Trucking is important to American. As the saying goes, without trucks, America stops. Since the beginning of the pandemic, Americans have felt a loss in their services. Stores have empty shelves, products and services are on hold, all of this until a vague future date. The media blames a trucker shortage. Currently, President Biden and Vice President Harris are teaming up to change the so-called trucking problem. But does the supply chain problem belong to truckers?
What Does Biden Want To Implement?
Biden wants to reduce barriers to drivers getting their CDLs. He wants to introduce a 90 day national effort to recruit new drivers. Additionally, he wants to reach out to enlist veterans. And he wants to change the image of truck drivers, support them.
In the next sixty days, he wants to work with FMCSA (Federal Motor Carrier Motor Carrier Safety Administration) to allow drivers between ages 18-21 to drive commercial vehicles across the country. Historically, this has not been implemented because of the higher propensity to accidents in this age bracket. Nonetheless, he plans on placing the new driver with older, more experienced drivers.
Biden is also working with DOT( Department of Transportation) persons to develop new programs with a quick start toolkit for new drivers. A complete list from the White House can be found here.
Is This The Problem?
Drivers are wondering if a truck driver shortage is truly the supply chain problem. Drivers spend only about 40% of their available work time driving . The rest is spent waiting at shippers and receivers, not allowing for weather delays. If drivers are waiting hours for a product to get loaded on the trailer, then perhaps it is not his fault that items are not in stock at the store. The shortage comes before he gets the items.
Warehouses are shut down or running at partial capacity. Fields have loss of laborers. While coastal states continue to mandate vaccines and testing to residents who do not want them, and while states pay people more to stay at home than what they would make in the workforce, people do not return to the pre-pandemic workforce. Merchandise is not manufactured, grown, packaged, or shipped. If there were truly a trucker shortage, trucking dispatchers would be trying to rush drivers along, keep them moving because more freight needs to be moved. Sadly, that is not the case. Talking with truck drivers from across the country in separate companies, too many of them are sitting around waiting on loads. They are given more than ample time for deliveries, often waiting an extra day before reloading.
President Biden means well and is trying to help the American citizen. But more drivers will only cause the drivers to wait even longer for a load. Perhaps, loosening the strings of governmental mandates and funding to allow people to return to work peaceably would be a more accurate solution.