The ongoing shortage of truck drivers is an issue that’s been hotly debated within trucking’s ranks for time out of mind, encompassing everything from home time and pay to quality of equipment and length of haul.
Yet it’s also an issue that’s now garnering wider media attention as carriers continue to find it difficult to recruit and retain drivers even in the face of a national 8.2% unemployment rate – and the expectation is that this challenge won’t abate anytime soon.
Indeed, according to the Minnesota Trucking Association (MTA), the truck driver population is growing less than 1% each year even as demand for professional drivers continues to increase exponentially.
However, the MTA is initiating a new tactic in the battle to fill out the industry’s driver ranks: addressing what I’ll call the “coolness factor.”
[Though this is a couple of years old, the Week in the Life series on YouTube crafted by “Trucker Mike” offered an interesting take on piloting big rigs for a living.]
The group just launched a very unusual effort, dubbed the "What Would Be COOL About Being a Truck Driver?" video contest, to get current drivers – in the MTA’s words – “to take a seat in the director's chair and produce a short video describing what YOU think would be the coolest things about being a professional truck driver.”
While there’s a $1,000 grand prize at stake here for the winning video (and you can get more details about it on the MTA’s Facebook campaign page at http://www.mntruck.org) the more interesting side to this novel program is what perspectives will come forth from drivers about their oft times demanding, difficult and yes dangerous job.
I myself hear a lot about “the bad” in the life of a driver – the time spent away from home, the rudeness of dockworkers, four wheelers and (yes) fellow drivers, the often heavy-hand of law enforcement, etc. So I’m particularly interested in hearing (and seeing!) from drivers what is “cool” about their chosen vocation.
[For example, I’ve always been fascinated by the insights shared below by veteran Schneider National driver Larry Wright.]
Back to the MTA’s “cool” program: video submissions will be accepted until July 31, so get those cameras rolling.