Auto Transport Industry Driver Shortage Crisis: What You Need To Know

Auto Transport

The auto transportation industry plays a vital role in moving new and used vehicles across the country, but many companies are facing challenges due to a lack of qualified drivers Auto Transport.

This article will examine why the driver shortage has become such a problem and what impact it is having on those who rely on car haulers.

How severe is the driver shortage?

Industry experts estimate that the driver shortage currently stands at over 60,000 openings across the car hauling sector. This is having widespread ramifications as there simply aren’t enough drivers to meet demand. Some key statistics that demonstrate the depth of the problem include:

  • Over 30% of auto transport carriers report not having adequate drivers to haul all the vehicles they’re booked to move.
  • Driver turnover rates average over 90% annually as veterans retire and younger drivers leave for higher paying jobs in other industries.
  • Average driver age is nearly 50, meaning 40% will retire within the next decade further exacerbating shortfalls.

How is the shortage impacting auto transport companies?

With so few qualified drivers on the road, car haulers are struggling to operate at full capacity. Many have been forced to turn down lucrative contracts which is impacting revenue and growth potential.Specific challenges they face include:

Inability to accept New business from automakers and dealers needing vehicles shipped across long distances.
Delivery delays Vehicles can sit idle on carrier lots for weeks awaiting transport, frustrating customers.
Rate increases Carriers have raised prices 15-30% to cover higher driver salaries and recruitment costs.

Unless more drivers enter the industry, constraints will only tighten further for auto transport firms dealing with capacity constraints and inflationary pressures.

Why is it hard to attract drivers?

There are several major factors discouraging new entrants to auto hauling driving careers:

  • Grueling schedules with long hours spent away from home on multi-day routes across multiple states
  • Physically demanding work operating heavy equipment and loading/unloading vehicles all day
  • CDL certification requires money and time for training most are reluctant to invest
  • Competition from local trucking/delivery jobs with more regular home time and better pay rates

With these challenges, it’s easy to understand the appeal is limited for workforce aged 18-35 which the industry relies on. Unstable scheduling and low wages compared to alternatives also hamstring recruitment.

Auto Transport – What solutions are needed?

To resolve the driver crisis, auto transport companies will need to take meaningful steps to revitalize the industry’s appeal. Some strategies that could help include:

  • Investing in modern equipment to enhance driver comfort and reduce fatigue on long hauls
  • Providing more predictable home/work schedules through technology and optimized routes
  • Raising driver pay to competitive levels and offering bonuses/incentives
  • Implementing hiring and training programs to actively promote careers and fund CDL classes
  • Lobbying for legislative changes supporting drivers like tax credits for health/retirement benefits

By taking a collaborative, long term approach, the auto transport sector still has opportunity to solve its workforce shortfalls. But time is of the essence, as capacity limitations will only worsen if drivers continue exiting faster than new recruitment occurs.