BRENTWOOD, Tenn. — Like any profession, truck drivers have their share of concerns.
Right now, compensation and equipment quality are the two main issues on the minds of many truckers, according to a new study.
The information was gathered as part of PDA’s efforts to help trucking companies curb turnover while providing accurate and actionable data to address their drivers’ concerns.
The fact that money and equipment are the top concern of today’s drivers reflects the ongoing supply chain issues and the softening freight market, PDA officials said.
“The landscape has continued to evolve since the end of the first quarter,” Scott Dismuke, PDA’s vice president of operations, said. “While the equipment and supply chain issues remain prevalent and freight is still good; the spot market has softened, gas prices are still high, interest rates are on the rise and some economists are expecting the unemployment rate to go up. All of these factors could impact the driver market in the last two quarters of 2022.”
Dismuke noted that while overall equipment issues dropped during the first two quarters of 2022, PDA has seen an increase in mechanical/breakdown issues.
“When PDA talks about equipment issues, we consider more than tractor issues,” Dismuke said. “Our equipment data includes tractor issues, mechanical/breakdowns, equipment assignment issues, on-board communication devices, APU/inverters, general maintenance issues and trailer issues. We believe the increase in mechanical/breakdown issues is tied to aging fleets as a result of supply chain difficulties and company’s ability to get new trucks.”
Overall compensation issues were 22.5% in Q2, up over 1% from Q1 totals. Of note, drivers complaining about their pay rate was up 2% quarter over quarter. Dismuke noted that this was the second quarter in a row PDA has seen a rise in driver feedback regarding pay rate complaints.
“Drivers may have to deadhead more to get out of soft freight areas and there are fewer freight options to pick,” Dismuke said. “As a result, for the second quarter in a row, PDA data is showing that drivers complaining about miles-related compensation issues was on the rise.”
Dismuke remarked that recession fears, gas prices and rising interest rates could potentially cause a shift in the freight market and could affect driver data the last two quarters of 2022.
“While PDA does not get into predicting the freight market, economic factors could impact the driver market which may mean that the data PDA has been reporting over the last couple of years could shift,” Dismuke said. “Equipment issues have been the dominate complaint for drivers over the last two years, but if the freight market does soften, miles-related compensation issues and pay-rate complaints could start to rise.”
Driver retention continues to be more important now than it has ever been. Reducing turnover and keeping drivers in trucks will continue to be challenging.
“If we see a softening in the freight, it will be more important than ever to have a good relationship with your drivers to keep them in your trucks,” Dismuke said. “Open and proactive communication with your drivers will be important in the last two quarters of 2022.”
The Trucker News Staff produces engaging content for not only TheTrucker.com, but also The Trucker Newspaper, which has been serving the trucking industry for more than 30 years. With a focus on drivers, the Trucker News Staff aims to provide relevant, objective content pertaining to the trucking segment of the transportation industry. The Trucker News Staff is based in Little Rock, Arkansas.