Professional Driver Agency Releases 1st Quarter Driver Data - Equipment and Compensation Issues Top List, COVID-19 Trending Up

July 2020

Brentwood, TN… The Professional Driver Agency (PDA) released data as the result of over 30,000 phone calls with professional drivers during the first quarter of 2020. The data was compiled during PDA’s efforts to help trucking companies curb turnover while providing them accurate and actionable data to help them address driver concerns.

 The data shows that the top two most mentioned items were equipment issues and compensation issues. Nearly 30% of drivers had problems with equipment, while 28% of drivers talked about compensation.

 “Issues with equipment are continuing a trend that we began to see late last year,” said Scott Dismuke, PDA director of operations. “Once we dig into the data, we see that the equipment issues break down into two main problems, issues with the tractor and then the condition of the equipment at the time of assignment.” 

 Dismuke notes that the equipment assignment issues are what should be most concerning to trucking companies.

 “Breakdowns are part of the industry,” said Dismuke.  “You cannot avoid them.  However, the condition of a truck at the time of assignment is something a company can control.  When a company assigns a truck to a driver, they need to remember they are assigning an office and home to that driver. So, the condition of a truck at assignment is one of the most important first impressions they can make on a driver.”

“If a truck is dirty, hasn’t been detailed, hasn’t been properly inspected and immediately has to go into the shop, then a company is already behind the eight ball with a driver,” stated Dismuke.

 While equipment issues were the top issue in quarter one, compensation issues were a very close second.  Data suggests that these two issues could be linked.

 “On compensation, the top issue for driver wasn’t pay rate, it was inconsistent miles,” said Dismuke.  “Historically, we have seen that equipment issues almost always have a cascading effect.  It usually manifests into a home time problem or a compensation problem.  When drivers are stuck in the shop it usually results in either missed/delayed home time or a lack of miles that shows in a future paycheck.”

 As it relates to ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, PDA began collecting data on COVID-19 in March.  Early data suggests that it will be one of the top issues of the 2nd Quarter.  In only a few weeks, COVID-19 related concerns went from a non-data point to almost cracking the top 10 issues in PDA’s quarter one data breakdown.  COVID-19 is already the second biggest concern of drivers in the last four weeks, which includes the first two weeks of April.

 “Drivers are worried about their health and their family,” said Dismuke.  “We’ve talked to drivers who are forgoing home time out of fear of potentially exposing family and neighbors since some drivers have been delivering to COVID-19 hotspots.  Other drivers are turning down loads that go into hotspots out of fear of being exposed.  Second quarter data on COVID-19 is going to be very telling as we can already see it in the first few weeks of data in April.”

 Dismuke notes that communication with drivers during this time is key.

 “I would tell companies that communicating with drivers right now is extremely important,” Dismuke stated.  “Not just about moving freight, but the drivers need to have an outlet to express their fear and anxiety about the COVID-19 pandemic.”

 Here is the issues breakdown of data for the first quarter of 2020.

 Equipment                                          29%

Compensation                                  28%

Operations                                         15%

Home Time                                         9%

Personal Issues                                 8%

Company Issues                                5%

Orientation/Training                       4%

Teaming Problems                          2%

 Based in Brentwood, Tennessee, PDA’s mission is to change the landscape of the transportation industry by offering comprehensive retention programs, rehire programs and actionable driver data that helps trucking companies keep and rehire drivers.