How will President Biden’s proposed vaccine mandate impact the current truck driver shortage?
Well, it definitely won’t give trucking’s employment numbers a positive shot in the arm. (Go ahead. Roll your eyes at our shameless pun. We’ll wait.)
While trucking companies that employ 100 or more people constitute a small portion of our country’s trucking fleets (just 1.3% per FMCSA and FreightWaves Passport Research data), they account for approximately half of the all the trucks on the road. As a result, these companies could find themselves under even more pressure to fill these seats if drivers decide they’d rather quit, change employers, or leave the profession altogether rather than get the vaccine.
Can’t those carriers rely on the alternative testing requirement instead?
They can. However, even that will have an impact, because drivers will need to take these tests on company time, and that will definitely diminish their available hours.
Either way, your company could find it even more difficult to find available transportation capacity at these bigger carriers.
When will this mandate become a reality?
These changes shouldn’t happen immediately, if they take place at all. According to the spokesperson for the American Trucking Associations, “The [Department of Labor’s] Occupational Safety and Health Administration will need some time to develop its emergency rule for businesses with over 100 employees. It is also worth noting that OSHA emergency rules do not have a great track record when courts review them.”
However, if the mandate is implemented, then impacted carriers will need to have rapid and effective adoption campaigns. “Smart companies are already drawing up plans for these in case the trucking industry’s efforts to limit the mandate are unsuccessful” said AFS President of Transportation Management, Andy Dyer.