Did you know that there is a shortage of truck drivers in America? This is not a new issue, as this has been a significant concern for the past decade. Since a large percent of U.S freight is transported by trucks on highways, drivers have been in high demand year-in and year-out. According to Trucker Path Inc., 80% of all U.S cargo is transported by trucks. For this reason, we have seen a considerable spike in driver wages in recent years. The question becomes, why is the trucking industry struggling to find drivers?
The Appeal Of The Job
There are several perks to becoming a truck driver. This includes getting to experience new places on a regular basis, job security, as well as great pay. If you choose to go down this career path, you will, however, probably need to make some considerable lifestyle changes. It is important to realize that as a truck driver, there may be times where you are away from home for weeks at a time. This is often the case when you first enter the industry. For many, this will take some getting used to.
Another major consideration about pursuing a career in trucking is your health and hygiene. When you are out on the road, you do not have the luxury of your own personal at your disposal. There will be instances where you will need to shower at rest areas. When it comes to dietary habits and nutrients, you need be careful if you do not want to develop major health problems. Since you need to sit for extended periods, fast foods and other unhealthy snacks can have a detrimental effect on your body if they are consumed regularly. In addition to the added weight gain, you could be setting yourself up for high blood pressure and diabetes. Lastly, sleep deprivation is a real concern for truck drivers. Since truck drivers are often under tight deadlines, sometimes they feel compelled to skip out on sleep. By doing so, it will take its toll on your mind and body. Not only this has an adverse effect your overall well-being, but it can also put you in harm’s way when you are behind the wheel of a truck. Your decision making will be impaired, which will make you more prone to getting into accidents.
Truck Driver Demographics
The trucking industry is primarily comprised of male workers who are at least 45 years old. The Bureau of Labor Statistics concluded that average age for a for U.S commercial truck driver is 55 years old. The gender and age demographics of the trucking industry could deter individuals who may want to pursue a career in trucking. The question becomes, what is going to happen when current workforce retires? How will the trucking industry attract younger generations?
When it comes to gender, men dominate the trucking industry. Women comprise to only approximately 6 percent of the U.S driver population. The false belief that truck driving is just for men is preventing many women from getting behind the wheel. In order to break this stereotype, fleets need to encourage women to become drivers and make them feel welcome.
How is the trucking industry going to attract more driver in the upcoming years? The following are potential solutions to this ongoing concern.
Increase Driver Pay
An economics professor could teach a class about the market reaction and supply and demand by pointing to truck driver wages. Since there has been a shortage of drivers in the industry, wages have increased as a result. If feasible, raising driver pay is probably the best way to attract more people into the industry.
Make The Driver Age 18 Years Old
As it stands, the minimum age for a commercial driver is 21 years old. The problem with this is that it eliminates many competent individuals who have not reached the age requirement. If the age were set at 18 instead, there would be more drivers who are eager to break into the industry.
Decrease Driving Time
The thought of spending several days on the road does not appeal to many people. That being the case, it may be in the best interest of fleets to keep drivers as local as possible. Not only is this a great way for carriers to attract potential drivers, but it will help with retaining drivers as well.
Truck drivers have a very important role in this country. The driver shortage in the U.S is an ongoing problem, and the trucking industry is going to need to make some adjustments to address this issue.
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