A New York Trucking Industry expert says that a change in mindset may be the only strategy for righting the ‘driver shortage’ exacerbated by the pandemic.
President of the Trucking Association of New York, Kendra Hems, says that the truck driver shortage was looming prior to the pandemic and has only been worsened by COVID19, but that COVID is not the main thing keeping people from entering the industry – public perception is.
Hems says that recruiting new, younger drivers to replace those going into retirement has been a challenge because of the way truck driving is viewed. The job is hard, drivers are underappreciated, the hours are long, but the position is essential to the country, and that’s how Hems wants younger drivers to think of it.
Hems wants new, younger drivers to think about truck driving as it is -a critical component of the supply chain, and a position with room for professional growth outside of driving alone. She believes that only a change in mindset and public perception will help recruit new and younger drivers, and that TANY has been working on initiatives to try to change this perception.
Hems also points out that the New York State Legislature recently approved a bill that would allow 18-20 year-olds to get a CDL permit and begin training. The bill is now waiting to be signed by the governor.