The clock is winding down for the trucking industry to stave off the worst impacts of the driver shortage, a panel of industry leaders warned at the 2015 Technology & Maintenance Council annual meeting.
As reported by Fleet Owner’s Sean Kilcarr:
“We’ve got to get out ahead of ourselves on this problem,” noted Dwayne Haug, VP of equipment purchasing for Werner Enterprises.
He added that for 34 years the … education systems has “moved away” from vocational training; a shift that’s had “a terrible impact on our young people” and on the trucking industry ever since.
“We’re not going to find technicians the traditional way today because enrollment is down in the tech schools,” Haug pointed out. “We need to get down more among the younger generation and show them that our shops and fleets have changed.”
He also believes the entire industry must do better – OEMs, fleets, and service providers alike – in terms of creating a “cohesive environment” for changing trucking’s image.
Yet the clock may run out on any such effort if it doesn’t get started soon, at least according to data shared by Rebecca Brewster, president and COO of the American Transportation Research Institute.
A recent ATRI report on driver demographics doesn’t paint a pretty picture for the industry. Yet there’s, no short term fix either.
“The baby boom generation is retiring but the generations replacing them are smaller in numbers,” noted Mike Jeffress, VP of maintenance for Maverick Transportation, during the TMC panel discussion. “That’s just part of the significant workforce challenge we face.”