It’s no secret that the driver shortage has put a huge strain on the transportation industry.

According to a yearly survey conducted by the American Transportation Research Institute (ATRI), the driver shortage is a major concern for motor carriers year after year. In 2021, there was a reported 80,000 driver deficit. If current trends continue, the driver shortage could surpass 160,000 drivers in 2030. 

The American Trucking Association (ATA) believes that the causes of this shortage include a high number of retirements, low representation of women and the challenging lifestyle that comes along with being a truck driver.

In order to expand their hiring pool, transportation companies are exploring the option of hiring younger, less experienced drivers – some even as young as 18. But according to the U.S. Department of Transportation, new company drivers represent at least a 50% higher risk on the country’s roads.

When it comes to hiring inexperienced drivers, hiring and fleet managers must ensure these new drivers have the skills and support needed to follow their company’s driver policies and safety culture – to protect their fleet, brand and bottom line.

Things to Consider When Hiring Newer Truck Drivers

When looking to hire inexperienced drivers, there are important questions you should be asking to ensure the driver will be a positive and safe addition to your company’s fleet. It’s important for hiring and fleet managers to consider:

  • Does the driver have a good employment history?
  • Do they have a clean MVR?
  • Do they meet the FMCSA regulatory guidelines?
  • Do you have a strong onboarding AND ongoing driver training program in place to support them?

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Why Ongoing Driver Training is Critical for Inexperienced Drivers

Let’s explore the last bullet regarding ongoing driver training.

Training is not something that should be offered only during onboarding or after a violation occurs. If your greener drivers are unsure about their driving abilities, nerves, stress and poor performance will follow – creating dissatisfaction and a lack of confidence in their role. This makes them a much higher risk behind the wheel.

Companies that offer frequent training can help new drivers improve their skills in a shorter amount of time. This also allows you to catch drivers before they are disqualified – preventing firings and helping you retain talent. Better yet, with the right driver monitoring software, you can keep an eye out for violations year-round and tailor your assigned training based on what each individual driver needs to improve on.

Pro Training Tip: Your ongoing training for younger, more tech-savvy drivers must be engaging – not just a lecture or outdated video. It should be easy to access on any device and convenient for drivers to watch on their own time. You should also cover a variety of topics, instead of just assigning the same videos repeatedly. We recommend training your drivers on a new topic every month.

That said, ongoing training is useless if you aren’t able to hire and onboard safe drivers in the first place! Watch our webinar to learn how you can hire — and retain — high-quality team members.