Trucking Industry Driver Shortages
In an article from the American Trucking Association, it is reported that the trucking industry – responsible for transporting over 70 percent of goods in the US – faces a serious shortage of qualified drivers. Estimates state there is a need to hire nearly 900,000 new operators over the next ten years to maintain the current pace of over the road transportation. Another problem in addition to the lack of drivers, reports the American Trucking Association (ATA), transportation companies in Utah and elsewhere are also suffering from a shortening supply of drivers who are quality trained.
John Kearney, CEO of Advanced Training Systems, claims that part of the problem is generational. He states that one in four of today’s drivers is 55 years or older, and the trucks they drive are not up to today’s technology standards. The industry needs to recruit and train younger drivers with high-tech and high-quality training and skills plus develop the equipment that matches their training.
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Adam Thompson, Savage’s Director of Transportation for California states that as more drivers retire, it is becoming more difficult to replace them with safe and certified drivers. Younger drivers require significant raises in pay, excellent benefits, and family time. Drivers are also asking for newer trucks and better training methods with modern technology to match their skill sets.
Salt Lake City trucking companies like Corlett Express and Savage believe that the critical element in attracting younger candidates and producing safe and road-ready drivers is not only enhanced wages and benefits but better training methods and using simulator training in addition to behind-the-wheel instruction.
Similar to military and airline pilot training, using a simulator can teach drivers the best ways to respond to events too dangerous to be included in traditional behind the wheel instruction. Kearney states that drivers’ need to learn how to steer through a tire blowout or over an unexpected patch of black ice.
The stakes are high not just for the trucking industry in Utah but the economy of the United States. Manufacturers and retailers are contending with the tightening trucking market and are paying steep prices to keep their goods moving. DAT Solutions LLC, an online freight marketplace, reports that the cost to hire a big rig has gone up to $2.11 per mile with a fuel surcharge at a 3.5 year high.
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Stimulators can teach new drivers everyday tasks like backing up and shifting gears. By using simulator training in new hires, one major Salt Lake Trucking and logistics company believe that proper simulator training can provide a savings of $40/hr in fuel costs.
How? By adequately training drivers using high technology simulators a highly-realistic virtual reality-based program will combine up to the minute feedback and show drivers how to realistically and economically drive a big rig through the compilations of everyday driving.
Trucking is a well-paid and honest occupation, but the industry needs a new generation of motivated and well-trained drivers. Salt Lake trucking companies know that by introducing technology, education plus the salary and benefits that make truck driving worthwhile, they can recruit drivers who are qualified, safe-drivers, and eager to contribute to the prosperous future of American commerce.