The shortage of qualified drivers has been a challenge for trucking companies in recent years. The problem continues to grow as the current workforce of long-haul and regional drivers age and retire with fewer recruits coming up to replace them. And now, with oil prices and production starting to climb again, the shortage is likely to hit the oil and gas industry hard, unless companies find ways to attract and incentivize a new generation of drivers.
A recent report from the American Trucking Associations indicates that the truck driver shortage will hit a historic high of over 80,000 drivers in 2022 and at current trends the shortage could surpass 160,000 by 2030. The study estimates that the industry will need to recruit nearly 1,000,000 new drivers over the next decade to replace retiring drivers, drivers who leave voluntarily or involuntarily as well as to accommodate expected industry growth.¹
One approach trucking firms can take to attract the next generation of drivers is to equip their fleets with networked communications systems and better in-cab technology to facilitate both work and personal needs. The advent of 5G will enable best in class networked communications, so tablets, smartphones, OBCs, Fleet management systems and in-cab mobile printing will enable a better driver experience.
5 ways cool mobile technologies are engaging a new generation of drivers:
Networked wireless systems provide truck drivers with a convenient in-cab office, complete with real-time interactive communications and speedy, on-demand printing. This is especially critical in remote oil and gas regions, where terrain can be rough and worksites few and far between. A well-equipped in-cab office means fewer stops and interruptions on the road, reduced administrative tasks and, no more waiting lines at truck stops. Simple in-cab technologies are helping drivers focus on making their mileage goals safely and calmly.
Route software is designed to help drivers avoid traffic jams, delays and deliver loads on time, while streamlining the supply chain process from plant to worksite. It offers real-time, two-way information flow to coordinate loading and delivery times and avoid excessive waiting and idling time at customer sites. Our industry customers report that deployment of mobile technology systems, coupled with our compact and reliable mobile printers, are key drivers in helping drivers do their jobs faster and more efficiently.
With the deadline for new FMCSA rules now taking effect, commercial carriers and their drivers will be mandated to employ an electronic logging device (ELD) which, among other things, tracks a driver’s Hours of Service (HOS) and Record of Duty Status (RDS). With onboard mobile technology and mobile printers in place, presenting this e-log information upon request to a law enforcement officer or other official is a breeze. No muss, no fuss ‒ the driver can just use laptop, tablet or smartphone and in-cab wireless printer to create and print a certified HOS or RDS report, as well as any other documents needed during their run, including permits, bills of lading, manifest documents, incident reports, regulatory forms, delivery receipts, labels, and more.
Whether long-haul, regional or local, truck drivers appreciate the freedom and flexibility of having high-speed, high-quality printing capabilities at their side. Brother offers a comprehensive array of next-generation mobile printers with features and functionality to meet the diverse needs of these companies. Our compact, lightweight RuggedJet
series of thermal mobile printers are designed to automate printing of a wide range of documents. Affordable, reliable and easy to use, Brother’s handheld mobile printers offer multiple connectivity options, fast connectivity, and interoperability with all major technology platforms and operating systems. Plus, they are backed by Brother’s exclusive warranties.
It’s clear that advanced mobile technology and mobile printing are changing the face of the truck transport and delivery industry, across the continent and even across our neighborhoods. Mobile technology solution developers and product partners have made great strides in providing a wide range of options that enable trucking businesses of every size and scope to find and implement the innovative solutions they need to help increase operational efficiency and productivity, lower costs, boost driver safety and job satisfaction, and improve customer service ‒ all in the quest for higher profitability and more competitive business performance. It’s well recognized that successful companies find it easier to attract new workers…and mobile technology is certainly a contributor in helping resolve the driver shortage.
1Driver Shortage Update 2021, American Trucking Associations. ATA is the largest national trade association for the trucking industry.