Getting Serious about America’s Driver Shortage
How Navajo Express stays ahead of the curb in wake of an industry driver shortage.
A shortage of drivers in America is upon us. A report from the American Trucking Associations says more than 70 percent of goods consumed in the U.S. are moved by trucks, but the industry needs to hire almost 900,000 more drivers to meet rising demand. So, what exactly is causing this shortage besides enlarged load counts?
Regulations and state laws are constantly being put in place and continue to affect the trucking industry. The most recent and major was the 2017 ELD (electronic logging device) mandate. Veteran drivers are hesitant to comply with the new obligation and for some, it was easier to hang up their hats than to conform.
Life of a Trucker
As the demand for loads increases, so does time away from home for drivers. Drivers are being assigned routes that put them on the roads for extended periods of time. Along with time away from home, pay continues to be a problem. Bob Costello, American Trucking Association’s chief economist, says that the average driver is making less than $50,000 a year.
Average Age of Drivers
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average age of a commercial truck driver in the US is 55 years old. This age group is creeping closer to retirement (or already has) and younger drivers are having a hard time adapting to the strenuous lifestyle of a truck driver.
The good news? There are simple solutions a shipper can take to address the issue of driver shortages.
Knowledgeable and Relatable Recruiting Staff
In order to bring more drivers on, a recruiter can’t just talk through a checklist of benefits. They need to understand the lifestyle and hardships a driver faces on a day-to-day bases. With our enthusiastic recruiting team, Navajo was able to bring in a company high of new drivers in 2017.
If drivers are going to be spending more time on the road, it’s important to provide them with the comforts of home. At Navajo, drivers always come first. Therefore our trucks are equipped with auxiliary power units and Blue Tree Systems to not only give drivers improved relaxation, but an increased ease of communication.
Fair Pay and Benefits
It’s a no brainer, better pay and good benefits are the backbone of retaining quality drivers. As a private fleet, Navajo has the ability to compensate our drivers generously and give them more home time. And with our hardworking team of Driver Leaders, our drivers are given consistent, familiar routes that allow for fewer stops and more miles.
Change in the trucking industry is unavoidable. With consistent and clear communication of the latest rules and regulations, drivers will be fully aware of what they need to comply with. All Navajo Express drivers were introduced to ELDs well before the December 31, 2017 deadline in order to avoid push back or confusion.
Don’t be scared by the shortage of drivers in America. With a dedication to recruiting and having the mindset that drivers come first, shippers can help solve the shortage that the US trucking industry is currently battling against.