Over the last few years, the number of truck drivers and truck driving firms has reduced across both America and Canada leading to considerable distribution across both countries.
Indeed, the problem has become so acute that America has a reported shortfall of around 60,000 drivers, with Canada suggested to be 25,000 drivers short.
Strangely, the phenomenon isn’t just isolated to North America, either. Similarly, there are driver shortages across Europe, causing significant problems to distribution channels and leading to food and gas shortages.
Why are drivers in such short supply?
In short, not enough fledgling drivers are coming through the system – and even those that are already qualified to drive are leaving in their droves. In response, various sites have sprung up online where companies can post their delivery driver jobs to independent contractors and even individuals.
The most common reasons for drivers moving to other jobs
Although all drivers are different and each will have his or her own reason for entering alternative employment, some of the more common reasons given for leaving the trade include:
Low wages: Not so long ago, drivers made good money working on the road; however, with the rise of competition between firms, this is now not always the case.
The amount of unpaid work: A lot of firms pay their drivers for the number of miles they complete rather than taking account of the amount of time they might spend in traffic jams, at traffic lights, in bad weather, or on highly congested roads. This leads to the unfair situation that a driver could spend hours behind the wheel yet not complete particularly high mileage.
The fear of being replaced by autonomous, self-driving vehicles: Trials are already well-underway with self-driving vehicles – with manufacturers paying particular attention to autonomous trucks working in convoys. Although the tech isn’t quite reliable enough yet to send fleets of trucks out onto the roads safely, it very likely will be soon. With an uncertain future ahead of them regarding guaranteed employment, many drivers are jumping ship early. The prospect of self-driving trucks also dissuades many others from getting started in driving roles.
Unfair fines: The haulage industry is heavily regulated, with tough fines for those that transgress the rules. Often drivers – rather than the firms they work for – face these fines, which come directly out of their wages.
Monitored driving hours: As mentioned above, the truck driving industry is closely monitored and regulated, and drivers can only stay on the road for so long. Should a driver be delayed for any reason, they have to stop when they reach these limits. Consequently, delays outside a driver’s control can result in lower mileage – which, obviously, means lower wages.
Truck driving is a dangerous job: Due to their size and weight, trucks are considerably more dangerous than other vehicles, and the fact drivers are expected to complete jobs in all types of weather and conditions further compounds the risks involved. As a result, accidents can and do happen – and, when they do, the results can be severe or even fatal.
Categories: National News