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How will hiring delays affect the trucking industry?

01.7.2020 - 12:24 PM Comments: 0

One of the biggest industry talking points for several years has been the driver shortage, and how it can affect the growth of trucking going forward. 

If the shortage issues are to be believed, then it would behoove companies to hire applicants as soon as possible so they can fill in the gaps. Nevertheless, it seems as though the FMCSA’s Drug and Alcohol Clearinghouse rule may cause significant delays to start the year, according to CCJ. 

The Clearinghouse, which will be required as of Jan. 6 2020, will compile records of all drivers who have failed or refused a drug or alcohol test and make that information available for companies to review in the pre-employment process. 

Because many are currently unaware of the rule, there has been a vast lack of registrations. This will likely cause setbacks for prospective drivers looking to be employed early in the year, as the system gets up and running. 

So, will these delays ultimately affect the driver shortage? Well, it’s really hard to say.

It ultimately can depend on driver turnover. If there’s an abundance of drivers looking to switch companies, the delay may well affect a large portion of the industry. 

According to the American Trucking Association, driver turnover in 2018 was 89 percent for large for-hire fleets and 73% for small for-hire fleets. It’s also important to note that these numbers are due to drivers mostly switching from one carrier to another. 

Subsequently, if those numbers are anything to go off of, there may be a slight possibility that a sizeable amount of drivers will switch carriers in the new year. These drivers would ultimately be affected by the Clearinghouse delay, as their last-minute registrations would cause them to lag behind in the employment process. 

In turn, any delays for experienced drivers could be seen as a downside for the industry, as carriers would likely also experience delays with their loads. With a smaller driver pool, it can be harder to find drivers to take loads, especially if the rates aren’t good. 

Nonetheless, this is purely speculation as of now. While the delay would affect new and experienced drivers looking for employment, there is no expectation that a large number of drivers will be ultimately affected. 

All in all, a potential shortage due to the Clearinghouse seems unlikely, but the effects are yet to be seen. So, what do you think about the Clearinghouse rules? Let us know in the comments or on social media!

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