The truck driver shortage is a pressing issue that has been affecting the transportation industry for several years. According to seek.com there are currently over 16,000 open trucking positions across Australia. The driver shortage is having a significant impact on the logistics industry, as well as on the overall economy.
There are several factors that have contributed to the truck driver shortage. One of the main reasons is the aging population of truck drivers. Currently the median age of a truck driver in Australia is 48. Many drivers are nearing the age of retirement, and there are not enough younger drivers to replace them. To make matters worse, the job of a truck driver can be physically and emotionally demanding, with the long working hours and time away from home required proving as a deterrent for some.
Companies are being forced to raise prices in order to cover the cost of the shortage, while others are having to delay shipments, leading to disruptions in the supply chain. The shortage is also causing increased stress and pressure on current truck drivers, who are often being forced to work longer hours to meet demands. This is making an already stressful and demanding job more difficult and less appealing. Companies are now being forced to investigate driving conditions in order to entice more drivers to the seat.
Managing fatigue hours can be a large deterrent for new drivers, due to the difficult nature to understand and comply with the fines affiliated with fatigue breaches. Electronic Work Diaries (EWD) or Electronic Logbooks, are a relatively new technology which is making the management of fatigue hours easier than ever! Electronic Logbooks ensure drivers can get the most out of their day while remaining compliant. This can help reduce the level of stress drivers are currently experiencing and improve their ove working conditions. Less stress equals more drivers!
Other technologies that are also being investigated include self-driving trucks. While this technology is still in the early stages, it is expected to reduce the need for human drivers in the future. In the meantime, many trucking companies are offering incentives, such as sign-on bonuses and tuition reimbursement, to attract new drivers to the profession.
Truck driving is not for the faint hearted, it can be incredibly stressful and the driver shortage is making matters worse. With the help of technology, driver conditions can and must improve to entice more drivers to the seat.