Poor retention rates lead to truck driver shortage in the Ozarks

Published: Jun. 28, 2021 at 4:34 PM CDT
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SPRINGFIELD, Mo. (KY3) - Trucking companies are working to fix driver shortages following the pandemic, an issue from recent turnover.

Anthony Meloy works at Trailiner Corporation in Springfield as a driver recruiter and training manager. He says currently the market is as ruthless as he’s seen.

”Everybody’s looking for drivers. The packages just keep getting better and better, the pay just keeps getting better and better. And It’s just more ruthless out there than what it ever used to be,” said Meloy.

We’ve heard about a lot of material shortages recently. But this shortage impacts all materials.

”Having enough drivers is never a problem you’re ever going to have,” Meloy explained.

The pandemic along with industry changes have affected near 50,000 drivers. It left plenty of driver seats empty with deliveries needing to be made.

”So 50,000 drivers can haul about 40,000 pounds of product each week. That’s 2 billion pounds of product in one week the country is missing out on,” said Meloy.

The biggest reason, poor driver retention rates.

”I know nationwide its like 90% turnover rate,” said Meloy.

At Trailiner, the numbers aren’t nearly bad, but they’re looking at younger generations to help fill the gap.

”We’re doing a lot of stuff on social media, trying to reach out that way, because we’re always looking for that younger generation to get started,” said Meloy.

”We need it, trucks keep the United States moving,” said Alex George who has driven for Trailiner for five years.

”Its a great job if you’re willing to sacrifice time away from home,” said George.

He believes driving has never been more vital.

”During the pandemic I was happy to be out driving,” said George. “I was bringing people produce, delivering stuff that’s going to help people out.”

He says the worst shortages are being seen with large trucking corporations where turnover rates are the highest, and the effects are evident.

”You can tell a new driver, you can tell when they’re trying to back up,” said George. “They don’t know, like the rules of the road, that truckers follow.”

But whether its getting new drivers or trying to keep old ones, there’s one constant.

”We want to have good quality drivers,” said Meloy

If you’re interested in applying to become a driver or getting your commercial drivers license, you can click below.




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