Trucking Groups Working to Attract More Drivers

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There are a lot of positives for commercial trucks on the horizon. One shining example is the likelihood of electric big rigs, which should save independent truckers a ton of money. However, not all is well in the world of trucking. There’s one major issue impacting the industry: a driver shortage.
According to the Washington Examiner, the industry is facing a retiring workforce and struggling to attract new truck drivers. This has been a continuous issue over the past few years. Here’s what you need to know about America’s truck driver shortage.
Truck driving on a road wet from rain
Trucking groups are seeing driver shortages.

How bad is the truck driver shortage?

Washington Examiner reported that in 2019, over 60,000 truck driver positions went unfilled. This shortage is only expected to grow in upcoming years.
The average age of the current truck driver is 46 years old. This indicates that most truck drivers are near the end of their careers and looking to retire. If this trend continues, consumers may start to see higher shipping and delivery fees.
One of the main hurdles to recruiting new drivers is an age restriction on interstate commerce. Drivers younger than 21 are prohibited from completing deliveries between states.
Matt Hart, president of the Illinois Trucking Association, said that “Once you are 18 years old, you can drive a semi from Rockford to Cairo.” However, you can’t drive across a state line.

How will the DRIVE-Safe Act help?

The federal infrastructure bill that was recently passed by the U.S. Senate includes the DRIVE-Safe Act. This would open a pathway for young drivers to quality for interstate commerce. A driver will be able to apply for interstate eligibility after completing 240 hours of driving time with an experienced truck driver and at least 400 hours of on-duty time.
However, the infrastructure bill has been heavily debated and altered since its conception months ago. The Senate approved the $1 trillion bill after painstaking negotiations between the parties, according to the New York Times.
The plan will face another rocky path as it seeks approval in the House, so the trucking industry will have to hold out a while longer to get help.

What are trucking groups doing to address driver shortages?

Meanwhile, trucking groups aren’t standing by while waiting for the bill to be passed. Many truck companies are raising pay rates, according to Redwood Logistics. Companies are working to attract women, minorities, and other groups that are underrepresented in the industry.
They’re also aiming to make the job less demanding. Changes are being made in logistics planning that allows drivers to spend more time at home.
A new LTL hub & spoke system makes it easier for truckers to hand off cargo so they don’t have to be as far away from their families. Another potential solution to attract younger drivers is to invest in autonomous vehicles for trucking.
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