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PDA: Equipment, compensation remain causes for concern

Jan. 25, 2021
Q4 2020 data indicate tractor, trailer issues contributed to driver turnover, highlighting importance of fleet maintenance

The Professional Driver Agency (PDA) says equipment and compensation issues again were the most mentioned concerns during the fourth quarter of 2020.

Data was compiled from more than 38,000 phone calls with professional truck drivers.

PDA gathers data as part of its efforts to help trucking companies curb turnover, while providing accurate and actionable insight to address their drivers’ concerns.

As in the third quarter (Q3) of 2020, the two most mentioned concerns were equipment and compensation issues. Equipment issues rose 5% from 31% in Q3 to 36% in Q4, while compensation issues dropped 4% from 28% in Q3 to 24% in Q4. 

“Equipment and compensation issues have been the top two issues for drivers for all four quarters of 2020,” said Scott Dismuke, PDA’s director of operations. “Equipment issues, especially repeat issues, cause frustration and usually compensation issues. We’ve seen in 2020 that equipment issues, both for tractors and trailers, are causing drivers to leave, so the condition and maintenance of equipment is important to driver retention.” 

Dismuke notes that while driver concerns about miles were steady, there was a drop in driver concerns regarding pay rate in Q4 after pay rate concerns jumped 11% in Q3. 

“Drivers’ concerns about pay rates dropped 5% to 25% after rising 11% in Q3. We believe this data supports the pay rate increases that many companies began offering in Q4.”

For the first time since Q2, COVID-19 concerns began to surface again with drivers.

“With COVID-19 cases on the rise across the country in Q4, drivers’ concerns about COVID-19 began to rise as well,” Dismuke said. “With Thanksgiving and Christmas, a rise in personal health and family health concerns were not surprising with many drivers getting extended home time during the two holidays.”

Operations issues were the third top issue in Q4, falling from 15% in Q3 to 12% in Q4. Driver feedback about operations centered around issues with planners and communication issues with their driver managers. Dismuke noted that issues with planners jumped 8% from Q3 to Q4. 

“A driver who has friction with one planner/dispatcher might get along great with a different one,” Dismuke said. “When it comes to operations issues, it’s really all about people. Drivers don’t always leave companies, they leave people. Driver appreciation efforts need to go beyond the usual Driver Appreciation Week and Driver of the Month activities. It needs to be part of the culture of a company.” 

To see PDA’s full Q4 Data Download, click here.

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BT staff