The Reasons Behind Driver Shortage in the Trucking Industry

Written by: 
Heather Giordano
Posted on: 
May 9, 2016

So much talk of a driver shortage, what are the primary reasons the industry is struggling with a driver shortage? Let's take a look.


The median age of the over-the-road truck driver is 49, compared with just 42 for all U.S. workers. Some sectors within the trucking industry have an even higher median age. Private fleet drivers have a median age of 52 years old. Additionally, the current age requirement to drive a tractor-trailer across interstate lines is 21. This means that interstate motor carriers miss out on the population between 18 and 21. Often, these individuals obtain employment in construction or the service industry as they can start their careers at a younger age.



Females make up 47% of all U.S. workers, yet only makeup 6% of all truck drivers, according to the U.S. Department of Labor. The number is holding steady between 4.5% and 6% since 2000.


As a newbie in the industry drivers are typically assigned routes that put them in the road for long periods of time before they return home, averaging a week or two. This makes it a lifestyle not just a career, unfortunately this lifestyle does not fit with everyone's desires. Eventually, many drivers move into regional or local driving positions with tenure.

Job Market

With the current job market so improved there are many job alternatives available for current would-be drivers. Many of these alternative jobs often carry much less responsibility and regulatory guidelines to adhere to.

ATAs 2014 Driver Compensation Study
10 U.S. Department of Labor
11 The American Transportation Research Institute (ATRI) completed a study regarding truck driver ages.
That study is available at www.atri-online.org12ATAs 2014 Driver Compensation Study
13 ATA is calling for lowering of the minimum age requirement through a graduated commercial driver's license program.
See the press release here: