Dear Editor,As the population grew, the demand for commercial drivers to deliver food, clothes, furniture, the parts for manufacturing and their end products, waste disposal and public transit has exp...
As the population grew, the demand for commercial drivers to deliver food, clothes, furniture, the parts for manufacturing and their end products, waste disposal and public transit has expanded beyond the industry’s ability to produce the drivers to satisfy even the current demand. The income for drivers has only slightly increased during the past 15 years, not even enough to cover the cost of inflation. Highway drivers are forced every day to break the laws governing the number of safe driving hours and sleep required. Many transport companies disregard these laws to remain competitive in a cutthroat, price war. Get in there as fast as you can, as cheap is you can, is too often the industry standard.
Companies know that with more than 1 million trucks on the road in North America, the odds of getting caught breaking these laws are very slim, and the fines are nothing more than a slap on the wrist. The government knows exactly what’s going on, but does not have the resources to properly police the industry. Drivers are allowed to log their daily average speed at 100 km-h, which is physically impossible to obtain, but allows drivers to “legally” work more hours.
The demand for drivers is now forcing companies to hire drivers with little or no experience. Truck training schools have also entered the price wars, with some advertising tractor-trailer courses for as low as $599.
The weakest link in the system is that most people have little or no training experience. Human resources and safety and compliance are being run by promoted receptionists who know very little about trucking. Truck training is being done by newly licensed drivers, company drivers on compensation, and truckers who are too burned out to drive. The reason why is simple: cheap, cheap, cheap. Fleet training courses have some merit but are 90 per cent theory. We truck in the real world.
The transport industry has thousands of trucks sitting and waiting for drivers, contracts to fill, payments to make, and at what point do they put a dangerous driver behind the wheel. The trucker driving three feet off your rear bumper at 120 K is one of the many being put on the road today.
The solution to all of this is for transport companies to create their own drivers by operating their own truck training facility with qualified staff. Some transport companies have aligned themselves with a truck school and find the school priority of profit, not quality, is a plan doomed from the start.
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