As the world moves on each year the life of a professional truck driver is constantly in a flux. There are new regulations, undetermined amount of freight, fuel prices that bounce faster than a bouncing ball and wages that seem questionable at times. However the industry goes on and the truck driver prevails. The question is, is that enough? There is no doubt the industry is changing with technology and safety being the front runners, but there is one factor that is going down, the professionalism of drivers. Driver professionalism can be learned to a certain point through training, but when it comes right down to it it is more about attitude and that comes from within. As the demographics for the industry change the professional drivers that were brought into the business by their relatives and were taught about the industry with passion are now retiring. There is a new demographic entering the industry, one that doesn’t have the same passion for the trucking industry that we have once known.
It may seem hard, some reports might paint a dismal picture of the industry, but we need that passion back. The industry will always be there, transportation isn’t going away soon, the mode of travel may change but in the end transportation will remain the key way of bringing products to the public. As an industry we have been looking outside for help with the industry, looking for other ways to bump up our injured industry. We have looked to government, we have looked to schools and technology, but in the end I believe we have to look inside our own people. Outsiders can’t help us because they don’t understand us. As I talk to outside agencies about the trucking industry there is a big misconception to the type of job a truck driver does and the way they are compensated. Contrary to belief there are great companies out there, ones that pay well, ones that have decent equipment, ones that have pride in what they do. Where I hear the grumblings are from inside certain operations themselves. Dispatchers against drivers, Owner Operators against drivers, management against drivers. The turmoil is coming from within.
So how do we fix our flailing industry, how do we make it better to attract the people we want in the industry. We start from the heart of the industry, we start with the passion. I talk with many companies in this industry and the one element I don’t see people teaching is leadership. There are safety meetings, safety talks, company meetings, but no leadership meetings. The people who started this industry early on didn’t start because of the money, they started because of the passion. They started because of their love of the road, the freedom from the office. Why do you think that generations have held positions in the transportation industry. Do you think if it was that bad that many of our former leaders would have let their sons and daughters join such an industry. I agree that the industry has changed a great deal from those early days. It will continue to change because the industry is looking for solutions and as long as you are looking for solutions it brings change.
If this industry is to survive it needs to change, if it is to bring new people into the folds it needs to change, If you want the industry for the future things need to change. Be the first to lead that change, change always starts from within. That change starts with you!
About the Author
Bruce Outridge has been in the transportation industry for over 30 years and helps new drivers have successful careers through career guidance and business advice. he is the author of the books Driven to Drive and Running by the Mile. To learn more about Bruce and his work visit his website at www.outridgeenterprises.ca