How Driver Shortages Affect the Transportation Industry, and What Can Be Done

The country’s economy depends on the effective and safe delivery of goods from manufacturers to consumers and clients. Transportation, primarily trucking, is the foundation of trade and commerce in the U.S. and without truck drivers, companies are limited in sales, and consumers may have difficulties in getting the products they want.

The American Trucking Association predicts that within the next 10 years, the transportation industry will be in need of about 100,000 nationwide. Companies are scrambling to understand the reasons behind the driver shortage as well as how to combat it to keep the flow of goods and services up throughout the country. Here’s a look at how the driver shortage is affecting the transportation industry and what can be done about it.

Age and Gender

One of the largest issues having an influence on the driver shortage is the demographics of the current workforce. The trucking industry relies heavily on male employees who are 45 years of age or older. With this in mind, it’s important to know that the average age commercial truck driver is 55 years old. What needs to be known is that these drivers are retiring within the next 10 to 20 years, making it all the more important to hire younger employees now.

Another major demographic issue that the industry is primarily hiring men. Women make up 47 percent of the nation’s labor market but only account for six percent of commercial truck drivers. The problem here is changing the stereotype that the trucking industry is a man’s job for men only.

Trucking Lifestyle

For many, the lifestyle of a truck driver isn’t an ideal one and steers people away from even considering a career as a transportation professional. Most drivers are assigned to trucking routes that keep them on the road for extended periods of time, especially when they are newer to the role. Adjusting to this can be draining not only physically but also emotionally and mentally. Being on the road non-stop also limited drivers options when it comes to nutrition and taking care of their bodies. Combining bad nutrition with a sedentary lifestyle means a higher risk of things like diabetes and obesity.

What’s more, trucking professionals have been known to suffer from sleep deprivation and mental fatigue. This can culminate in danger behind the wheel with things like poor judgment and forgetfulness.

Plus, truck drivers are needing to be reassured that they’re companies they drive for are looking out for their best interest. Having transport insurance in place will let professionals know that the company is being proactive in protecting their assets down to the employees. Having this coverage is a step in backing up the company, clients, and employees.

How This Can Be Solved

There really isn’t one solid solution at this point, but companies are doing what they can to respond to not only the driver shortage but the health and wellness of their current drivers.

One way that it can be responded to is to increase driver pay. Most carriers have been offering pay increases, coupled with a comprehensive benefits package and embarrassment for tuition as well as 401K options.

Another way to respond to this issue is to decrease the amount of time behind the wheel on the road. Increasing time at home and decreasing time on the road will provide a work-life balance that most other professionals have. Also, companies should find effective ways to target minorities, women, and veterans to join their field. Minorities and women are an overwhelmingly under-represented group within the transportation industry and veterans are another source of work power as many are looking to transition into fulfilling careers.

About Tangram Insurance Services

Located across the Golden Gate Bridge, just outside of San Francisco, Tangram Insurance Services is a full-service Managing General Underwriter and Program Manager offering specialty programs. We focus on industry-relevant coverage, competitive pricing, and practical business and risk management solutions for your clients. Since we are not all things to all people, we make sure to create outstanding custom-built solutions that matter to those businesses, and the brokers who serve those industries. Contact us at (888) 744-9810.