Along with being compensated with good pay and benefits, it’s no secret that truck drivers place a premium on being offered more home time as well as more predictable scheduling by fleets.

“Even as carriers and drivers adapt to the changes in hours-of-service (HOS) rules [that went into effect last week], getting drivers home more often remains a major recruiting tool for fleets,” David Heller, director of safety & policy for the Truckload Carriers Assn. told FleetOwner.

“While there will always be driving jobs with less home time than others,” he continued, “trucking is flexible enough that there are positions for those drivers who want more home time, such as with regional or dedicated operations.”

According to Lana Batts, partner of consultancy Transport Capital Partners LLC, until driver pay is raised high enough to make truck driving highly attractive to more individuals, the “only practical approach [to the driver shortage] is to change the nature of the job as much as possible, such as by moving more freight intermodally so truckers will be mostly handling the drayage.”

Batts told FleetOwner that many carriers are working to figure out the best way to do this. She cited the hub-and-spoke operation put in place by J.B. Hunt and the relay-type system deployed by Werner Enterprises as good examples, noting that there “must be a lot of activity in the lanes for this to work.

“Where the lowest turnover in truckload is found is in the regional operations that can get drivers home as they prefer— weekly and predictably,” Batts added. “What it comes down to, then, is that carriers must pay drivers more or get them home more often”

More home time-- as well as a stable schedule and predictable pay-- are key to attracting job candidates looking for professional driving careers, according to Ryder System, Inc. The company employs some 6,000 drivers in the U.S. and Canada, with a majority of those positions within its Ryder Dedicated business unit.

According to John Sonia, senior vp of Ryder Dedicated, the operation helps balance dynamic routes with more home time by scheduling its deliveries regionally, so that its drivers return to a home base on a daily or weekly basis. He said  this model helps to provide drivers with more predictable schedules and compensation “in addition to the rewarding experience of being part of a dedicated team serving one customer.”

"Ryder Dedicated matches private fleets with professional drivers who can manage their specialized equipment and product handling needs as well as complex routes and rigorous service commitments," said Sonia.

"Because our dedicated model enables us to offer the home time, stability, and safety culture that drivers are looking for, we recruit and retain the best talent,” he continued.  “This, in turn, allows us to support our customers and other private fleets who are struggling with their own driver staffing challenges. Ryder Dedicated enables customers to be nimble, run lean and stay safe."

Ryder's "Promise to Our Drivers" mission statement states the company's commitment to strive to: “treat each driver with respect; provide predictable and fair pay; provide clean, safe and reliable equipment; provide work-life balance by being home most nights; and provide drivers with a say in their work assignments.”

Delivering on that promise helps the company to achieve one of the best driver-retention rates in the industry, with annual turnover that’s one-fifth of what's typical for a long-haul trucking company, according to Sonia.

In addition, Ryder continues to recruit drivers with military experience. The company's military-recruiting website enables veterans to easily match their military skills with open positions at Ryder.

For example, a military veteran with experience as a Motor Transport Operator can enter his or her "88M" Military Occupation Code to find open truck-driving jobs at the company. Ryder has also become a corporate member of the Women in Trucking Assn. to help connect company recruiters with women interested in truck-driving careers.

To be eligible to drive for Ryder, candidates are required to have a Commercial Driver’s License and an outstanding safe driving record. Interested candidates can visit Ryder's Online Career Center or www.drive4ryder.com.