Truck Driver Shortage: A Look Under the Hood

Supply chain issues have been wreaking havoc on the U.S. since the start of the global COVID-19 pandemic. The strain these issues have put on companies around the globe has proven, more than ever, the value of dedicated truck drivers.

Adding even greater strain on current drivers and supply chain problems, we're experiencing a record-breaking driver shortage. In fact, according to a study by the American Trucking Association (ATA), the industry is currently short 80,000 drivers. By 2030, they're anticipating that number to double.

While companies continue to see a lack of driver applicants, some experts are questioning the reasons behind the shortage. At the end of 2021, there were 375,000 commercial license holders in Pennsylvania alone, suggesting that a lack of qualified drivers isn't the issue here.

Other states are experiencing similar disconnects in the number of CDL drivers versus job openings. California, for example, reports 640,445 people hold their CDL, yet there are only 140,000 “truck transportation” jobs in the state, according to the state Employment Development Department.

We have to ask the question, is there a great trucker shortage or is there a shortage in truck driving roles that offer the quality of life employees deserve?

Here are the major truck transportation issues we see:

Pay Scale Chart

The Pay Problem
On average, truck drivers get paid 60 to 70 cents per mile. This pay structure doesn't account for any other time spent transporting products, including weather, traffic and long unloading dock lines, which have significantly increased due to supply chain issues. 

The Watsontown Trucking Solution
Paying truck drivers by the mile is an outdated, unsustainable approach. We believe the dedicated men and women who keep our production, distribution, and trade systems rolling should be compensated for every hour they work.

That's why all Watsontown Trucking drivers are paid by the hour. Regardless of the bumps in the road, they get paid for the hours they put into the job – because we value their time. Additionally, for the remainder of 2022, all Watsontown Trucking drivers will receive a Trucking Appreciation Bonus of an extra $.50/hour for every hour worked.

The Safety Problem
Safety is often a low priority for many companies. They want to push as many shipments out the door and on time as possible, regardless of the personal toll it takes on drivers.

The Watsontown Trucking Solution
Fathers. Mothers. Sons. Daughters. Wives. Husbands.

We see our truck drivers for who they are. On and off the job. Getting them home safely at the end of each day is our top priority. That's what matters most. Our owners, director of safety, drivers, administrative assistants – everyone knows safety comes first, and they practice what we preach.

Driver safety is the No. 1 reason we pay by the hour. Logging an unreasonable amount of hours just to make ends meet isn't an acceptable way of life. With hourly pay, safety bonuses, and support from the top down, our drivers are on the road keeping themselves and those around them as safe as possible.

The Bottom Line Problem
In the world of logistics, it is common for many leaders to focus solely on the company's bottom line, which leads to poor working conditions and low-quality equipment.

The Watsontown Trucking Solution
Our employees are our bottom line. When you work for Watsontown Trucking, you're encouraged to bring your whole self to work with the promise that we'll treat you with the respect you deserve. That respect fuels every decision we make for our employees, including state-of-the-art trucks, health coverage, 401(k) with company matching, paid vacation packages, and so much more.

Watsontown Trucking works hard every day to solve the many issues plaguing truck drivers in our industry. Our top priority is to ensure CDL holders have a safe place to proudly call their workplace. While we know the supply chain shortage problems are complex and won't be resolved anytime soon, we believe treating truck drivers with the respect and hourly pay they deserve is as simple as it comes.

Have questions about our truck driver shortage solutions? Let's chat!

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