Truck drivers are the focus of the Georgia Study Committee

A Georgia legislative committee has been tasked with coming up with ideas to solve the problem of the state’s insufficient supply of truck drivers.

The Senate Study Commission on Truck Driver Shortages was created by a Georgia Senate resolution approved earlier this year. The five-member group of hand-picked Senate lawmakers recently held its first study committee meeting.

Sen. Jason Anavitart, R-Dallas, is the committee’s chairman. He said the first meeting was an opportunity for committee members to define the scope of their investigations and lay the foundation for future deliberations.

The meeting covered a range of topics related to truck driving, including workforce development, training programs, industry regulations and retention strategies.

“Throughout this committee process, we have a unique opportunity to collaborate with thriving Georgia companies that possess invaluable industry-wide insights into the challenges faced by the motor carrier industry,” Anavitart said in a press release.

According to Senate Resolution 155, the American Trucking Associations estimate that over the next decade, the trucking industry will need to hire approximately 1.2 million drivers to not only replace retiring drivers but also increase driver numbers to promote industry growth.

The committee was assembled to consider how this issue would impact the economy as a whole, as well as the entire supply chain. Additionally, the group is charged with addressing what is described as an “educational opportunity gap” in training prospective truck drivers.


The Independent Owner-Operator Drivers Association asserts that although many state trucking associations tell their legislators there is a shortage of truck drivers with commercial driver’s licenses, that is not accurate.

“The common thread in all of these efforts to create new engines is the incentives provided by taxpayers,” said Todd Spencer, president of OOIDA. “We need to develop standards to measure performance – and that means safe drivers who stay in business. If standards are not met, money must be paid back.”

There are multiple issues that need to be addressed

During the meeting, the committee heard from trucking operations who say there are multiple factors that make truck driving less attractive.

Examples include electronic recording devices, the arduous process of becoming a professional driver, truck parking, and difficulty obtaining insurance.

Georgia is one of four states with a direct action law, John King, Georgia’s fire and insurance commissioner, told the committee. He said that this law, which allows the plaintiff to take direct action against the responsible insurance company, should be repealed.

“Georgia does not allow any insurance company to be named as a defendant in any business other than trucking,” King testified. “Only the trucking industry is subject to these types of requirements.”

He added that there would be no trucking industry in the state if affordable insurance was not available.

“That’s the point,” he said.

He described the “churn” as part of the problem

Ed Crowell, president of the Georgia Motor Truck Association, told the committee that most driver turnover is not due to drivers leaving the industry.

“Part of our problem is turnover. Most of the turnover happens in the industry,” Crowell said. “Sign-on bonuses, things like that. People are moving from trucking company to trucking company.

He added that road safety is also a factor in keeping drivers in the industry.

“There aren’t a lot of jobs, especially safety-sensitive jobs, where you spend your time with amateurs in your own workspace,” he said. “Think about it. A truck driver is driving down the highway surrounded by people who are not trained to drive.

Anavitart said the committee will hold at least one more meeting before another in November to finalize recommendations that lawmakers will consider during the 2024 regular session. LL

More landline coverage of news from Georgia available.

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