Why U.S. has so many truck drivers
Major Factors Behind the Big Number of US Truck Drivers
The trucking industry is one of the notable drivers of the US economy. After all, it facilitates shipping from factories, plants and farms to warehouses. From warehouses, it delivers goods to distribution centers. Raw materials are sent to the factories using trucks as well.
Trucks are also used when people move to different houses. It’s also valuable in ensuring oil supply all throughout the US.
Behind the said industry, there are over a million truck drivers who work full-time and part-time. That’s not surprising considering the sheer size of the US and its population. However, below are other reasons for the big number of truck drivers in the country.
The Demand for Speedy Delivery
From basic needs to luxury goods, consumers order almost everything online. It’s also worth noting how online stores cater to consumers across the country and even overseas.
Trucks have been used for shipping goods for decades. However, e-commerce and globalization required faster delivery. This is especially true to the shipment of perishables. More drivers are hired and more trucks are used to ensure quicker shipping.
Lack of Better Alternatives
Shipping by plane is also fast. Yet, it’s not preferable due to its costs. The fewer number of planes and pilots plays a role on such costs.
Planes can’t also carry bulky equipment as efficiently as trucks. For mass transport of goods, trucks and shipping containers are still more effective. It’s also safer to ship oil tanks by land.
When people move to different houses, trucks are more convenient to use than cars. With a truck or two, you can complete the process in one go. If you use a car, it will take a lot of trips and cost more fuel. It’s also tiring.
Due to its efficiency, the trucking industry is irreplaceable. For now, there are also no alternatives to truck drivers.
Self-driving vehicles are being used and developed these days. In shipping though, there’s still hesitations over the use of such technology.
Aside from the costs, there are also questions regarding their security and liability. If you’re a retailer, can you risk shipping your goods using an unmanned vehicle? Who is going to be liable if the self-driving truck gets into an accident?
Plenty of Small Trucking Businesses
A lot of distribution centers like malls and clothing stores are closing these days. This reduced the demand for trucks transporting goods from warehouses to retail centers. However, there’s a significant increase of direct delivery from warehouses to households.
Online shopping is the biggest reason behind such phenomenon. This also gives rise to the number of courier business in the US. Courier services replace the work of distribution centers when it comes to fulfilling demand.
Sellers prefer outsourcing such service. That way, they don’t have to buy, operate and maintain trucks. They also don’t have to hire drivers and pay for their wages and benefits.
The demand for courier service leads to the increase of trucking businesses in the country. It only takes a truck to start anyway. Even a secondhand pickup truck can be used to ship goods within a town. Imagine what a medium-sized truck can serve.
Such business is also attractive because the owners don’t really need drivers to make money from it. They can simply rent out the trucks.
However, providing courier service tends to be a more profitable option. This one requires hiring truck drivers. Depending on the demand, the owners can hire part-time or full-time.
Stable Income and Improvements on Working Conditions
Driving a truck isn’t easy. The job gets harder when you know you’re responsible for goods. Long-haul truck drivers have to deal with loneliness as well.
Over the years, the income of truck drivers increased. Yet, the raise is smaller than those of other professions.
Even so, driving a truck still provides a more stable source of income. Portable TVs and music players also offer entertainment for long drives.
Thanks to GPS and Internet connectivity, it’s easier for drivers to find clear roads. These also ensure that they’re on the right path.
When an accident happens along the way, the drivers can just call their dispatchers. The dispatcher can use GPS to track down the driver and its truck as well.
Having better truck stops also makes driving less dull. There are plenty of meals that drivers can choose from. Many of the said stops have facilities for trucks repairs as well. Aside from tools, these even have their own servicemen.
Hiring of Minorities
Truck drivers are often stereotyped as men. These days, there are also women drivers. Members of the LGBTQ community are in the same line of work.
The high demand for truck drivers prompt businesses to hire foreigners. In return, many foreigners apply for such job because the competition isn’t as stiff as those in other fields. This makes it easier for them to enter the country in a legal way.
However, that doesn’t mean that the foreigners have less qualifications. More often than not, they’re required to have driver’s license and experience in their home country. Afterwards, they need to get a different driving license in the US.
Challenges in the Industry
Countries can have disputes. Many are settled without causing a lot of problems. However, there are also clashes that lead to trade issues.
One country can block the shipment of goods from its foe. The other may respond by doing the same or raising the tariffs. Even a country like the US is not exempted. As the country gets involved in trade issues, truck drivers have fewer goods to ship.
There’s also the problem of aging truck drivers. In the past, the qualifications for becoming a truck driver were less strict. Today, you need experience and certifications to get the better-paying driving posts. This discourages many young Americans from applying.
Despite the challenges, the industry isn’t going to fade away soon. The same goes for the driving profession.
Thanks to the many studies about them, the risks involve in truck driving are discovered. Some politicians and industry leaders are proposing further improvements to lessen such risks. They also help address the challenges against the trucking industry.