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Have You Thanked A Truck Driver Today?

We have – It’s National Truck Driver Appreciation Week! The Agforce team appreciates its truck drivers more than we can express every week, but we love having the opportunity to thank them officially and publicly once a year.

This year, we’re visiting some of our local carriers bearing gifts as a thanks for everything they do. We’re also sharing some of the coolest, most mind-blowing facts about truck drivers and the truck driving industry so that all of you can share in our awe of these men and women who quite literally keep America running. 

Truck Driver

Understanding the Importance of Truck Drivers

In 2018, there were 3.5 million men and women employed as truck drivers in the United States, and 7.8 million people employed in jobs related to trucking (hey, that’s us!), not even counting the self-employed. Business Insider did the math and determined that almost six percent of all Americans with full-time jobs did something related to truck driving. And a study by National Public Radio found that “trucker driver” was the most dominant job in 29 U.S. states, including California and Texas. That means even without taking into account all the industries truck drivers support, they are crucial to our nation’s economy on their own. 

Then, consider how much the rest of our economic ecosystem relies on truck drivers: Trucks moved roughly 71.4% of the nation’s freight by weight in 2018, according to the American Trucking Association (ATA), which means without their drivers, virtually every other industry – from agriculture to healthcare to technology to food service to retail – would grind to a halt. Business owners, consumers and those in need of life-saving services would suffer almost immediately. 

As it is, a truck-driving career isn’t without suffering of its own. Drivers put in up to 70 hours behind the wheel every week, and drive almost 300 billion miles a year, combined. These grueling hours can mean weeks at a time away from home, reduced access to healthcare and nutritious foods, lack of physical activity throughout the day and a lot of solitude. It’s not a career that’s a good fit for everyone, making our appreciation for those who love it and do it well even greater. 

Because the domestic trucking industry isn’t affected by automation or offshoring, two of the biggest threats to the American workforce, the need for qualified, reliable truck drivers will only continue to grow. The ATA projects overall freight tonnage to “grow to 20.6 billion tons in 2030, up 25.6% from 2019’s projection of 16.4 billion tons. Truck drivers will continue to make a major contribution to society for decades to come, and we plan to continue thanking them for at least that long. 

Agforce is growing quickly, and we recognize none of that growth would be possible without the network of carriers who allow us to be as agile and responsive as our customers expect. Our truck drivers get us where we’re going – literally and figuratively. 

Want to thank a truck driver today? Use the hashtag #ThankADriver on LinkedIn, Facebook or Twitter. Want to partner with Agforce? Reach out! You can call us at 844.713.6723 or email us at inquiry@agforcets.com.

National Truck Driver Appreciation Week and Beyond — Thank a Truck Driver

From the alarm clock you snooze in the morning to the TV you Netflix and chill with at night, it’s likely you have a truck driver to thank for making all the things you need, want and enjoy in your life accessible. We appreciate our driver partners every day, and we love the spotlight they enjoy during National Truck Driver Appreciation Week. It is a great time to reflect on all they do to keep our nation connected.

Let’s take a minute to explore the importance of truck drivers. They are undoubtedly the center of the freight industry, making it possible to move goods from here to there. Could they also be the hub of our general society? Think about the important institutions that would have trouble obtaining resources without truck drivers, like hospitals or prisons.

In an article by TruckerPlanet.net, they consider a world sans drivers. Their article states in the first 24 hours without truck drivers hospital, service station, and manufacturing operations would be impacted, as well as food supply. In the days that follow, supplies would become scarce and food shortage would be a concern — not to mention waste build up. Imagining this scenario makes it quite easy to give thanks to the men and women that help keep us cared for and fed.

It also shows just how important the trucking industry is to our national economy, contributing nearly $739 billion in revenue a year. About 70 percent of all freight tonnage is transported by truck, and 80 percent of U.S. communities are supplied by trucking deliveries.

There are currently 15.5 million trucks in operation traveling more than four million miles of roads. We imagined a world without drivers, but even a drop in the number of truckers on the road would have significant consequences. It would almost immediately translate to slower delivery times and higher priced goods.

Truck Driving is Hard

Let’s not forget what truck drivers give up to help us stay connected and productive, starting with the time they spend away from family and friends. Driving about 125,000 miles a year, they may have around 3 weeks between nights in their own bed.

In addition, a truck driver’s health can suffer. Over the road drivers may not have a lot of choice when it comes to healthy food selection, and sitting for long periods of time is not good for anyone. Seeing a doctor or health care professional in general can be a challenge for truck drivers with their schedules allowing for limited time at home.

And how can we not mention the dangers drivers face on the road itself? We need our drivers safe. That is easier said than done when you’re hauling 45,000 pounds or more during rush hour in Chicago, in the dark of night around sharp corners, or in frigid conditions while snow starts to accumulate. That is more than most of us would be willing to put on the line. It takes a lot of skill to navigate the roads in a truck.

Showing Appreciation

Long story short, drivers do more for us in our everyday life than what is typically recognized. From keeping gas in the stations to apples in the store, they keep us connected to the goods we cannot live without – often at a cost to their personal lives. With that in mind, let’s remember to thank our hardworking truck drivers during National Driver Appreciation Week, and every day that follows. They truly deserve respect and appreciation for the work they do to keep our country moving.

Together, we can simplify logistics. Contact us today for a free consultation. Give us a call at 844.713.6723 or email us at inquiry@agforcets.com.

 

What’s Driving the Trucker Shortage?

The U.S. trucking industry is short of drivers—about 50,000 short, according to an October 2017 estimate from the American Trucking Associations (ATA). The developing driver drought is a critical issue that has captured the attention of the trucking world: In an annual survey conducted by the American Transportation Research Institute, driver shortage ranked first among industry concerns.

A number of factors are contributing to the shortage, ranging from economic trends to demographic and regulatory shifts to the rigors of the job:

  • Freight volumes are on the rise, thanks to healthy commerce and a strengthening economy.
  • The average driver age for commercial truck drivers in the U.S. is 55, and 25 percent of current drivers near retirement age.
  • The trucking industry is having trouble attracting younger people to the profession. One issue is that prospective drivers must be 21 years old to hold an interstate commercial driver’s license. That typically means three years after high school, by which point many potential candidates have pursued jobs in other sectors.
  • A range of federal regulations—most recently the Elog mandate put in place in April—require truckers to track the time they work, which can impact productivity, and thus pay.
  • The long hours and requirements of the job can limit its appeal. Most drivers—especially newer ones—are on the road for extended periods of time, returning home only a few times a month. Adapting to life on the road (showering at rest stops, limited dietary choices, safety issues, and more) can make the job less appealing to some.
  • Drivers must pass a DOT (Department of Transportation) physical at least every two years. Some with specific health issues must do this annually. A lot of times the driver must pay for the physical out of their own pocket.
  • Sleep apnea and diabetes can disqualify a driver if certain criteria are not met.
  • Carriers cannot find drivers that can pass the required drug test at hire and then randomly throughout their employment.

The ATA estimates that because of industry growth and retirements, the trucking sector will need to recruit nearly 100,000 new drivers every year to keep up with the demand for drivers. The shortage is particularly acute in the long-haul, over-the-road truckload segment.

There are steps the trucking industry can take to help address the need for drivers:

  • Try to expand the demographic. For example, women currently make up only 6 percent of the truck drivers. Some observers see veterans seeking career transition after military service as another good potential source of prospective truckers.
  • Continue to boost driver wages. The national median for truck driver pay is $53,000, which represents a $7,000 increase from the previous year. For private fleet drivers, the pay increase is up $13,000.
  • Decrease time on the road. Trucking companies can address lifestyle issues of the profession by offering route options that are closer to drivers’ homes, reducing the long-haul lifestyle aspects of the job.

The truck driver shortage affects the entire economy and could have a significant impact on supplier costs and shipping delays. Agforce Transport Services monitors and tracks trucking industry developments like the driver shortage to provide informed consultation to customers.

Agforce specializes in customized transportation solutions for our customers’ specific business requirements. To learn more about how we can help address your company’s needs, contact us today for a free consultation. Give us a call at 844-713-6723 or email us at inquiry@agforcets.com.