Why You Should Know Your Truck Driver Turnover Rate

truck driver turnover rate

Managing a situation starts with defining it. High truck driver turnover rate and a low retention rate have been consistent problems for trucking companies in North America for years. Large truckload carriers had a driver turnover rate of 92% in Q3 of 2020 according to American Trucking Associations data. It was 74% for drivers with smaller carriers. In 2018, when the big carrier turnover rate was as high as 94%, the average cost of losing and hiring a driver was $11,500 per position. 

Some trucking companies consider turnover an inevitable part of the business. This isn’t the case. To make progress in solving the problem, you have to understand it first. Knowing the truck driver turnover rate for your company can help carriers identify areas of improvement.

How to Calculate Your Driver Turnover Rate

With a little bit of math, you can figure out truck driver turnover rate for yourself. To calculate this, find out how many drivers have left the company this year. Divide that number by days elapsed in the year. Multiply that answer by 365. Divide that product by the total number of drivers, and that’s your turnover rate. 

Truck Driver Turnover Rate from the Driver’s Side

On the individual driver’s side, leaving a trucking job can lead to financial problems. Often, money stress leads to personal, family, health, and emotional stresses.

Our annual trends report of feedback from more than 45,000 drivers found the top five reasons truck drivers quit are: 

  • total compensation
  • time away from home
  • lack of communication
  • paycheck unpredictability
  • issues resolving problems with the carrier

A 2019 article by Freight Waves puts it a little differently. They sum up the main causes as human nature, the economy, health, and expectations versus realities. 

Efforts to Improve Driver Turnover

Working alone for long stretches in trying conditions goes against human nature. Some for-hire carriers are trying to shorten the average length of a haul so drivers can be home more often. 

Most long-haul drivers are paid per mile, which creates a problem when the length of hauls is limited. Truckers need the miles even as they appreciate the breaks. Varying miles in a pay period can create budget issues for drivers. Some carriers are solving this by looking into guaranteed or salary-based pay, or additional forms of compensation like irritant pay.

Being on the road often means little time for a healthy lifestyle, medical appointments, and good food. Availability, making money, and hitting deadlines are the pressing priorities. One answer to the compensation problem is a slight wage bump, but not all trucking companies can afford this. Better health care benefits, paid deadhead miles, and vacation time off might be more attainable solutions. 

Regardless, knowing exactly what will make the most impact starts with by simply asking what your drivers want and need.

Drivers, especially those recently entering the field, often have to learn hard realities on the job. Many come to trucking for a chance to earn competitive wages with little educational background. However, there are costs to this. Long hours, hard working conditions, and mandates from their carriers and the companies they work with on the road could make reality different from what they thought they were getting into.

Understanding your turnover rate could be the key to a stronger alignment for the success of your drivers and your business. 

If you already understand your company’s turnover rate and you’re ready to do something about it, let’s talk.

driver shortage, driver turnover, trucking industry

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