Solving the problem
This is not an easy task, but it’s one problem many professionals in the industry have been trying to solve.
So, what’s actually being done?
Honestly, at times, it feels like nothing. But that’s not entirely true.
We addressed some major reasons for the driver shortage in one of our very first blogs, so let’s try to figure out how we, as an industry, can come together to combat these ongoing challenges.
Can we change the lifestyle?
One of the biggest reasons for the driver shortage is that the lifestyle is less than ideal. Some of it, however, just is what it is. We can’t change the fact that the job entails sitting behind a steering wheel all day. We can, however, address some of the other concerns along the way by asking some of these questions:
- What if companies encouraged physical activity through paid gym memberships?
- Or instead of gym memberships, just provided them with some basic workout equipment that doesn’t take up much space in the truck?
- What if companies provided healthy food options for truck drivers to grab on their way out?
- Is it possible for shippers/receivers to have space for drivers to walk safely? Or maybe have healthy snack options available?
- Would better routing that includes rest areas, gyms, and healthy restaurants nearby benefit the drivers but not cost extra money associated with more miles?
- Do companies have healthcare access on site or nearby with hours conducive to truck drivers?
- Can we route drivers home more frequently and still get the same (or better) results?
None of those questions present easy answers, but they are important solutions in trying to reduce some of the concern for the lifestyle of a truck driver.
What can we do about the regulations?
Unfortunately, they aren’t going away no matter how much the industry wishes it would. However, we could pay drivers differently to off-set what the regulations are taking away from their pockets.
Instead of just paying per mile, carriers could:
- Pay their drivers an hourly rate when at the dock getting loaded/unloaded.
- Pay drivers for resets on the road or nights spent in the truck.
- Give the drivers a per diem for food.
There are many options out there, it’s deciding which ones work best for each company’s structure.
How do we get more bodies?
The biggest problem of them all- having the bodies to do the work. Many organizations, industry professionals and schools are coming together to reach more people. All trades are feeling some version of a shortage because of the push for higher education over the years. The stereotype that you “have to go to college to make a real living” was sold for years, decades even. Together we are trying to break that theory to get more people to realize they can early a very good living as a truck driver without waiting for a degree.
Along with that comes setting up training programs once we do reach those people. While driving a truck seems like a simple concept, it can be scary for someone who hasn’t done it. Incorporating better training programs will give people time to get comfortable and learn some of the nuances that comes with driving a truck.
Are any of these solutions doing any good in the short-term? Maybe. Maybe not. There are many people working together to come up with new strategies every day. The companies putting for any type of effort are seeing results through hiring and lower turnover rates.