Why The Driver Shortage Matters to All of Us.
After finishing my breakfast, and brushing my pearly whites, I put the toothbrush in it’s holder and had this epiphany. Every morning I push away sheets, climb out of bed, eat breakfast, check email, catch the news, brush teeth, change clothes, comb hair, drive a car, and sometimes buy gas, all before 8 AM.
Now, while I may have left a few things out of my 2 hour rundown, I could not escape the realization that each of these events, though trivial in nature, would not have been possible without truck drivers. This may seem like an obvious conclusion for a guy who has spent the last 25 years in the transportation industry, nevertheless, I felt I must take this a step further. I looked into the companies that were responsible for each of the things I use or consume each morning and this is what I discovered:
- the mattress manufacturer has 301 commercial drivers
- the bedding company 31
- the bed manufacturer has 337
- the breakfast involved 815
- the cellular provider employs 184 (parent co. 2116)
- the TV, toothbrush, clothes, and comb came from stores with 17,582
- the fuel hauler has 407 (but their contractors account for over 20,000)
So in just 2 hours nearly 50,000 truck drivers played an essential role in making my way of life comfortable. These numbers only scratch the surface because they do not include the hundreds of thousands of drivers who deliver to and from these manufacturers on behalf of other trucking companies.
So why does this matter? Quite frankly, our comfortable way of life may see some change if the driver shortage is not taken seriously. It comes down to simple math. The aggregate number of qualified commercial drivers continues to decrease each year. Simply put, there are more drivers leaving the profession than there are entering the profession. At the same time, the rate at which we consume goods and services marches onward, increasing the demand for professional drivers.
The solution lies in companies finding new ways to attract more working adults to professional driving careers. If we fail to do so the complex distribution network for goods and services that we rely on each day will begin to fail. Of course it will be preceded by escalating transportation rates, and higher prices on the goods and services we enjoy each day.
Some would say that autonomous (self driving) trucks will solve much or all of the problem. The technology is coming whether we want to accept it or not. However, it may be a decade or longer before driver-less trucks on city streets are common.
Right now, we must face the growing driver shortage, but don’t worry I and my team are here to help.