Happy Thanksgiving to America's Truck DriversWritten by Neal Willis
It’s estimated by the American Trucking Association that by the end of the year we’ll be roughly 48,000 truck drivers short of demand. There are many contributing factors to the driver shortage, including lifestyle, government regulations and lower than average wages, among others, which seemingly makes for a multifaceted solution to the issue. Increasing driver pay is undeniably a part of the solution, but much is up for debate beyond that. Approximately 95,000 drivers are lost to retirement every year and increasing government regulations are pushing more and more to retire early, so better driver recruitment and retention efforts are needed.
Another big issue at the heart of the driver shortage is a truck driver’s lifestyle. Being a truck driver is not an easy or glorious job. Truckers live a good portion of their life out on the road away from their families. They work long and odd hours and miss out on their children growing up because they aren’t home much. Sitting behind a wheel all day is not conducive to the healthiest lifestyle, and it’s most certainly not good for someone’s back. Often times truckers eat their meals from gas stations and fast food chains. They don’t always have the luxury of being able to take a bath or shower in their own homes. Instead, they often shower at rest areas and truck stops across the country.
Rather than being home with their friends, family and loved ones, many drivers will be out on the road over the course of the holiday season delivering the deals we’re so anxiously waiting to purchase to the docks of our favorite retailers. As we’re spending time with our children who are home for school break, truck drivers across the country can only hope to talk to theirs over a phone, because they’re hundreds, maybe even thousands, of miles away working.
There's no doubt that as many of us are eating our Thanksgiving meals and spending time with our family and loved ones, drivers across the country are sacrificing time with theirs in order to keep us happy. On Thanksgiving Day, it’s almost certain there will be a driver out there who is unable to make it home to his or her family for the Thanksgiving meal because they are broken down somewhere on the side of a road. We should be thankful for those drivers and not forget the sacrifices they make for us day in and day out.
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