Trucking industry challenges come in many forms. There’s the constantly fluctuating fuel costs, the need for quality customer service, and staying up-to-date with new regulations. I could go on…
However, the key concerns faced by fleets have one thing in common – their drivers.
Here are five of the most pressing issues in trucking today.
The current driver shortage is an ongoing challenge for the trucking industry – and one that seems likely to stick around for some time. There’s an urgent need for qualified drivers across Europe (and beyond) to haul the volumes of freight required to keep our economies buoyant and meet customer expectations. Despite rising wages and improved benefits, fleets are struggling to hire drivers as Baby Boomers retire and Millennials appear unwilling to endure long periods away from home.
It’s hard enough hiring new drivers, but fleets are finding keeping hold of them even more of a challenge. Turnover of truck drivers is generally much higher compared to other sectors, and vetting and retaining drivers can be costly. Fleets have a number of options to help boost retention and job satisfaction. For example, rewards programs, in-truck equipment, better communication channels, in fact anything that makes for a smoother journey and more engaged drivers.
The financial cost of acquiring a professional driver qualification is often cited as a major barrier to driver recruitment. Driver training shouldn’t be discouraging potential drivers. The cost, time and complexity of obtaining the necessary qualifications need to be more accessible and attractive to potential candidates if the driver shortage is to be reduced. In short, skilled drivers are in demand and better training is the solution.
It’s not easy monitoring driver behaviour. Once a speeding ticket has been issued or a complaint made, it’s too late. Driver behaviour includes anything from excessive idling and harsh braking to checking mobile devices. Fleet managers are increasingly looking to GPS and telematics technologies to observe driver behaviour. If these systems pick up bad habits such as severe acceleration or speeding, that driver can be assigned tailored training. Identifying high-risk behaviour through technology, company policies and training leads to safer roads.
All experienced truck drivers know that staying safe on the roads is their number one priority. Fleet managers too, recognise that driver safety is a top priority. Accidents and fatalities have increased in recent years as more trucks and other vehicles share the roads. Technology that ‘senses’ potential collisions and helps drivers avoid them is one answer. However, driver safety is also dependent on good training and common sense: staying alert, avoiding high volumes of traffic, not changing lanes too often, slowing down, and respecting other drivers.
The onus is on trucking companies to address these challenges head-on to provide a safer, better quality, more predictable way of life for drivers.
Finding answers to these issues is vital to the success of a fleet, but are fleet managers doing enough to address these concerns and put drivers first?