Driver shortage is the top concern for Louisiana and nation’s trucking industry

BATON ROUGE – The Louisiana Motor Transport Association (LMTA) released Monday the Louisiana Top Industry Issues report for 2021 identifying the driver shortage as the state’s top concern.

The shortage continues to strain the state’s and nation’s truckers, as the supply chain has had no relief following the effects of the pandemic and other emergencies through the year. The report, conducted alongside the American Transportation Research Institute (ATRI) 17th annual Top Industry Issues report, identified lawsuit abuse reform and insurance costs and availability as other key concerns specific to Louisiana. 

“I’m not surprised to see driver shortage as the top issue for truckers in Louisiana. We hear concerns from members every day about needing more workers in general and specifically, needing professional truck drivers. Add the pressure from lawsuit abuse and finding affordable insurance, it spells a dismal picture for the industry,” says LMTA’s Executive Director Renee Amar. 

Not only did the issue of the driver shortage top Louisiana’s report for the fifth year in a row, it was also the nation’s leading issue. This year alone, the driver shortage garnered more than four times as many first-place votes as the nation’s second leading issue. Driver retention was also the fifth top issue for the state. So essentially the focus is on drivers, drivers, drivers. 

“I have firsthand experience with the issue of lawsuit abuse and trying to find affordable insurance coverage. We have been in business for decades and the sky-high insurance costs are making it extremely difficult for my small, family-owned business to stay viable. There must be a solution, and something must be done,” Karl Mears, owner of Razorback Rentals and LMTA Board of Director’s President says. 

Also, in the top ten issues were reclassifying and improving CSA (also known as Compliance, Safety, Accountability) these are scores generated by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration. Other highly ranked issues expressed by the industry on the state level included diesel technician shortage, infrastructure, driver compensation, fuel prices and the economy. 

Amar says, “We are grateful that our members took the time to tell us their top issues. Now we must find solutions, especially concerning the driver shortage. We don’t believe that there is a silver bullet for the shortage but there are several different approaches to close the gap. We know that Congress is considering legislation and the LMTA Foundation is actively funding scholarships for a commercial driver’s license training program. We truly need all hands-on deck.” 

The full report of Louisiana Top Industry Issues can be found at LMTA’s website – here.

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