Where Is The Next Generation of Truck Drivers?
The phrase “generation gap” has always been valid, presenting the idea that there are some levels on which different generations will not connect, or be able to relate on. Within the lifetime of recent generations the gaps between them and previous ones have grown substantially in result of the technological take over. From a group that never touched a computer until a job required it, to another that spends a majority of their lives with one glued to their fingertips. With every passing generation, the importance and level of involvement of technology in their lives jumps. Gadgets can do almost anything; locate the closest gas station, give directions to a destination, give a weather update, make hotel reservations, look up a local listing, and even order goods with the touch of a button--or even a screen.
So what does this have to do with the trucking industry? Everything. On one hand the incoming truck drivers are worlds away from the veterans in terms of their lifestyle and way of doing things. Truckers News referred to it as "old school vs new guns". At the same time CNN Money article entitled “9 Hard-To-Fill Jobs” listed the trucking industry as having a shortage of 150,000 truck drivers in America. This information doesn’t make sense in an economy like ours where we constantly hear about the lack of jobs. According to said article’s author Annalyn Censky, many candidates shy away from applying for these jobs because of the lifestyle. “Drivers are often away from home for months at a time, work long hours alone and have to deal with traffic.” Hasn’t the job always presented those challenges? Could the idea of lack of social interaction be more than the new generations can handle? With the invention of Facebook and other social media platforms people are constantly connected to the people they know and their day-to-day lives. Perhaps the idea of isolation and too much alone time has become one of instant elimination even in these desperate times.
As valid as all of this is, we cannot discount how far the trucking industry has come in their use of technology for day to day operations. EOBRs or Electronic On-Board Recorders are used to record the amount of time the truck is being driven. The hours of service or HOR rules limited the amount of hours that can be driven by drivers and is meant to prevent driver fatigue. This allows transportation companies to gather information about their drivers as well as keep in compliance with Compliance, Safety, Accountibility Operational Model Basics (CSA). Keeping a reliable connection between the driver and their pick up and drop off destinations allows for more efficient trips and less time waiting.
With the world of technology growing as fast as it is, the possibilities for its utilization within the trucking industry are endless. Perhaps these generations should do a little research and they might find a great opportunity waiting in a job market where they are hard to come by.