Being in the trucking industry, it’s no secret that there’s a serious shortage of truck drivers throughout the United States. In fact, the American Truck Driving Association projects a shortage of nearly 240,000 drivers by 2022, according to a recent article.
240,000 drivers, we’ll let that sink in because that’s a LOT of jobs to fill.
Currently, the driver shortage is between 35,000 and 40,000 jobs, which is still a significant shortage of drivers. And it’s not just the trucking industry that’s suffering. Trucks are a critical element to the supply chain, with a significant amount of shipping freight along our nation’s highways.
In order to keep up with the growing demand for shipping, trucking companies will have to recruit 100,000 drivers per year to keep pace.
So what are we to do? How are we (trucking companies) going to find and recruit enough drivers to fill these positions?
Well, Congress has an idea; one that certainly has its advantages and disadvantages. Here’s what Congress is proposing: allowing 18-year olds to get behind the wheel of the big rigs that transport freight across the U.S.’ interstates and highways. Currently, in order to obtain a trucking license, drivers must be 21 years old.
While there are several different restrictions proposed in the bill, one of the main concerns seems to be the fact that, “in 2013, all drivers ages 18-20 had a fatal crash involvement rate, per 100,000 licensed drivers, that was 66 percent higher than drivers who were age 21 years or older, according to the Transportation Department’s Fatality Analysis Reporting System.”
While nothing has been decided on this topic as of yet, it’s surely a topic that’s bound to draw some attention before a decision is made. What do you think: should 18-year olds be able to get behind the wheel of a big rig? Share your thoughts in the comments below.