It is common to hear people refer to the trucking industry as the “backbone of the US economy”. However, I think it is more like the cardiovascular system of the US economy.
Like the cardiovascular systems in humans, the trucking industry keeps the country moving. We are the industry responsible for transporting vital resources to the destinations required.
If the trucking industry is the cardiovascular system, then America’s economy is suffering from heart disease.
The current hiring environment for carriers is a disaster fueled by a shortage of talent and issues with retention. Fixing the truck driver shortage and retention issues for carriers will improve their bottom line and restore health to the cardiovascular system of the US economy.
One significant factor contributing to the retention problem is the poor health of truck drivers. In this blog post, we will explore the link between truck driver health and retention for carriers, and discuss the solutions to improve driver health.
- Truck Driver Health Issues
- The Importance of Truck Driver Health
- The Connection Between Truck Driver Health and Retention
- Solutions for Carriers
Truck Driver Health Issues
Being healthy and being a truck driver is a challenging task. Sitting for extended periods, unhealthy food options at truck stops, smoking, and the stress of being away from home contribute to making truck drivers one of the least healthy populations in our country.
Truck driver health is such a concern that the CDC has dedicated an entire page to the problem.
Obesity, diabetes, sleep apnea, heart disease, and other health conditions are statistically higher among the driver population.
Because of the higher rates of these health conditions, the average life expectancy of a trucker is 61 years old.
Physical health is not the only challenge that drivers face. Isolation, stress, and road dangers all take a serious toll on truckers’ mental health.
The Importance of Truck Driver Health
Poor health can impact driver safety, reduce productivity, and increase healthcare costs for carriers.
Drivers who are tired and unhealthy are more likely to make mistakes on the road, which can lead to accidents and traffic violations. This can be costly for carriers, both in terms of fines and increased insurance premiums.
A study by the American Transportation Research Institute found that drivers who participated in health and wellness programs had 50% lower healthcare costs than drivers who did not participate.
The Connection Between Truck Driver Health and Retention
Driver health is a critical factor that impacts retention for carriers. Drivers who suffer from health issues and stress are more likely to leave their jobs, leading to higher turnover rates and increased costs for carriers.
The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) conducted a study on truck driver health and safety, which found that drivers with three or more chronic health conditions had a turnover rate of 80%, compared to an overall turnover rate of 64%.
Plus, drivers who are tired and unhealthy are more likely to make mistakes on the road, which can also damage the carrier’s reputation and make it harder to attract and retain drivers in the future.
Schneider National has implemented a comprehensive health and wellness program for its drivers. According to Schneider, their health program improved driver retention by helping their drivers feel better on the road, improving driver performance, promoting a positive company culture, and promoting a positive company culture.
Solutions for Carriers
Investing in driver health is a win-win for carriers and drivers.
Improved driver health can result in increased safety and productivity, reduced healthcare costs, and improved driver satisfaction and retention.
Carriers can implement various solutions to improve driver health, such as health and wellness programs, access to healthy food and exercise options, mental health support, and schedule and workload adjustments.
Carriers can also collaborate with healthcare providers and insurance companies to provide affordable healthcare for their drivers.
The trucking industry is critical to the success of the US economy, but it is currently suffering from heart disease in the form of a shortage of talent and retention issues for carriers.
In the end, addressing truck driver health is essential to fixing retention issues for carriers. As such, the trucking industry needs to prioritize driver health and well-being to restore health to the cardiovascular system of the US economy.
Are you looking for help hiring and retaining truck drivers? Fill out the form below to speak with a Meramec Specialist today!