- Job Security.
- Truck Driver Salary.
- Risk of Driving Trucks.
- Work culture in trucking
- Life expectancy of a truck driver.
- Equipment, weather conditions, roads, etc.
- Trucker hometime.
You can see the increased demand for truck drivers in all job portals, on trailer doors, in trucking magazines, and in truck driver jobs fairs.
In North America, 70 percent of freight is transported by trucks, to maintain this flow, and according to the U.S. Trucking Association survey, 30% more truck drivers are needed.
According to the Canadian Trucking Alliance study, by 2024, 48,000 drivers are needed to face a truck driver shortage in Canada. (Source: CBC).
According to the Bureau of Labour Statics, the average age of truck driver in the US is 55 years. So for the next 15 years, about 70% of drivers will retire and drivers’ demand will go up very fast.
But still, it seems that the truck driver shortage is not real. This is a myth created by trucking companies. Let’s see how the truck driver shortage in the eyes of a driver is not real.
Is the truck driver shortage is a myth?
Yes, it is, trucking companies are doing nothing for said reasons, which proves that it is a myth. Let us take a closure look at the truck driver shortage reasons.
Coffee makers, burger flipper, bank operators have more secure jobs than a truck driver.
The job of a truck driver is dependent on the company’s contract, notwithstanding, the risk of staying on the road, facing each season directly, on the pain of staying away from home.
If my company has a work contract, then I have bread and butter, otherwise, I will have to knock on the next door.
But I need a stable and lifelong job, not the next door every day.
Truck Driver Salary
The second reason for the lack of a truck driver is wages. Veteran truckers say that truck driver’s pay is decreasing day by day.
The shocking fact is truck driver’s pay has dropped by 3 times in the last three decades.
Nowadays, Truck driver’s pay is being divided into impossible targets, safe driving bonus, loaded and empty miles, Google Map vs. actual miles, border time, layover time, waiting, etc..
The actual pay to take home, with more divisions, is further reduced.
Companies are playing all these gimmicks to save on a truck driver’s salary, looks like not actually facing truck driver shortage.
Risk of Driving Trucks
Trucking is a risky job, running a 70-mile/hr speed, driving a large truck on the road for the whole day, week, month, for years is a big risk.
In addition to the risk of driving, load responsibilities, being adaptive to non-professional drivers mistakes, weather conditions, road conditions are also hazardous.
Risks like brake failure, machinery failure, can put the life of a truck driver in jeopardy.
Longhaul truck driving can lead to health problems such as diabetes, stress, fatigue, back pain, depression, and sleep apnea, etc..
Trucking companies are not doing anything to deal with, seems that truck driver shortage is a myth.
Work culture in trucking.
Longhaul trucker William said, “Free healthy meals, motels, free coffee, snacks, gymnasiums, uniforms, driver lounges, etc. were for drivers, have disappeared one by one”.
Respect for a truck driver is decreasing day by day. Many companies say that we do not have facilities for drivers.
Long wait on loading/unloading docks is also a big reason for truck driver shortage. If you are late due to traffic or other reasons, wait for the dock, if you arrived before the appointment, wait for the appointment time, if you are on time, you still wait, because, It’s our lunchtime, the shift is over, and so on…
Companies keep on screaming truck driver shortage instead of fixing these things.
Life expectancy of a truck driver
According to the CDC (Center for Disease and Prevention), the average life expectancy of a truck driver is 61 years, which is very less compared to the national average.
Who wants to leave this beautiful world early, I think, no one.
Truck driving is a sedentary job. The truck driver has to drive 11 hours. This is not an 8-hour job with 3 brakes.
By sitting longer, holding the washroom, eating irregular, causes many diseases, which are quick for the human being to age.
So a truck driver needs a good healthy environment.
Weather conditions, delivery/pickup locations, etc.
Weather is an unavoidable element in truck driver shortage.
Still, trucking companies can fix it by scheduling more work in good weather.
Veteran truckers do not work in winter and new ones do not dare to. Who wants to take a big rig on the road in a whiteout?
One of my trucker friends said that going to the washroom, wearing clothes at night in -30 is equivalent to passing the scale with Major Defect. I thought he was joking, but it’s a reality.
Tight loading unloading locations also an issue for rookie drivers. Some roads, low bridges, not made for 53 feet. The truck driver has to go there too. Shippers/receivers on such locations often say, “Oh you know, people come here with 53 feet and bunks”.
How often does the truck driver come home?
Hometime in most trucking companies is weekly. It depends on the driver also, but most drivers like to come home every day.
In addition, long work hours, bad equipment, laws, dispatch delays, are playing an important role in truck driver shortage.
If trucking companies are really struggling with the truck driver shortage, then they need to improve driver life, not just for profit.
Trucking companies are investing more in Driverless trucking
Role of technology has been increased significantly with the passage of time. There are hundreds of new equipment installed in modern trucks to assist truck drivers and truck owners. But despite a lot of efforts, automatic or driver-less trucking is not yet possible.
“Driving on icy and zig-zag roads is not possible for the machines till date. Even humans, after hard training, are not 100% perfect. Then how sensors and processors can manage it. You have to make real-time decisions in the fraction of milliseconds to keep everything secure, which is not yet possible for machines”, said Mark, who is in this profession for the last 14 years.