Letter: Doing More to Recruit Drivers
This Letter to the Editor appears in the Feb. 16 print edition of Transport Topics. Click here to subscribe today.
Last year brought some great gifts to trucking — higher rates, dropping fuel prices, increased tonnage and hours-of-service relief, to name a few. The one item that trucking did not get in 2014 was an increased driver pool. I think we all know this problem will haunt trucking for many years to come.
A reliable pool of safe and competent drivers will ensure trucking remains the cornerstone of the U.S. economy, but the question of attracting and retaining quality people remains unanswered. The industry can offer more money, better benefits, more time off, etc., but we still struggle.
I believe one way to attract more quality people is to have a media campaign touting how important trucking is to the American economy and ultimately the American way of life. We, as an industry, need to make sure the public knows their lives are affected by trucking every day. We need to make sure trucking is important to America!
When I was going through the process to become an America’s Road Team captain in 2005, we had to give a short speech to a panel of judges. I can’t say verbatim what my talk was about, but it revolved around how important trucking is and how important the truck driver is to America.
After my talk, Mike Russell, who then was American Trucking Associations’ vice president of public affairs, took me aside and said I have a great deal of passion and the great message that trucking would understand, but my talk might not appeal to the public.
Maybe the time is right to get aggressive in our message as an industry and start building pride in what we provide the American people. I believe that, if we start promoting trucking as making the American life possible and start building pride in our industry, maybe we can attract more quality people.
I could go on, but the bottom line is: I take pride in what I do, as I am sure many people in trucking do. We just need to get the message out how important we are as an industry.
America’s Road Team Captain