America: Where Are All the Truck Drivers?
Trucking companies know this problem too well as the “Driver Shortage” has continued to make its way into one of the top issues for trucking companies in 2020. For those of us whom may be new to the truck world trucks at least at this point, don’t move without a trained profession behind the wheel. As the years have gone by fewer and fewer upcoming drivers are entering into the industry that America’s foundation depends on. A world without the constant transportation of goods is a world that is no longer moving. Although, I do believe that the best advocates for new drivers in the industry are the ones that have experienced it first hand over the course of their lifetime. This upcoming wave may be struggling to get up and running, but is far from making a comeback. Today, we hope to hone in on the issues that have led to a driver shortage as well as additional tips to combat what the industry is facing.
Commercial Drivers can obtain a class A license at the age of 21 years old. A tough part to this age could be that younger adults are enrolling into college at a much higher rate or have already determined a career path. In addition to this the life style behind the wheel of commercial tractor is not always “9 to 5.” It can be long hours and days to even weeks away from family or spouses. This in combination with a high rate of experienced drivers retiring from the industry makes for a diminishing pool of drivers to select from when bringing on a new hire.
Another area the driver shortage has faced is compensation. Of course with any industry compensation may be different upon experience, skill, and location. The industry for quite a while had an average income of $40,000 and thus deterred a lot of new drivers from sticking with it to see the income gain or start in the industry all together. A constant rise of cost of living and ever higher expenses create a necessary search for other avenues in order to make ends meet for the beginning years.
Although with problems come solutions. These solutions may not be the end all answers to solving the problems of the driver shortage, but maybe it is a start. The media and truck papers have directed much talk on an increase of income for drivers. According to the Indeed, a popular career searching website, “The national average for salary of being a truck driver in 2020 was $68,432.” Hopefully with the increase in income and with the stability of the market to returning 2021 we can begin to see an upward trend of drivers.
Another solution that has been thoroughly discussed is the driver age for a commercial license being brought down from 21 years old to 18 years of age. Now with the assistance of the newer technology in in tractors such as lane assist, adaptive cruise control, auto braking, and cameras the gap between experiences behind the wheel may be getting smaller. Relying on the technology is not enough to be safe on the road, but hopefully if drivers do enter the industry at a younger age they will be more likely to follow it through in order to get the hours, income, and desired routes that they want when they come to the age of 21. Also this would help with insurance companies that require a certain amount of years of experience even if the driver meets the age requirements.
All in all the industry is aware of the issue at hand with the Driver Shortage. Hopefully with the combined efforts in the industry from insurance companies, drivers, government, Truck Associations and more we can see a growth with new drivers like there has not been before. Please feel free to reach out to RJS Insurance Services, Inc. if you would like to learn how our clients are finding reliable drivers for their business.