The old dog takes in the long view.

Old Dogs and Great Value

Our industry seems to have a problem raising pups. We have seen the articles on the driver shortage. The numbers say that the average over the road drivng career lasts just 3.2 years. The industry has a turnover rate that hovers around 100%. I think that I see the problem. We hire young pups. They don't last. 

The solution might be to start with older dogs. Occasionally, I visit the humane society. Sometimes we bring them donations. People seem drawn to the puppies. They are cute. People believe that they can mold them and train them. They will last a long time. Me? I am drawn to the adult dogs. Jack was an adult when we found him at the humane society. We had him about 3 times as long as the average driving career. He already had an idea of what he was doing. He was house broken. He knew the basic commands of sit - stay - come.

I am not telling the industry to stop trying to attract younger drivers. I am suggesting they look at older ones. Some drivers start young and make a career out of driving. Unfortunately, they are the exception. Maybe we should try to attract people in their 40s, 50s and even their 60s. I was 29 when I went to driving school. The world had already taught me a few lessons. I didn't believe everything they told me. My eyes were wide open.

Retention and life time careers should be the ideal business model. I see small and midsize companies who take care of their drivers. They fill them full of pie in the recuiting process. They assign them older drivers to mentor them. The pay packages come with health and retirement benefits. They set out to keep them for decades - not months.

Experience not just behind the wheel, but life in general is an asset. Wtih age comes wisdom. Older people can see the forest for the trees. We can take the long view. We aren't going to be intimidated into mistakes. We will be less likely to speed through a construction zone because our ELDs are ticking. Either we are less likely to put ourselves in that situation, or we will add an explanation to our logs if we get stuck and go over our HOS. Experience teaches us about risks and rewards. A company's CSA score can benefit from the experience of their drivers, and our workplace may just get a little safer.

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Jeff Clark

Jeff Clark of Kewaunee, WI has been driving a truck for 24 years. He has been an owner operator for 11 years.

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