Tuesday, June 15, 2021

HGV Driver Shortage is Hitting Road Haulage Communities on Both Sides of the Atlantic

US Program Shows the Way to Get Youngsters Involved
Shipping News Feature

US – It is perhaps time for more road haulage and logistics interests in the UK and across Europe to take a look at an initiative across the Atlantic which is making a bid to end a crisis afflicting all communities – the chronic HGV driver shortage.

The misconceptions which surround what is now a properly professional occupation survive apparently on both sides of the Pond and in the US the Workforce Heroes program concluded a week-long tour of high schools in Northwest Iowa, teaching safe driving skills and raising awareness about job opportunities available in the trucking industry.

America needs to hire an estimated 1.1 million drivers in the next decade to combat the double whammy of retirees and expanding demand. Despite six states boasting driving as the most common occupation, in 2018 there were 60,800 too few professional drivers available. Heavy engineering skills are also in demand to work on the country’s plethora of heavy goods vehicles.

Workforce Heroes is a program run by the American Trucking Associations (ATA) and the latest venture educated students from seven different area high schools about the variety of career paths that can be found in trucking. Students took home a copy of the Workforce Heroes pamphlet to learn more about a day in the life of a professional truck driver, starting salary, CDL requirements and more, as Workforce Heroes professional truck driver Randall Luschen of Weinrich Truck Line, Inc. explained:

“Through the pandemic, we found different ways to get out and educate our communities. The technology we have today allowed us to keep sharing our message and continue representing the best this industry has to offer. The goal of our demonstration is to educate current and future drivers on how to safely drive alongside trucks. At the end of the day, we want everyone to get home safe.”

The tour included safety demonstrations using ATA’s Workforce Heroes Mack Anthem High Rise Sleeper and classroom segments that showed the Share the Road Instructional Video. Workforce Heroes professional truck drivers, with millions of accident-free miles, walked students through the blind spots of commercial vehicles and discussed the dangers of distracted driving.

The drivers emphasised long stopping distances of trucks and stressed the importance of maintaining safe distances during winter months when road conditions are less than ideal. Students were able to climb into the driver’s seat of a truck to experience first hand what a professional truck driver can and cannot see while operating a large commercial vehicle.

The Workforce Heroes program is sponsored by Mack Trucks and Utility Trailers and supported by OmniTracs and TA-Petro and it was left to Workforce Heroes professional truck driver Bill McNamee of Carbon Express, Inc.to have the last word as the successful tour concluded:

“More and more of our professional drivers are heading into retirement, which is why we are here to explain the career opportunities in the trucking industry. A career as a professional truck driver is extremely rewarding as it allows you to travel all over the country and meet so many different people. We need the younger generation to join our industry so that we can keep moving America forward.”