Texas has not been immune to the driver shortage being experienced throughout the country. The country was short by a record 81,000 commercial truck drivers in 2021 according to a report by the American Trucking Association. That figure has come down slightly to 78,000 drivers as of 2022. That said, there are some encouraging signs about the trajectory of how many truck drivers will soon be available both in Texas and throughout the country.
Local Texas ABC channel KXXV 25 reports the following about improved enrollment numbers at local Texas driving schools:
A nationwide truck driver shortage seems to be easing as truck driving schools in Central Texas are seeing enrollment numbers climb. ATDS Truck Driving School in Waco is seeing classes fill up much faster than at the beginning of the pandemic, according to lead instructor Larry Scott.
This is certainly encouraging news for an industry that has been battered and bruised by the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Increased Salaries Attract New Drivers
Yet another encouraging sign for the truck driving industry is the fact that wages for commercial truck drivers are up. CCJ Digital reports that the American Trucking Association conducted surveys in both 2019 and 2021 related to commercial truck driver salaries. Their surveys uncovered that the median salary for a commercial truck driver in 2021 stood at $69,000. This represents an 18% increase compared to the rates offered in 2019. In addition, many trucking companies have begun to offer sign-on bonuses and other benefits in a bid to encourage more people to obtain the skills they need to drive a commercial truck.
All of these salary increases and other efforts appear to be working. Prospective drivers are flooding driving schools throughout Texas. Many people are starting to once again see driving a commercial truck as a viable career option.
Insurance Rates Can Come Down as More Drivers Sign Up for Work
The commercial driver shortage has been a major problem for the insurance companies that provide policies to drivers. The drivers who remained during the massive shortages were often stretched thin and many felt overworked. This led to a spike in safety incidents and traffic accidents involving commercial trucks in recent years. Therefore, many insurance companies felt that they had no choice but to raise premiums during that time.
Now, the driver shortage appears to be easing, and the drivers who are out on the road can finally get some of the relief they have needed for so long. With new drivers coming online every day, the drivers who have been around for a while may finally get the rest that they need. Hopefully, safety incidents will start to come down as more drivers come onboard. As that happens, insurance premiums can also come down to some extent as well. All of this is good news for those who have been stuck paying the higher rates for some time now.
The Future of the Trucking Industry in Texas
There is a lot of excitement and buzz about what the future of the trucking industry might end up looking like in Texas and beyond. No one can say with absolute certainty what will happen, but there are some reasonable guesses.
It is quite likely that artificial intelligence (AI) will start to play a bigger role in commercial driving than it already does. Indeed, there are many reasons to believe that AI will help with a service such as driver monitoring. This will make it easier for companies to track the good driving behavior of their drivers. As such, it might be possible for insurance companies to lower premium rates on companies that accurately track their drivers and can reasonably prove that they hire those with good driving records. Given all of this, the future may bring even more opportunities for insurance rates to come down for commercial trucking companies.
For more information on the future of commercial driving insurance rates and the industry as a whole, please contact us for the latest details.