Driver issuesFreightWaves LIVE: Events PodcastFreightWaves TVNewsTrucking

EFS chat recap: Despite pay increases, fleets still scrambling for drivers

CDL schools report 30% drop in student drivers because of COVID-19 pandemic

FIRESIDE CHAT TOPIC: Recruiting and filling seats in 2021 

DETAILS: Rob Hatchett, president of SeatMyTrucks, discusses some of the reasons why fleets are struggling to find truck drivers because of the COVID-19 pandemic, with Marilyn Surber of Tenstreet.

SPEAKER: Marilyn Surber is a transportation adviser for Tenstreet, a leading software-as-a-service company based in Tulsa, Oklahoma.

BIO: Surber has served as a transportation adviser for Tenstreet, which uses automation to help fleets recruit and onboard qualified drivers, for over two years. She previously worked as the employee services manager for Melton Truck Lines/Conexus, based in Tulsa, Oklahoma, for nearly 11 years.


“At the same time when we’re fully in a recruiting crisis, we have almost more demand and pressure on the supply chain with the way that e-commerce has changed everything in 2020. So we’re a year later and we’re still talking about, ‘Well, where did all these drivers go?’”

“In an average year around 350,000 new drivers enter the market. Overall driver activity is down about 18%, but student activity, and what we see from the Commercial Vehicle Training Association,  the National Association of Publicly Funded Truck Driving Schools and our own data, is that that student activity and new driver activity is actually down around 30%.” 

“Today, driving schools cannot train the same number of drivers that they were able to train pre-COVID. There’s a lot of restrictions, whether those are from their company, or from their state, their locality or just driver safety, we have to still protect new drivers coming into the market. Schools might only be able to train around half of the drivers now than they were able to train before COVID.” 

The FREIGHTWAVES TOP 500 For-Hire Carriers list includes Melton Truck Lines (No. 72).

One Comment

Clarissa Hawes

Clarissa has covered all aspects of the trucking industry for 14 years. She is an award-winning journalist known for her investigative and business reporting. Before joining FreightWaves, she wrote for Land Line Magazine and If you have a news tip or story idea, send her an email to