The American Transportation Research Institute (ATRI) released its Top Industry Issues Report in October of 2018. The top issue, ranked as most important by over 400 respondents, was none other than driver shortage. There’s no surprise there. If you run a trucking company, you don’t need a survey to tell you that it’s difficult to find good drivers right now - you feel that pain every day.
Calling it the driver problem versus a driver shortage sounds like splitting hairs, but it’s actually an important distinction. If there were a driver shortage, it would largely be out of your control; that’s a national economic circumstance. A driver problem, on the other hand, can be solved by changing your tactics to put supply and demand back in your favor. The 2018 ATRI Issues Report offers some strategies to hiring more quality drivers. Let’s cover those strategies here and discuss what you can do today to hire more quality drivers.
“Advocate for congress and federal agencies to develop an apprenticeship program to attract, train and retain safe 18 - 20 - year - old interstate drivers to the industry”
One of your biggest hurdles to hiring the right driver is that the majority of Over-The-Road drivers are 55 years or older. That’s why ATRI suggests you advocate to congress to develop programs to bring the young generations into the trucking industry. While advocacy is great, we also like direct action. If you do too, then we have some good news for you: we’ve already created programs to turn new drivers into safe, professional drivers. We recommend you check out our CDL Finishing School and our LLLC Instructor and Driver Certifications. They’ll help you sleep at night knowing your new-hires have a consistent plan in place to be safely groomed into a true professional.
“Work with the U.S. Department of Transportation and the Department of Labor to harmonize regulations with the White House efforts to expand apprenticeships and other workforce development initiatives in the trucking industry.”
According to the report, trucking is projected to experience massive job growth between 2016 and 2026. That means the industry must focus on recruiting a steady stream of new drivers to not only replace retiring drivers, but to fulfill increased demand. No doubt the industry needs action from federal agencies, but again, it’s essential to take matters into your own hands. If you don’t already, we recommend you try out driver recruiting software today. It will help you hire more drivers in less time while everyone else is waiting for the driver problem to be solved for them.
“Collect and analyze safety performance data on 18-20-year-olds who operate commercial vehicles intrastate.”
Perhaps the most perplexing law in the trucking industry is the one that prohibits drivers under 21 from driving across state borders. That means a driver in Cincinnati, OH can drive to Cleveland, a 4 hour drive, but cannot take 10 minutes to cross the bridge into Kentucky. The ATRI report suggests collecting safety performance data on your drivers between the ages of 18 and 20 to “better inform the discussion of lowering the age for an interstate CDL.” And while you’re at it, check out what OTA Team 88 is doing to make it easier to hire new drivers.
The driver problem is negatively affecting the industry today, and it’s only going to get worse. Read this year’s ATRI Top Industry Issues Report, advocate alongside federal agencies, and figure out what part you can play in preventing a true driver shortage in the coming years. It’s just as important, however, that you help yourself. You can take action today by exploring services that will improve your success in driver training, recruiting, and compliance. There’s no time like the present when it comes to solving the driver problem.
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