Truck drivers are important workers. We need to treat them that way.July 20, 2021
If you’ve walked into a shop and seen items go missing, or wondered why home improvement contractors have backed up, or found your business waiting for vital orders – then you’ve witnessed just some of the consequences of America’s truck driver problems. capacity.
This refers to the number of drivers available to transport our country’s goods at any given time, and it has been a problem for decades. As the pandemic has caused unprecedented disruptions in our supply chain and increased the demand for goods transported by truck, the problem has become even more acute.
For the truck drivers who are forced to spend long, stressful and often unpaid hours away from home, for the hundreds of millions of people who rely on the goods delivered by trucks every day, and for the safety of everyone who shares the road with truck drivers, we need to finally start addressing this problem.
To do this, we need to understand the root of the problem. The root cause of America’s truck driver capacity problem is the staggeringly low retention rate of current drivers.
Among the big trucking companies, the turnover rate for truck drivers is over 90%. For smaller ones, it’s not much better, at 72%. In the long-haul sector, drivers regularly leave companies or leave the industry altogether.
America pays a heavy cost when so many drivers leave. This puts a heavy burden on the drivers themselves, who in many cases have paid out of their own pockets for training or even bought trucks to enter the business. A lack of drivers can cause disruption in the delivery of things we rely on; around 72% of goods in America are delivered by truck, and in most communities, trucks are the only form of delivery.
We also know that driver turnover reduces the safety of truck drivers – and everyone else on the road. Studies show that drivers with more experience and drivers who work for the same company are less likely to be involved in an accident. In 2019, more than 5,000 Americans were killed on our roads in fatal crashes involving a large truck, and that number has been rising steadily over the past decade. More than 800 of those killed were truck drivers. Truck driving remains one of the most dangerous professions in our country . It doesn’t have to be this way.
So how do we start to turn the tide in the trucking industry?
Earlier this month, as part of President Biden’s Task Force on Supply Chain Disruption, we organised a meeting with truck drivers, business representatives, trade union representatives, lawyers and academics. We discussed several ways to increase retention, focusing on paying drivers by the hour (rather than by the mile) so that they are not incentivised to speed and are not penalised for delays they cannot control. We also discussed better training and debt-free routes to careers, changes that allow women and people of colour to enter the field safely and successfully, more flexible schedules and opportunities, and technology that improves safety and minimises time away from home. Some of these changes mean changing established business practices, others mean modernising, and in either case our departments are ready to help.
Как же нам переломить ситуацию в отрасли грузоперевозок?
Ранее в этом месяце в рамках Целевой группы президента Байдена по борьбе с нарушением цепочки поставок мы организовали встречу с водителями грузовиков, представителями бизнеса, профсоюзов, юристами и учеными. Мы обсудили несколько способов повышения удержания водителей, уделяя особое внимание почасовой оплате (а не мильной), чтобы у них не было стимула превышать скорость и не наказывать их за задержки, которые они не могут контролировать. Мы также обсудили более качественное обучение и свободные от долгов пути к карьере, изменения, позволяющие женщинам и представителям цветного населения безопасно и успешно работать в этой сфере, более гибкие графики и возможности, а также технологии, повышающие безопасность и сокращающие время пребывания вне дома. Некоторые из этих изменений подразумевают изменение устоявшейся деловой практики, другие – модернизацию, и в любом случае наши департаменты готовы помочь.