New technological advancements, changes in regulations and shifting shipping trends have made the transportation industry an exciting, and often challenging, environment to work in. Truck drivers especially are noticing new trends in the industry – from same-day delivery expectations to automated vehicles and a proposal to lower the age minimum of drivers.
Some of the other trends affecting truck drivers include:
- Driver Shortage. The industry employs nearly 4 million drivers, and still there is an unwavering shortage. Trucks move almost 10 billion tons of freight every year, and as freight volumes increase with strong customer demands, the driver shortage is likely to get worse before it gets better. So, how can carriers attract new drivers?
- Encourage new drivers to join the industry
- Provide thorough orientation and training programs.
- Create fair salary and payment structures.
- Clearly defined and outlined schedules.
- Driverless Vehicles. The “Inspiration Truck” debuted in May in the hopes of mitigating driver fatigue and stress. This truck still requires a human driver to take control during irregular situations.
- Grouping vehicles into platoons is a method of increasing capacity on the roads. This method is expected to help fuel economy and safety. Drivers using vehicles that platoon would likely need a special license because new skills and responsibilities would be required for this technology.
- Fleets are encouraged to reduce environmental impact by making alterations to performance. For example, drivers should reduce idle-time to save fuel costs, and bring the vehicle’s highway speed to 65 mph in order to reduce CO2. Looking for ways to lower emissions and be environmentally friendly is increasingly important.
- The DOT released a report which exposed how badly the US needs infrastructure funding. Politicians have proposed fixes, which have proven to be short-term. Our nation’s truck drivers are operating on roads that are crumbling and bridges that are past their 50-year lifespan.
- Overall Supply Chain. Retailers and manufacturers are moving distribution centers closer to their customers and taking advantage of the omni-channel approach. Shippers are looking for optimization and efficiency – and transportation plays a huge role in creating better practices – whether that means choosing intermodal transport or using a JIT inventory system, drivers should prepare for the immediate demand of products.
No matter what changes occur in the industry, truck drivers keep our products and economy moving. In the spirit of National Truck Driver Appreciation Week, we would like to applaud truck drivers and show our support of their hard work. #NTDAW