Driver turnover hits three-year high

It became a little harder for large truck fleets to keep drivers behind the wheel during the second quarter of 2011.

The turnover rate for over-the-road truck drivers rose to 79% in the second quarter, according to American Trucking Associations’ latest Trucking Activity Report, marking the third quarter in a row of increased churn in the driver market.

The turnover rate for drivers at large truckload fleets rose four basis points from the first quarter’s rate of 75%, pushing the rate to its highest point since the second quarter of 2008.

“Even though the increase was small, we still believe the market for quality drivers is getting extremely tight and fleets are aggressively recruiting to fill their openings,” ATA Chief Economist Bob Costello said. “The slowdown of the economic recovery has affected the turnover rate, but if the economy continues to improve we’ll see further tightening in the driver market and a renewed risk of a severe driver shortage.”

Turnover at small truckload companies and less-than-truckload fleets actually fell in the quarter, dropping to 47% from 50% for small TL firms and to 6% from 8% for LTLs.

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