Despite the required electronic devices, GPS, and a host of other technologies, the trucking industry itself has stayed the same for the past few decades. For those in favor of improving trucking, taking the necessary steps to improve the industry needs to start at the bottom.
Bait and Switch Recruiting Strategies
With the large employment gap in the trucking industry, fleets have been looking to community colleges and other places bring in new talent. Yet not all hiring strategies are the same. Some people go to these training courses only to get job offers before any coursework is completed. Some people even report that the hiring comes with a large bill which the new drivers much repay after signing on. While the tactic may not be illegal, it is certainly ethically questionable. Improving trucking should not entail pressing people into service. These recruiting strategies need to stop because they hurt the reputation of the industry at large, and serve to keep people away from trucking completely.
Introduce a Mentoring Program
Instead of bringing people to dubious recruiting and training programs, pairing a prospective driver with an experienced trucker might help to close the employment gap in the industry. If a trainee can see how real drivers handle shipments, and what a long haul entails, it might give trainees a more realistic approach to trucking. Mentoring could help to improve the reputation of trucking among non-drivers as well. Implementing such a program, while beneficial, will be a challenge because the industry cannot really spare any drivers due to high demands for moving capacity shipments.
Improving Trucking through Better Pay
Electronic logging devices have impacted the amount of take-home pay for truckers. ELDs limit the number of hours a truck can be on the road. Add to this the fact that truckers are not paid when they are sitting at the docks, and paychecks have decreased a lot this year. Something needs to be done, otherwise more people might leave the industry. If ELDs register time at the docks as service hours, then drivers should be paid. This, of course, means that we need to revise the ELD mandate. ELDs may have intended to make the industry safer, but they are not improving trucking on the business side of the equation, and the drivers fell they are caught in the middle without a say in the process.
Part 2 of this series will go live in two days.