2014 US Trucking News – US Trucking Companies Facing Labor Shortage
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, trucking companies have employed around 40,000 workers over the past 12 months. But the bigger companies are still hiring insistently.
Werner Enterprise (WERN) has offered a $5,000 sign-on bonus for certain jobs, and Swift Transportation (SWFT) is trying to reel in veterans from the military to giving them free tuition for their driving schools.
A senior analyst with the Delcan Corporation, Roz Wilson, has projected that trucking companies have a scarcity of around 30,000 workers. Lessening the amount of hours could create a need for 100,000 more truck drivers.
Income for long-haul truck drivers has been dramatic, with an average of about 98% in 2012. Wilson says that some are picking jobs with a higher pay in construction as well as the shale oil industry, while the others are simply retiring. She also says that companies cannot employ new workers quick enough to make up for this mass departure of employees.
However, safety advocates have argued that it’s not the limitations, but the deprived working conditions which are the causes for the shortage of labor.
John Lannen, who is the executive director of the Truck Safety Coalition, says that drivers are often overworked, underpaid, and have a lot of safety and health risks. Since a lot of these people are unemployed, he wonders why they are not able to employ and keep certain people.
The Truck Safety Coalition also wants their drivers to be prohibited from driving on the road for more than 10 hours each day, but the new rule allows for up to 11 hours a day, as long as it does not exceed 70 hours in one week. This group has also campaigned for drivers to receive their salaries by the hour, instead of the number of miles that they drive, or the number of deliveries that they make.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average pay for a tractor-trailer truck driver is around $38,000 annually. Lannen says that it was obvious that they want these truck drivers to be safe and get rewarded in a much better way. He believes that this will be good for everyone.
Crashes that involve large trucks have also been lessening since the 1970s. Around 3,800 people lost their lives, and 88,000 people sustained injuries in crashes that involved large trucks in 2011, according to the Department of Transportation figures.
But still, neither the industries, nor the safety advocates, are satisfied with these new rules.
The Truck Safety Coalition also believes that these new rules are too lenient, while the Truckload Carriers Association says that these rules will cause a major blow in their business. The two sides have even filed lawsuits in an appeals court in Washington, focusing on changing the new law.
David Heller, the director of safety and policy for the Truckload Carriers Association, has assured that nobody is satisfied with these regulations. They are still hoping for the courts to rule against the government.
FMCSA rules prevent driving a property-carrying CMV for more than 11 hours, or to get behind the wheel after having been on duty for 14 hours. This 3-hour difference between the driving limit of 11 hours and the 14-hour on duty limit provides truck drivers with the chance to take care of their non-driving working obligations such as unloading and loading cargo, fueling their vehicles, and getting the vehicles inspected, as well as non-working duties such as sleep or meal breaks. And after they have finished an 11 to 14-hour on-duty period, these drivers must be given 10-hours off duty.
The FMCSA rules also prevent drivers from operating CMVs after having been on-duty for 60 hours in a week (if the motor carrier does not operate CMVs each day of the week), or after having been on-duty for 70 hours in 8 consecutive days (if the motor carrier operates CMVs each day of the week).
For example, after getting over 70 hours of driving and on-duty time in a span of 8 days, a driver’s daily driving limit may be deducted. A driver may be permitted to take 34 hours off duty to renew the weekly total back to zero, which is also known as a ’34-hour restart’.
Long-haul drivers are usually paid by the mile, and not by the hour. Truck drivers, according to the law, are not allowed to get an overtime pay for hours worked, in excess of the normal 40-hour work week. Certain drivers may also choose to infringe the hours of service (HOS) in order to gain more money. Being paid by the mile, any work performed that is not real driving does not have any value to the truck driver, giving encouragement to rig the number of hours that are spent doing non-driving activities. Drivers who forge their log books often under-report their non-driving duties, such as the time it takes to load and unload, which they are not paid for, and under-report their time of driving, or the amount of miles that they’ve driven.
A lot of drivers who receive mileage pay are not paid the amount of logged miles or actual miles. Instead, these motor carriers use computer mapping software, such as PC Miler, or published mileage guides such as Rand McNally Household Goods Carriers’ Bureau Mileage Guide. Parents Against Tired Truckers (PATT) has suggested that handing out a salary to all drivers with every hour would lessen the amount of HOS violations by getting rid of the encouragement to cheat the system, by driving more miles than are being logged. According to the surveys done by the OOIDA, it is reported that 80% of the drivers are not given any payment for waiting times while loading and unloading, and a lot of those drivers log those times as off-duty. These same drivers have also reported that they would log these times as on-duty if only they were paid logically for such delays.