Turnover rates at small and large trucking fleets have dropped by 10 percent to an annualized rate of 71%, which is the lowest it has been in six years, according to the American Trucking Associations (ATA). The rate drop was actually smaller for small fleets, which shrunk by 16 percent. Some economists are saying this reduction in turnover may have a silver lining – fewer people leaving their posts may lead to safer truck drivers with more experience on the roads possibly leading to fewer accidents on the roadways.
“Continued declines in turnover rate reflects the overall choppiness of the freight market,” said ATA Chief Economist Bob Costello. “As inventory levels throughout the supply chain are drawn down to more normal levels, and freight volumes recover, we should see turnover rise along with concerns about the driver shortage.”1
How Does a Trucker Shortage and Decrease Turnover Help Keep Roadways Safer?
Economists and industry analysts point to a trucker shortage and lower levels of turnover as reasons for possible decreases in truck-related accidents. Here’s some of the findings, according to the ATA:2
- Due to a shortage of truck drivers in the industry, truckers are finding a short-term bump in higher paying jobs as well as employers who seem to be sweetening retention efforts to keep experienced truckers.
- In 2014, there was an estimated 35,000 to 40,000 openings for drivers that companies were having problems hiring for, which was up 5,000 more openings than previous estimates by the ATA.
- Fortunately, the turnover rate at larger careers with fleets of $30 million in revenue or more has been on the decline for four consecutive quarters.
- ATA’s Chief Economist Bob Costello expects the driver shortage to remain at high levels due to growing freight volumes, normal turnover, and regulatory pressures.
What Will Self-Driving Trucks Do to the Industry?
One possible solutions to the shortage of truck drivers and unpredictable attrition rates is the emergence of self-driving trucks, say industry analysts. Here are some of the expected effects of implementing self-driving trucks in the future:3
- Self-driving trucks are expected to help fill some of the 1.7 million trucking jobs in the U.S. in the not so distant future.
- Retrofitting trucks with self-driving technology software and equipment is expected to cost an estimated $30,000 per vehicle.
- In-the-cab drivers (or monitors) will have fairly minor roles in the future of self-driving trucks, which will most likely translate to pay cuts.
- Industry experts are reluctant to predict what self-driving trucks will do for highway safety, because most know trucks can’t swerve to avoid obstacles the way cars can.
- Likewise, many avoidance software algorithms for self-driving vehicles don’t really apply to trucks.
- Highway speeds and limited maneuverability were other factors that could pose problems for self-driving trucks.
- One thing is for certain, industry experts all agree that the technology shouldn’t rush to the highways, but instead take time to perfect self-driving technology so that it becomes widely accepted.
Contact a Denver Truck Accident Attorney with the Warshauer McLaughlin Law Group
Chances are, if you or a loved one has been in a truck-related accident you’ve either sustained an injury, property damage, or both? That’s why you can count on the experience and compassionate Denver Truck Accident Attorney with the Warshauer McLaughlin Law Group, who will tenaciously fight for your rights and work to get you the best possible outcome for your case.
Our knowledgeable and trustworthy legal experts perform independent investigations to assess the facts and look for holes our opponent’s cases. We’re sure after you’ve spoken to our Denver truck accident attorney, you’ll see why we are the best solution to your truck-related accident case.
Schedule a free, no-obligation consultation with us today, by calling (720) 606-6887 or emailing us using the contact form on this page. We an have office located in Denver, but we’ll also consider representing truck-related accident clients throughout the rest of the state as well.
1“Are Commercial Truck Cameras Making Roads Safer?” published on Yahoo Finance, April 2017.
2“US Truck Driver Shortage Getting Worse, Turnover Figures Show” published in The Journal of Commerce, April 2015.
3“Self-Driving Trucks: Tractor-Trailers Without a Human at the Wheel Will Soon Barrel onto Highways Near You. What Will This Mean for the Nation’s 1.7 Million Truck Drivers?” published in the MIT Technology Review, April 2017.