Truck drivers aren’t praised for their job, in fact they get little recognition. The economy depends on truck drivers to transport freight and other items Americans purchase. As a direct result of the lack of drivers the cost of goods and shipping costs will inflate, but what’s really causing the shortage of drivers may surprise you.
One issue impacting the shortage is age and gender. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average age of a commercial truck driver in the U.S. is 55 years old, that’s just 11 years till retirement, at age 66. What’s surprising is the Department of Transportation requires all professional drivers to be at least 21 years old, which is quite the age gap for the average trucker. So what’s causing the younger generation not to pursue a career in trucking? Well, the unemployment rate for millennials is more than twice the national average, at a soaring 12.8 percent. Millennials aren’t all to blame though, because statistically only 8 percent of truck drivers are female. Companies are so desperate to hire drivers they’re offering signing bonuses, pay raises, and referrals. Some companies even started to offer free online-college tuition for their drivers. If the trucking industry can market to women and the younger generation, it might solve part of the problem.
We need to consider what it’s like to be on the road, then maybe we’ll understand why this is a dying profession. Professional drivers barely get to see their families and the constant trips make it hard to maintain relationships. Leah Fessler, a publicist for Quartz wrote, “ The 50% divorce rate statistic is a myth. Divorce rates vary by factors like race, education level, and employment status.” According to Fessler the divorce rate for truck drivers is 44.2 percent. This doesn’t mean that if you’re a truck driver you’ll get divorced, there’s other factors at play. This occupation is difficult and demands a lot of time away from your loved ones. Becoming a truck driver isn’t just a job, it’s a lifestyle choice.
Truck drivers don’t get the respect they deserve. People often don’t take into consideration the amount of time it takes a semi-truck to stop, nor do they see all they’ve sacrificed to keep us safe on the road. CEO and owner of Ezlogz, CJ “Sergey” Karman, was in the logistics industry for over 12 years, drove all 48 states, he also owned a trucking company, and was a broker and safety director. His response to the question if his years of experience being a truck driver still has its side effects, CJ responded,
Once a trucker, always a trucker. I’m grateful for having that experience. I do miss it at times, but truckers don’t get the respect they deserve. The extra stress, aside from driving, that’s brought on from paperwork like BOL, lumper and fuel receipts, is why we created the platform Ezlogz. We’ve been able to help drivers be more organized and lead a less stressful life on the road.
Many people like CJ, who used to be drivers, will never forget the life on the road and have the utmost respect for this occupation. It’s a profession America can’t afford to lose.