In January 2020 the United States will be launching their drug and alcohol clearing house for commercial drivers that is suppose to offer transparency for truck drivers allowing employers to see the results of testing done on drivers in the industry. This apparently is to make our roads safer and solve the problem of drug and alcohol related deaths behind the wheel. You can read about the new regulations here. https://www.forbes.com/sites/stevebanker/2019/10/24/a-shocking-loophole-affecting-road-safety-is-finally-about-to-close/#519cec65770f
Over the last few years we have brought in Mandatory Entry Level Training, Electronic Logging Devices, and changed a number of regulations regarding Hours of Service. I am all for making our roads safer but are regulations the way to do it or are we just making it more of a turn off for people to get into our industry? If you add in all the talk of self-driving trucks, Amazon shipping, and robotic technology it can be very hard to attract talent our industry. We are already driving out the many long term drivers currently doing the job and not attracting the younger generations we need because the industry isn’t attractive. Are we focusing on the right areas in our industry or are we killing our industry?
We can’t tell what will happen in the future but there are opportunities now in the industry in a number of fields. If we spent as much time teaching people to make the right decisions and fixing the real problems in the industry such as safe parking and infrastructure such as separate truck lanes or priority traffic patterns to keep goods moving it would be much more safer and attractive than telling everyone when they should sleep. Regulating an industry that has so many variables is not only making roads unsafe but not attracting the people that we need to carry out the very important task of truck driving.
What people developing new technology for the trucking industry are not telling us is the price of those trucks and the fact that most small to mid-sized fleets won’t be able to afford those vehicles. They are not telling us that the transportation industry has been slow to follow in technology over the years and that if you were to put a self driving truck in the fleet most people wouldn’t know how to get it to move. I use technology in a day to day basis and believe it is helpful to our lives if it is used to make our lives more efficient and safe.
We need to spend more time showing people why our industry is important and changing the industry to be more attractive to the next generations instead of the way we are doing it now and turning everyone away from an industry that many of us have built a life on. Trucking will change that’s for sure, but I don’t see it going away!
About the Author
Bruce Outridge has been in the transportation industry for over 30 years. He is the author of the books Driven to Drive, Running By The Mile, and host of The Lead Pedal Podcast. TTSAO also known as the Truck Training Schools Association of Ontario has certified member schools in the truck training vocation ensuring quality entry level drivers enter the transportation industry. To learn more about the TTSAO or to find a certified school in your area visit www.ttsao.com