In an effort to put the topic of ELDs to bed for at least a month and avoid any further damage to my ego (check out the letter to the editor on page 43), I figured I’d shift the conversation to another major issue facing the industry – the driver shortage.
Now I know just like ELDs this topic has been discussed a lot lately, but I’d like to use this opportunity to encourage Truck West readers to take a few minutes to write me a short letter describing why you love being a truck driver.
One of the biggest issues, I’ve been told, surrounding the driver shortage is that the industry does not do a good job recruiting young people, and for a profession facing a critical shortage in the coming years, it’s essential for that shortfall to turn around.
And what better tool to utilize in the effort to entice the next generation of drivers to get behind the wheel than those who are doing it today and have been for decades?
There are obviously several favorable aspects to being a truck driver, or else why would you choose it as a career?
But as with any job, I’m sure there are some negatives as well. So what are those negatives? What is it about truck driving, or perhaps the industry as a whole, you would like to see changed?
And, is it because of these adverse factors that the industry has had trouble finding new drivers, or does it have nothing to do with the industry at all; maybe it’s just the reality of what today’s younger generation of worker is looking for when it comes to employment.
Let’s look at some positives (and keep in mind, I am not a truck driver, so in essence, what I see as positives and negatives could very well be what those the industry is looking for sees as well):
Freedom – This must be one of the main reasons people get into truck driving. You are on the highway for the majority of the time with nothing but the open road looking over your shoulder.
Travel – Though this facet of the job could get old over time, and not apply to some, depending on the type of routes they drive, being able to see a variety of different locations around North America is definitely a positive aspect to any job; much better than sitting in an office five days a week.
Camaraderie – I can imagine being out on the road, that over time, truck drivers develop a certain amount of fellowship between one another. You are all doing the same job and got into it for similar reasons, and during those moments when you do see each other at a truck stop or elsewhere, it’s great to chat up.
Though you may feel some level of satisfaction knowing you’re responsible for bringing the world’s products to consumers, freedom, travel and camaraderie seem like they would be the Top 3 reasons for getting into trucking.
So what are the negatives?
Salary – I’ve heard conflicting accounts of how much a truck driver makes, which is likely because it varies so greatly depending on location, distance traveled and what you’re driving. Some long-distance haulers can make upwards of $80,000 a year, while the majority who start out make much less, sometimes as low as $20,000.
Away from home – Although this doesn’t matter to some depending on their life situation, it can get difficult being away from home as much as a driver has to be when they have children and/or a significant other wanting to spend more time with them.
This is how a relative outsider would view the world of truck driving when making a career choice. Please write me and let me know your thoughts, where I may have gone wrong and what I may have missed all together.