The past decade saw a decline in the number of new truck drivers in the industry. This shortage affects the entire economy, mainly because almost 70% of all freight happens on U.S. highways. The main problem is that the truck driver shortage directly affects their pay, impacting supplier costs, consumer pricing, shipping delays, and even shortages at stores. Although the situation is serious, it is not all that grim. Today we want to talk about the leading causes of this problem and shed some light on the most efficient solutions that will reshape the trucking industry!
The aging demographics
The number one reason for the truck driver shortage is the aging demographic. The majority of truckers are males above 45 years of age. Since the development of the I.T. sector and other technologies that seem to offer a more promising career, attracting younger people to the trucking industry is challenging.
However, precisely this situation hides a fantastic opportunity! Because of the shortage, it is much easier to find a job as a truck driver. The companies need to rebrand their image with a single thought in mind – bringing the trucking industry closer to younger people. They need to understand what to expect when starting a trucking career.
One of the crucial factors here is the driver’s minimum age limit. Currently, it is 21. Changing it to 18 years would open a whole new world to the trucking industry and fill empty positions.
Where to find a new workforce?
Finding new truckers is the most critical task of any trucking company. However, we have already mentioned that young males in the U.S. mostly search for a different type of career. There is a need to look for truck drivers elsewhere. We did a little research and spoke with a couple of companies that work with the drivers daily. Verifiedmovers.com communicates with many moving companies, and they have witnessed an increase in female drivers as a potential solution. Furthermore, minorities and veterans are two other possible groups for finding new drivers. Both demographics are struggling with finding employment, and this should be an excellent opportunity to remedy the situation!
Truck driver lifestyle is not easy
Another vital factor that causes the current shortage of truck drivers is the expected lifestyle. Everyone sees truck drivers as people who spend their entire lives behind the wheel, driving 24/7. There is no personal life or family included, and you have to spend all of your days on the road.
To some extent, that is correct. However, the game is rapidly changing, and today, the trucking industry looks different. The growing role of technology is one of the most important trends in the trucking industry for 2022.
Technologies like autonomous trucking, the Spoke System, LTL hub, and increased distribution centers rapidly reduce the number of hours truckers spend on the road. Fleet management software allows for precise calculations of trucking routes, and there are no more reasons to spend endless hours driving all day long.
Is being a truck driver a high-risk job?
Another reason we see a decline of the new drivers in the trucking industry is the risk the drivers take. First, driving a truck is more complicated than driving a car. A larger vehicle requires better reflexes and coordination. Second, spending more time on the road increases the chances of an accident. Transporting dangerous chemicals or delivering to unsafe areas also causes people to push away from the trucking career. There were also discussions about truck drivers being attacked on the rest stops or during protests.
While all of these things happen occasionally, things seem grimmer than they really are. We need to break a lot of myths and misconceptions about the trucking career. There will be challenges in the trucking industry in 2022, but things look a lot better.
How are these difficulties handled today?
Many companies now offer training periods for drivers to feel more comfortable behind the wheels. Getting to know the truck before you drive it is an essential part of the process. Drivers are not sent alone on routes without first learning how to handle driving a truck. As a result, this also reduces the number of driving accidents.
When it comes to transporting dangerous materials, today’s technology makes this job completely safe. Safety containers and safety equipment are necessary for every trucking company. Professionals do the loading and unloading process, so there is no reason to be worried.
It is also crucial to address the talk about truck drivers being attacked on the roads. Such incidents did occur, but many companies send trucks in fleets today. Very rarely does a driver need to travel alone. Even when that happens, there are already predetermined stops where the driver will be safe from any harm.
The entire process is developed, and trucking companies do everything to protect their drivers.
The key takeaways for the truck driver shortage
As have we already seen, the main reasons that are causing the shortage of truck drivers are:
the aging demographics;
higher minimum age for drivers;
All of these seem like valid reasons to look for a different job. However, we have already demonstrated that the trucking industry has changed today. Things look a lot better than they seem:
the problem with the aging demographics opens new doors to finding a qualified workforce. Now is the time to hire female drivers, minorities, and veterans;
once the new workforce is on the roads, there will be more work and an opportunity for a salary increase;
lowering the minimum age for drivers to 18 years is a good solution;
the advancement of technology has made driving a lot easier and safer and reduced the number of hours spent on the roads.
The truck driver shortage is real, and it is happening now. However, there are many ways to fight it successfully! It is essential to stay positive and use the opportunities arising from this challenging situation. As the saying goes – when one door closes, another opens!
Author bio: Lesley Eldridge is an expert in the economy with over 15 years of experience. As a professional blogger, he brings complex topics closer to his readers. His niche is mainly related to various business industries and how the current economy affects them.