Truck industry leader blames big business for driver shortage

By Small BusinessFOXBusiness

Truck driver pay plummeted in last 30 years: Drivers association president

Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association president Todd Spencer on the shortage of truck drivers.

Todd Spencer, the president of the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association, is holding big corporations accountable for the truck driver shortage.

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“Shareholders want to see greater productivity and lesser labor costs and that’s what they push for,” Spencer told FOX Business’ Stuart Varney on “Varney & Co,” on Tuesday.

While 90% of the trucking industry is small business, Spencer said corporations lobby for more regulations that drivers “generally hate.”

“They get burned out,” he said. “Sometimes [in] a few months… but almost all of them within a year — 100 percent turnover is generally the norm for big publicly traded companies.”

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While age and liabilities are also a factor, Spencer said pay is a major contributor the lack of drivers.

“Pay for truck drivers has been falling for three decades,” he said. “The job comes with a requirement for maybe 40 to 50 thousand dollars a year in annual income, which isn’t bad, but you couple that with work weeks that are 70-80 hours long—many of that time is spent on the road, away from families, gone for weeks at a time — sometimes months.”

The median annual salary for truck drivers was around $40,000 in 2016, according to the Labor Department.

When you compare pay to the Consumer Price Index, drivers would need to be making twice what they are making now to keep up since 1980, Spencer said.

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