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America’s truck driver crisis is complicated

Truckers fuel up their trucks at the Loves Truck stop in Springville, Utah.
Truckers fuel up their trucks at the Loves Truck stop in Springville, Utah.

Truck driving in America remains in crisis. There are 80,000 fewer drivers on the road than needed, according to the American Trucker’s Association.

This dearth is having a ripple effect on the supply chain crisis. Approximately 71 percent of all freight moved across the United States was carried by trucks last year.

Retention within the industry remains a critical problem. The average turnover rate for truck drivers is around100 percentper quarter. For every driver that starts at the beginning of the month, there’s another driver coming in three months later.

Women, who make up only 8 percent of truck drivers, also face unique challenges working in the industry.

“I urge people to know about the sexual assault in truck driver training, with women falling through the cracks,” says Desiree Wood, the president of Real Women in Trucking. “We hear all this hype about how the trucking industry wants more women. There’s a reason why as a percentage of them have not grown.”

A survey out of Western Kentucky University of236 female truck drivers found92 percentexperienced some form of sexual harassment on the job. 

Drivers are often working 11 to 14 hour days but are only being compensated for the miles they drive. On average that compensation totals $47,000 a year.

Our panel examines the challenges facing truck drivers today and the future of the industry.

Copyright 2022 WAMU 88.5

Chris Remington