In its 2017 report, The American Trucking Association released the note that the trucking industry needs to hire almost 900,000 new drivers to meet the rising demands. Commercial truck drivers are aging, with an average age in the mid-50s. And without young people entering this career path on a steady basis, that average age is just going up.
One of the major roadblocks that may be stopping young people from the career of truck driving is the age restrictions. You need to be at least 21 to cross state lines. This poses a significant problem in the millennial population. If they have to wait until they are 21 to start a trucking career, it is very likely they will find some other path after high school from ages 18 to 20 and not return.
Another roadblock is the special kind of license (CDL) that is required. As anyone who has this license knows, this is a big investment of time and money. Each state has different requirements, however most all will involve a written application, maintaining a learner’s permit and passing a skills test.
According to a Plantinum Drivers Inc. article published earlier this year, experts are also speculating that Millennials may have the impression that truck driving is a dead-end career due to the development of autonomous vehicles. Although self-driving vehicles will definitely impact the industry, many predict that it won’t destroy the need for truckers but will instead make the trucking lifestyle easier on the drivers. For safety reasons, truck drivers will be required in these vehicles; they just won’t be doing the same driving tasks as we are all used to.
The bottom line is that truck driving is still a great career choice which offers stability, competitive salaries, full pensions, retirement plans and other perks. The challenge is communicating this to attract the younger population to fill the need.