Chris Sharkman/Pixabay
Truck 602567 (1)

PDA: Driver concerns haven’t changed

Nov. 4, 2021
Third-quarter data indicate equipment, compensation issues remain top of mind; COVID concerns spike for first time since 2020

PDA says the most mentioned concerns by truck drivers in the third quarter of 2021 again involved equipment and compensation issues, according to their data compiled from thousands of phone calls with professional truckers.

The quarterly survey is part of the agency’s efforts to help trucking companies curb turnover, while providing accurate and actionable data to address their drivers’ concerns.

“For the seventh quarter in a row, equipment and compensation issues continue to be the top driver issue,” said Scott Dismuke, PDA’s director of operations. “Based on our data, many times equipment and compensation issues go hand in hand. As we have consistently seen, drivers experiencing breakdowns and extended time in the shop usually experience compensation issues in the following weeks.” 

Dismuke noted that companies not paying attention to equipment issues may be missing an opportunity to curb turnover.

“Equipment issues lead to driver frustration and often times frustration leads to drivers leaving a carrier,” Dismuke said. “In this current driver market, reducing driver frustration is key and reducing equipment issues can not only lessen driver frustration, but it can also help prevent compensation issues.”

Overall compensation issues did drop slightly in Q3, going from 24% in Q2 to 22% in Q3, PDA said. Miles-related compensation issues dropped to the lowest point of 2021 to 40% in Q3, down 6% from a yearly high Q2. Dismuke noted that in a strong freight market and a very competitive driver market, drivers struggling with miles continue to be a high turnover risk.

“Drivers are being contacted by recruiters from other companies every day,” Dismuke stated. “If drivers are struggling with miles in a strong freight market, those drivers are a high risk for turnover. If drivers are not making the pay promised, they have multiple options to go elsewhere.” 

Operations issues were the third top issue for the sixth straight quarter, remaining steady at 13%, equal to where it was in Q2. Driver feedback about operations continues to center on driver manager communication issues, which rose 2% from 45% in Q2 to 47% in Q3.

Dismuke notes that communication issues continue to spike in 2021 and will continue to be a key to retaining drivers in this market.

“Communication issues are up 17% since Q4 of 2020.” Dismuke said. “Slow or no response from a driver manager accounted for over half of the communication issues in Q3 and nearly 20% of communication issues were with night/weekend dispatch. Proactive communication and keeping drivers in the loop not only reduces communication issues, it also makes the driver feel respected and relieves driver frustration.”

Finally, for the first time since Q4 of 2020, COVID-19 issues spiked. Personal issues was the fourth top issue in Q3 at 10%. Nearly 40% of drivers mentioning personal issues noted concern surrounding COVID-19.

Of those drivers expressing concerns about COVID-19, 52% are concerned about their family, while 38% of drivers were concerned about personal risk. Dismuke noted the rise in COVID-19 Delta variant cases in Q3 accounted for the spike.

“PDA believes that the increase in COVID-19 cases related to the Delta variant, media coverage and the discussion of vaccine mandates are all key reasons in the rise of COVID-related concerns in Q3,” he said.  “We are already seeing COVID numbers going down in many parts of the country, however the discussions surrounding vaccine mandates could more than likely have an effect on COVID-19 related concerns going into Q4.”

To see PDA’s full Q3 data download, click here.

About the Author

BT staff