Making Life Easier on the Road

Making Life Easier on the Road

Transport Topics (https://cdn.advanced-pub.com), Week of October 15

It’s no secret that finding and retaining good
truck drivers is a challenge for fleets, but recent
reporting has taught us that there are simple
options for improving drivers’ quality of life on
the road.

For one thing, listen to them. In discussing the 96%
turnover rate among for-hire drivers reported earlier this
month by American Trucking Associations, experts said
the key to retaining drivers is efforts designed to make
them feel appreciated — not just sign-on bonuses to lure
them through the door, but rather things that will compel
them to stay once they’ve arrived. That includes generous
benefits packages, easy and ready access to freight,
and an open arena to always speak their minds, and be
heard.

While they’re on the road, increased flexibility
with hours-of-service regulations would also be welcomed,
according to comments during a listening
session to discuss possible changes to those regulations.
The latest in a series of these events, hosted
Oct. 10 by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration,
revealed that drivers want the ability to
determine when and for how long they take breaks,
and also want regulators to understand that different
sectors of the industry have different needs. A
break for a driver hauling a load of livestock is very
different from a break for someone hauling a load
of dry goods. And short breaks offer precious little
time to either check on animals or check the condition
of a truck’s tires.

Let’s hope that the members of Congress already
angling to be in charge of top transportation committees
after the midterm elections are listening, and will
emerge post-election ready to help the trucking industry.
Not all of them will earn leadership posts, but all
of them can play a role in helping to shape a future for
the trucking industry that is built around creating an
environment where drivers can succeed.

Let’s hope the same for the leaders of the companies
that employ them. Truck drivers keep food on the table
and clothes on our backs, and we as a country must
show appreciation for them year-round. Day to day, it’s
up to the carriers who employ them — and the government
leaders who set the rules they follow — to listen
to the guidance they’re offering. After all, they’re the
ones living life on the road.