The trucker shortage has hit the industry hard. While many are non-essential employees who are still on the clock in some states, truckers, the industry that is absolutely essential is under stress. The past few years have not shown to be kind to the industry. With many drivers leaving the workforce for retirement, it has been a hard road to find skilled workers to fill those positions. On top of that, the current emergency that is COVID-19 has stretched the industry far beyond the typical limits.
Shortage Means Demand
The driver shortage has been an issue for the past few years. In order for trucking businesses to stay afloat, they have increased pay and benefits in order to meet the demand of new and prospecting drivers. Unfortunately, the job has lost its appeal over time. At one point, truck drivers were heralded as important for the economy. The industry hasn’t changed. The necessity is still there, but the respect and image of the typical truck driver have gone down.
Respect has been one of the most deterring factors for many. Treatment by both police and the public have given the industry a bad name. Thus, not as many people feel that it is the right job for them. With COVID-19 now here, the necessity of the trucker has remained the same, if not more important. The image of the typical truck driver has seen a slight improvement as many are now seeing the necessity for the first time, but it still remains stagnant.
With all that said, the industry has made direct lateral shifts in order to increase the wages and benefits for most truckers either on the road or new and prospecting workers.
Trucker Shortage: Increase Wages and Benefits
Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, many businesses started making these packages far more enticing for new drivers. Wages that compensate for more than basic requirements and benefits packages that include family members have risen increasingly. Now, in the time of COVID-19, those benefits and wages have increased almost ten-fold. With many stores now out of stock of essential products, many are seeing the bright side of driving a semi. The current emergency facing the US has also bought to light that truck drivers are the backbone of many industries across the US.
Better Driving Conditions
With many states now on self-isolation and even lockdown, many roads are devoid of any real traffic. The major concern most people have with the trucking industry is that the career itself is one of the deadliest. Road accidents make up for a huge number of US deaths per year and many of those happen due to negligent driving. Not negligence on the trucker’s behalf, but negligence from commuter vehicles. It is the duty of truck drivers to uphold safety standards on US roadways and it is an essential part of most CDL training courses. Right now, many new truck drivers are having the easiest time getting from one place to another based on low traffic and open roads.