A confluence of factors is exacerbating the current truck driver shortage causing major headaches for trucking companies and businesses across America. The situation is so concerning, industry experts are grappling to find solutions to this increasingly complicated matter. The reality is this problem has been rearing its head over the last decade and issues with the trucking system were further highlighted by interruptions due to the pandemic.
However, long-term solutions need to factor in how the industry has been bleeding jobs for years and fewer people see it as a viable career given the expenses and demands. With all the concerns facing drivers, truck insurance is one service that has cost-effective options to meet the changing landscape.
Why Is There a Shortage of Truck Drivers Right Now?
The simple answer to the truck driver shortage is there are not enough people to meet the need for drivers caused by an ever-growing consumer market. There was a definite surge in demand as people used their stimulus payments to purchase an enormous amount of goods that ramped up delivery requirements.
However, the ease of online shopping done with a few clicks has skyrocketed the need for fast and efficient movement of goods. Market growth has outpaced manpower, and many companies lack the infrastructure to match current needs.
Demands of the Lifestyle
Truck driving has always been a demanding career. With consumer demands rising and fewer truckers, the pressures on current drivers are growing. For OTR haulers, this means more time on the road and less time with families. This situation is causing experienced drivers to seek out jobs with local and regional trucking companies, which may not pay as much but offer a less stressful way of life.
Additionally, with the pandemic complicating financial issues for businesses, drivers are waiting on payouts for their services for longer than usual. This makes it difficult to budget for both fixed and variable expenses.
Costs To Operate
Fuel costs are a considerable issue for independent drivers and trucking companies. Truckers are limited on the amount of time they can drive while needing to increase their wages to meet rising fuel prices. Trucking companies need to make decisions on how many drivers to hire and how much they can afford to pay in wages as costs increase.
Regulatory controls are also making it tougher for drivers who need to factor in these increasing fees. Affordable truck insurance helps to alleviate the pressure by providing reasonable rates on all types of coverage necessary for trucking safety and compliance.
Concerns Over Technology
Autonomous semi-trucks are another matter complicating the futures of truck drivers. Many businesses are on the precipice of joining the move to autonomous freight hauling. The need to improve logistics and reduce expenditures is prompting the revolution, and truckers are left wondering how they will fit into this new vision for the industry.
Losses of Independent Operators
It is getting harder for owner-operators to stay afloat. The rise in operating costs alone is pricing people out of the industry. Truckers report feeling dissatisfied because they are underappreciated for the jobs they do, and they experience consistently tough working conditions.
For truckers working for companies, there is the possibility of negotiating positive changes. Independent truckers solely bear the brunt of increasing personal, economic, and regulatory demands with little room to affect different outcomes.
What Are the Solutions?
The current problems in trucking are multi-faceted and require ongoing assessment as the industry undergoes sweeping changes. Still, some essential upgrades can be made in the near term to improve the working environment for drivers and ease the concerns of businesses.
Consider Current Demographics
Age and gender are two areas trucking companies need to assess going forward. The trucking workforce is currently comprised of mostly male employees over the age of 45. Many of these drivers will leave the workforce due to retirement in the coming years. Women are a growing percentage of the workforce, so the industry must adapt itself to accommodate this large portion of available employees. Also, providing opportunities for minorities is essential toward moving the hiring process forward.
Additionally, federal regulation requires that drivers must be 21 years old to acquire a commercial license. This gap needs to be addressed, so young people don’t move on to other careers before considering becoming truck drivers.
Improve Driver Pay
While it’s true that not all trucking problems are solved by wage increases, pay must keep pace with the cost of living to maintain current drivers and attract new ones. Many companies are looking into boosting benefit packages and including tuition reimbursement.
Decrease Road Time
Time at home goes a long way toward increasing driver satisfaction and decreasing stress burnout. Lifestyle is an abiding concern for truckers. As market demand grows, protecting drivers by implementing reasonable driving schedules is imperative to stabilize the workforce.
Make Infrastructure Changes
Infrastructure is a critical solution to trucking industry woes. One key idea is to add more distribution centers to reduce the length of hauls. By incorporating a robust spoke system, drivers can deliver cargo faster to regional centers where other drivers move the goods to local warehouses.
Work With Autonomous Trucking
Tech-savvy people will play an important part in the trucking world going forward. Autonomous trucks will offer relief for rising market pressures, and individuals who can work with advanced technology will play key roles as this industry transformation develops.
The trucking industry will navigate necessary moves by being proactive in meeting trucker needs and planning ahead. All aspects of the economy are undergoing significant changes, and the trucking industry will continue to adapt to meet these shifts.
About Western Truck Insurance Services
Western Truck Insurance Services is a commercial truck insurance agency with roots dating back to 1954. We have evolved into a highly respected, professionally managed, truck and transportation insurance brokerage. The hallmark of our organization is our desire to provide unparalleled service. We go way beyond what you expect to receive from an insurance brokerage. Equipped with state of the art automation, Western Truck Insurance can provide you with lightning fast truck insurance quotes, customer service, Insurance certificates, and coverage changes. Contact us today at (800) 937-8785 to learn more!