The ongoing shortage of truck drivers is a major contributing factor to the supply chain disruptions and shortages across the nation.
While the shortage of truck drivers is not a new problem, the recent pandemic has helped to accelerate the issue.
Prior to the pandemic, there was a shortage of 61,500 in drivers. After the pandemic hit, that number increased by 30%. More drivers decided to retire or just left the industry completely.
The Impact on Supply Chain Backup
Currently, there are 70 ships sitting off the coast of Long Beach, CA, waiting to be unloaded. A variety of contributing factors are prohibiting these ships from being offloaded in a timely manner, directly impacting the global supply chain.
The 80,000 driver shortage is now having a dramatic effect on this supply chain issue. Truck drivers move 71% of the US economy's goods but represent just 4% of the vehicles on the roads.
Despite Washington’s efforts to keep the Port of Los Angeles open 24 hours a day with extra funding, it wouldn’t matter how many hours it would remain open if the driver shortage still remains.
The Solution that Technology Provides
We know the problem--increased number of drivers leaving their jobs, an inability to attract more drivers and retain them.
Is there a way to maneuver around a problem such as not having enough truck drivers? Can fleets make up for the lack of manpower?
While the issue is imminent and companies are trying their hardest to raise salaries with bonuses and improved benefits, we raise the question--have fleets invested in technology improvements to help truck drivers operate more efficiently and safely?
It’s easy to put a bandaid on the obvious result while trying to find a quick fix--raise salaries.
But is that what will keep drivers at their jobs?
Doran believes fleets can add value for their drivers by implementing tire monitoring systems on their equipment. Tire monitoring systems help to ensure proper tire inflation pressures; resulting in more efficient pre-trip inspections, improved safety, and reduced equipment downtime.
Driver’s complaints about a career in trucking:
Fleets that invest in cutting edge technology to improve the driver’s experience and address their concerns have a competitive advantage when trying to attract new drivers.
With so much attention on the overall supply chain bottleneck, there are necessary conversations happening about new legislation regarding the trucking industry.
Currently, the approved minimum age for a truck driver to drive across state lines stands at 21. By limiting a group of young adults who could potentially fill the need for additional drivers, we disqualify a group of people who could be a significant piece to the puzzle.
Luckily a new bill, Developing Responsible Individuals for a Vibrant Economy (DRIVE-Safe) Act, would change that age limit to 18 and would include a series of training programs and performance benchmarks to ensure safe drivers.
In addition to the DRIVE-Safe Act, U.S. Representative Rodney Davis (R-IL) has introduced H.R. 4810. Supporting Trucking Efficiency and Emission Reductions (STEER) Act will establish a Department of Energy (DOE) voucher program that assists truckers in purchasing and installing fuel-saving, emission-reducing technologies.
This is good news for the trucking industry!
We are eager to see what lays ahead. In the meantime, we will continue to support our clients in this fluctuating economic climate with innovative and reliable technology that will keep their trucks moving more efficiently.