Over-regulation of the industry is often cited as one of the reasons so many truck drivers choose to leave. While no-one would argue that safety is a key concern for the industry, so too is the need to keep experienced drivers in the driving seat.
The loss of experienced truck drivers is a real headache for everyone involved. The industry clearly has a retention problem, but perhaps we could keep hold of experienced drivers if we focused on smarter regulations and better pay.
Earlier this year, the Commercial Motor Vehicle Driver Risk Based on Age and Driving Experience study was published concluding that the experience of a driver has the greatest impact on the risk of crashes or driving violations.
According to the study, experience has a bigger impact on safety than age. For example, a 55-year-old truck driver with one year’s experience behind the wheel is more likely to crash than a 35-year-old with 10-years’ experience.
As the study states: “It would be beneficial for fleet managers to focus on retaining older, more-experienced drivers and engage them in driver mentoring programs before they retire so inexperienced drivers can benefit from their knowledge.”
With safety a priority, we need to work out how to keep truck drivers for longer. And that means smarter regulations and better pay.
Some people think there are too many regulations in trucking. Others argue there’s not enough. But rather than quantity, the question should be about efficiency of those regulations.
A system that rewards professionalism would mean experienced truck drivers were less likely to jump ship – or in this case, jump truck. If drivers are leaving because of regulations, then these safety regs are counter-productive. The road to safety is full of experienced truck drivers, so identifying bad drivers and rewarding good truck drivers is the way forward.
And I know I’m not alone when I say better wages is a must. If you want to keep experienced, safer drivers at the wheel, you’ve got to pay truck drivers what they deserve.
It’s not rocket science, is it?