Driver turnover increases in first quarter of 2013

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Driver turnover is pushing the 100 percent ceiling once again, according to the American Trucking Associations, as large truckload fleets in the first quarter of 2013 experienced a driver turnover rate of 97 percent, said ATA in a report this week.

That number was up from a 90 percent turnover rate in the fourth quarter of 2012 for large truckload fleets. ATA classifies fleets with more than $30 million in annual revenue as large.

The fourth quarter turnover rate was down from the third quarter of 2012, which experienced turnover rate of 104 percent. 2012 as a whole saw an average rate of 98 percent.

At small truckload fleets, the turnover rate rose to 82 percent in the first quarter from the fourth quarter’s 76 percent. Turnover at small truckload fleets in the third quarter of 2012 was 94 percent.

“Our date shows that competition for drivers across the industry remains high,” said ATA Chief Economist Bob Costello. “It is our fear that this competition for drivers may be exacerbated by losses in productivity caused by recent regulatory changes such as the new hours-of-service rules.”

At less-than-truckload fleets, turnover rose to 15 percent in the first quarter from 10 percent in the fourth quarter. This is the highest rate for LTL since the fourth quarter of 2005, which, says ATA, is a much less volatile segment.

“If the economy continues to improve as we expect it to,” Costello says, “we’ll see competition for drivers intensify, which will increase not just the turnover rate and exacerbate the driver shortage, but will push costs for fleets higher as well.”