18.08.05 Trucks

August 6, 2018

Running on Empty

If you bought it, chances are it got there via semi truck.A The trucking industry is responsible for moving 70% of goods across America.

But there’s just one problem… there aren’t enough drivers to get it there.

but…my amazon order!

Why Driver Shortage Matters

  • No matter how high tech we get, we need old-fashion trucking. StrongA economy has demand for trucks outpacing supply of drivers.
  • Higher prices:A Companies, especially food makers, pass on higher transport costs to us.
  • Slower Deliveries:A Are your Amazon delivery taking longer? You’re not alone.

Drivers Wanted

  • Requires 3-6 months in trucking school at $3-7K.
  • Long, solitary stretchesA away from home, wearing electronic monitors to track driving time.
  • Avg pay:A $42,480 in May 2017, figure appx. doubles if driving for private fleet (i.e. Pepsi, Walmart).
  • Median age: 49
  • 6% are women, two-thirds are white.

Trying to Fix It:
Lower Minimum Age?

  • Currently, must be 21 to drive interstateA freight (out-of-state); now considering lowering to 18.
  • White House is backing a trial program to allow those under 21 with military training to operate commercial vehicles across state lines, showing a willingness to possibly change federal law.

Going the way of the dinosaurs? Although there’s plenty of hype around autonomous trucks wiping out the need for drivers, trucking executives say that day is still too far off to solve today’s problem.

Autonomous Trucks:A While we are still years away from truly driverless Class 8 trucks running on the highway as a normal part of the industry; driver-assist technologies in heavy-duty tractor trailers could eventually have a positive impact on the driver shortage by making the job less stressful, and the more sophisticated technology may also attract younger individuals to truck driving. Many years from now and well beyond the dates of this report, one could envision an environment when the longer, line-haul portion of truck freight movements are completed by autonomous trucks and local pick-up and delivery routes are completed by drivers. However, motor carriers should not count on this being an option for many years.

by Jenna Lee,