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Survey: Poor Health Contributing to Driver Shortage

A recent survey of 3,500 human resources, recruiting, security, and management professionals found that “health issues” is a major reason truck drivers leave the industry, with 41% saying they’re quitting the profession to spend more time at home.

The survey, by HireRight  noted that transportation companies are recognizing the importance of truck driver health and are doing more to address the issue.

“We’re finding that wellness programs are becoming a popular retention tactic because of the median age of the driver workforce and the physical demands of the job, as it can be difficult to get proper rest, eat healthy and exercise while on the road,” Kent Ferguson, director of transportation for HireRight, told Fleet Owner.

“It’s no surprise that living a healthier lifestyle can improve one’s quality of life, and the industry is realizing these kinds of wellness programs are effective methods to boost driver’s overall health and well-being, which ultimately helps retain them,” Ferguson added. “Additionally, the programs are also resonating with drivers because it shows them the companies they’re employed by have the workers’ best interests in mind and are thinking about their quality of life – not just getting the job done.”

Findings HireRight’s 2016 Transportation Spotlight report include:

  • With the driver shortage expected to worsen this year, 59% of respondents reported finding, retaining and developing talent has become a top business challenge.
  • Where “wellness programs” are concerned, some 35% of respondents offer safety and accident prevention programs, 21% offer free immunization/flu shots and 18% offer smoking cessation programs.
  • Yet 45% of respondents said they do not offer a wellness program at all.
  • Some 31% of respondents indicated a focus on dedicated operations for more home time.
  • Another strategy being implemented to help drivers spend more time at home is load swapping which shortens the periods of time they spend on the road, Ferguson noted.
  • Other tactics being used to attract and retain drivers are increased pay (51%), upgraded equipment (49%) and recognition/rewards programs (41%).
  • Non-monetary benefits are also gaining popularity with 57% investing in driver appreciation events and 35% providing flexible work arrangements – with 10% allowing their drivers to earn bankable home days
  • To improve the “driver on-boarding” process, some 34% of respondents said they are creating longer orientation/training periods, with 32% appointing a driver liaison/mentor for their new drivers.

“While increasing pay certainly helps to incentivize drivers to continue working, [tactics] such as driver appreciation events are also going a long way with regard to boosting morale,” Ferguson noted. “When drivers feel that the commitment they’ve made to this business is appreciated, they’re more motivated to stay on board.”

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