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Truck driver shortage: innovative ways to recruit and retain professional drivers

By Verizon Connect June 28, 2023

The trucking industry is currently facing a significant challenge with a nationwide shortage of truck drivers. By understanding current challenges, fleet managers can work towards overcoming the driver shortage by strengthening their workforce. From looking for new ways to encourage young people to pursue a profession in truck driving to using technology to support and incentivize current employees, this blog will explore strategies and tools that fleet managers across industries can use to recruit and retain quality drivers. 

Current driver shortage challenges facing the U.S.

Fleet managers have to navigate a variety of challenges on a daily basis. Managing fuel costs, ensuring compliance with government regulations, route optimization and scheduling, and maintaining vehicle safety are just a few examples. However, according to the American Transportation Research Institute (ATRI), in 2022 respondents listed “driver shortage” as the second biggest challenge fleet management companies face.1 To address these challenges, fleet managers must adopt effective management strategies, embrace advanced technologies, and prioritize continuous improvement and employee satisfaction. Here are some of the strategies that the ATRI recommends to recruit drivers: 

  1. Support outreach initiatives targeting high school students and young adults. Data from the U.S. Census Bureau shows that 30.3 percent of the industry’s driver workforce is over 55 years of age.2 
  2. Work with insurers to identify ways to expand coverage for younger drivers as part of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s (FMCSA) Safe Driver Apprenticeship Pilot (SDAP) Program. The Drive Safe Act, signed into law as part of the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA) in November 2021, includes a new national pilot test allowing up to 3,000 18- to 20-year-olds to operate in interstate freight commerce.  However, many motor carriers have indicated that they will not participate in the SDAP due to onboard technology requirements and/or the cost of insuring younger drivers.  
  3. Advocate for regulatory changes to allow a state to administer a driving skills test to any out-of-state Commercial Driver’s License (CDL) applicant, regardless of where the applicant received driver training. One key focus area of the Biden-Harris Administration Trucking Action Plan is to “take steps to reduce barriers to drivers getting CDLs,” including FMCSA providing over $30 million to help state licensing agencies expedite CDL issuance.3

How technology plays a key role

While it is important to recruit quality drivers, it is just as important to retain them. Showing your employees you care about their contributions and safety can go a long way in maintaining a strong workforce. 

One critical way to retain drivers is by giving them the tools they need to succeed. Telematics technology can support drivers in unique ways – giving them the support they need while out on the road. Interactive dashboards and benchmarking functionality enable fleet managers to gamify driver performance and closely monitor adherence to company policies. Integrated video solutions act as a driver's co-pilot, reducing the risk of accidents and near-misses, providing evidence of liability, and facilitating the development of individualized coaching plans. These solutions identify and reward good driver behavior, fostering a positive and safety-conscious work environment.

These are just a few examples of how integrated video can serve as a driver's co-pilot while they are out on the road. By leveraging video sensors, pedestrian recognition, and artificial intelligence, GPS fleet tracking solutions can provide valuable information and assistance to drivers, enhancing their situational awareness and helping to prevent accidents on the road.

Check out this on-demand webinar to learn more about how technology can help keep current drivers content and attract new drivers.

Address the challenge head on

The driver shortage in the trucking industry is a complex issue that requires a multifaceted approach to address. By combining effective strategies with the right technology tools, fleet managers can make significant progress in recruiting and retaining quality drivers. It is crucial to prioritize driver satisfaction, embrace diversity in the workforce, and leverage advanced solutions such as those offered by Verizon Connect. Together, we can overcome the challenges posed by the driver shortage and build a stronger and more resilient truck driver workforce.

Help give your drivers the tools they need to succeed. Schedule a demo today. 



2Current Population Survey (CPS) 2021.  U.S. Census Bureau and Bureau of Labor Statistics. https://www.bls.gov/cps/


Verizon Connect

Verizon Connect Staff represents a team of professionals passionate about everything telematics. Get to hear about the latest trends, product features and industry best practices from the desk of Verizon Connect Staff.

Tags: Cost control, Data & Analytics, Performance & Coaching, Team Management, Training

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