There is a shortage of qualified over-the-road truck drivers in America today, and that problem is expected to get worse. The new electronic logging device regulation will more than likely make this problem worse when it goes into effect in early 2015. Most of the trucking industry does not have these logging devices today, and analysts expect 100 percent compliance within a year or two of the rule going into effect.
I'm usually pretty skeptical whenever a trucking industry study suggests that there is a "shortage" of drivers since the study is done by the industry organization that employs these truck drivers.
I would tend to say that there aren’t enough truck drivers available at the pay rate that is being offered today. Given the relatively short time it takes to train a professional OTR driver, wouldn’t it be easy to solve this problem if the pay rates were more attractive? It's a tough lifestyle and staying out on the road for a month at a time for 32¢ per mile is no longer an attractive lure to get young people interested in trucking.
So I ask....should every truck job in America be salaried? Would salaried driving personnel be less likely to push the envelope when it comes to hours of service? Probably. Would salaried driving personnel be more likely to drive slower (and potentially safer) if they were not paid by the mile? Probably.
It certainly might not be the end-all answer to the trucking industries problems of finding new truck drivers for their open trucking jobs, but it sure could go a long way in starting to solve an age-old problem.