

According to the ATA, if current trends continue, by 2026 we will have a truck driver shortage in the USA of over 174,000 drivers.

Looking for a rewarding career in a high-demand industry?

Be part of the new wave of professional truck drivers joining a needed industry at a critical stage. The need has never been higher, and the driver-friendly jobs have never been better.

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Do you have any questions about the truck driver shortage or about anything Schneider is doing to overcome it? Comment below.


About the Author

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Schneider Guy loves the “Big Orange.” He’s passionate about the trucking industry and connecting people to rewarding careers within it. He’s been the eyes and ears of our company since our founding in 1935, and he’s excited to interact with prospective and current Schneider associates through “A Slice of Orange."

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