Truck drive touching truck tire

How the Truck Driver’s Job Will Change Over the Next Decade

We’ve been thinking a lot about change during these unusual times. We’ve also been thinking a lot—as always— about our customers and the truck drivers that keep America up and running. The COVID-19 pandemic has reminded the world of something we’ve known for a long time here at Nextran Truck Centers: how truly essential the trucking industry and its drivers are to our daily lives.

Truck drivers, like most working adults, will see their jobs evolve over time. However, unlike most working adults, truck drivers have been hearing predictions about their jobs becoming obsolete since they began their careers. Fortunately, it doesn’t look like that’s happening any time soon. 

In fact, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the estimated job growth for truck drivers is 5% from 2018 to 2028. That translates to nearly 100,000 new jobs and is on par with the average overall American job outlook.

Employers Can’t Hire Truck Drivers Fast Enough

The trucking business is booming. Tons of freight, literally, is scheduled to be transported thousands of miles right this second. And the rise of online shopping, which is only being accelerated by the current global health crisis, is creating more demand for truck drivers in all manner of industries.

But the supply of drivers has not kept up with demand. There’s a shortage of truck drivers in this country and beyond, and some of the best trucking companies to work for are posting jobs daily that will go unfilled. For these reasons and more, it doesn’t seem like many truck driver jobs will be lost because of a lack of demand in the coming decades.

Self-Driving Trucks Aren’t Actually Self-Driving

There may come a day when cars and trucks are fully automated to the point where they require no human interaction whatsoever, but we are nowhere near that point. The first self-driving trucks and cars, those that will still require a human to be in the driver’s seat, will be incredibly expensive at first. So, you can imagine how expensive the first fully automated trucks will be generations from now. 

But the biggest reason that truck driver’s jobs are safe over the next few decades is that truck drivers do a lot more than drive trucks. They perform all kinds of tasks, ranging from handling invoicing to maintaining client relationships. They monitor their vehicles and secure cargo. They maintain logs and change tires.They are often responsible for coming up with creative workarounds and acting as a customer service representative. While there are some technologies that assist in loading, their main function is to ease the driver’s physical burden, not replace the loader entirely.

If widespread, practical self-driving technology is still a long way off, just imagine how long it will be before we are able to pull off fully automated tire changes in the middle of nowhere. Companies want a truck driver behind the wheel 10 out of 10 times.

We Don’t Yet Have the Legal or Safety Regulations in Place to Adopt Automation

Other barriers we won’t clear any time soon include the safety protocols and legal regulations that will have to be put in place to allow these automated vehicles to hit the streets in actual communities. Go ahead and also factor in the rounds and rounds of successful safety tests that will need to be performed flawlessly and then replicated. 

The fact is that truck drivers are experiencing high demand for their services and are working in a career with healthy projected job growth for the foreseeable future. There are many reasons for that, but the main one is simple and straightforward: we need truck drivers.

Contact Nextran Truck Centers

We aren’t just your local Volvo Truck dealer or your local Mack Trucks dealer. We’re in this partnership for the long haul, and we’ll go the extra mile to keep you moving forward. To learn more about maximizing your fleet’s resources with brands like Ford, Volvo, Mack Trucks or Isuzu, contact Nextran Truck Centers. With 17 locations across Florida, Georgia and Alabama, we’re here for all your trucking, parts and service needs.

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