Biden’s plan to fix truck driver shortage inadequate, fails to address root of problem, association says
The Biden administration’s proposal was put forth as part of the broader Supply Chain Disruptions Task Force
An independent truck driver association is pushing back on the narrative of a nationwide shortage of truck drivers, saying the real problem lies with the industry’s high turnover rates.
"We think the biggest problem, as far as driver workforce, is retention," Collin Long, Director of Government Affairs for the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association (OOIDA) told FOX Business.
The Biden administration announced its Trucking Action Plan to Strengthen America’s Trucking Workforce ahead of an expected White House Trucking Roundtable with industry leaders on Thursday.
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The plan proposes, among other things, providing resources to help states expedite and expand the commercial driver’s license process, and encouraging employers to develop apprenticeship programs to help put more well-trained drivers on the road.
Long told FOX Business that Biden’s proposal is missing real substantial steps towards making careers more sustainable for drivers.
"They’re putting so much emphasis on bringing in more drivers and not enough on what you do once they’re in the field, how you get them to stay behind the wheel," Long said. "How do you make the job prosperous for them and safe for them? And a lot of that is what’s missing from the proposal."
One thing positive to come out of Biden’s Trucking Action Plan, Long said, was a proposal to study the issue of unpaid "detention time" — the time in which drivers are "detained" at a loading or unloading facility and do not get paid.
"The amount of time that they waste waiting to be loaded has increased exponentially over time," Long said. "It’s getting worse and worse and worse."
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Long said paying for driver’s detention time would compel ports to be more efficient with loading, ensuring that trucks are in and out in as little time possible.
"If I’m a shipper or a receiver … and I’ve got this line of trucks, there’s no incentive for me to load or unload them efficiently because I’m not losing anything financially," Long said. "The drivers aren’t being paid."
The Biden administration’s proposal was put forth as part of the broader Supply Chain Disruptions Task Force created earlier this year to address lingering supply chain problems brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic.
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"Trucking plays a critical role in the U.S. supply chain and economy. America’s truck drivers have been on the frontlines of this pandemic, delivering goods to every corner of this country," the White House said in a statement. "A strong, stable, and safe trucking workforce that offers good-paying jobs to millions of truck drivers is a critical lifeblood of our economy."