Trucking industry is currently considered as a greener pasture to majority of people, with many switching to this career. The high demands for truck drivers attract a lot of those looking for a rewarding source of income as well as a lifetime career. However, what most people don’t know is that all jobs, regardless of type have challenges attached to them, and truck driving is not an exception in regard to this. Below are top 5 challenges being a truck driver:
1. Lots of work, less pay
Truck drivers can spend up to 14 hours driving and battling severe road conditions in a day, receiving roughly 10 hours off before the beginning of the next shift. They have to drive defensively to ensure that they arrive safely, in time, and with the freight being in the right condition. Legislation regulating the amount of hours that a truck driver needs to be on the road per day or per week does exist, but the rules are never followed. They are commonly bent and broken.
Even after working for long hours, truck drivers receive one day off work per week. Most people tend to think that truck drivers are handsomely rewarded but if you take into consideration the amount of risk they put themselves into, they pay is so low. Their chances of dying are very high with 12% of work related deaths in the US coming from truck driving.
All this comes with a measly annual salary of about $38,000. A trucker may easily have worked for 4400 hours per year, coming to an hourly pay of $8.70 which is very little considering the amount of work.
2. Health issues and inaccessibility of healthcare
In addition to long hours, the throughways are a food desert and truck drivers rarely eat healthy meals. They live off prepackaged and high calorie snacks during the day. When they stop for a meal at night, they usually eat large unhealthy meals before settling into bed.
Their poor lifestyle leads to numerous health conditions forcing them to leave the career. At times they may find themselves in highways with no food or water around where they have to drive forward until they get a place to get one. As a result of shortage of foods on the road, they end up opting for fast foods which serve highly processed foods, thus affecting their health.
They sit for long hours and do not exercise. Hours spent seated on a truck cab along with poor food choices and may lead to disproportionally obese workforce. According to the research, only 14% of the 3 million US truck drivers are not obese. In the US, out of the 3 million truck drivers, only 8% exercise as required when compared to 49% of the general population.
Hours worked by these truck drivers make it hard for them to have access to medical appointments. This limits their options when faced with a health problem which makes many of them ignore the symptoms.
As of 1970, there were laws that prevented those suffering from diabetes from becoming truck drivers. This may not help since the lifestyle and diets available to truckers opens them up to increased risks of diabetes. Currently, exceptions exist allowing them to use insulin to drive.
Since truck drivers spend most of their times alone and away from their families, most of them suffer from depression. Other diseases that usually affect truck drivers are spine problems which come as a result of sitting for long hours, bladder, and kidney issues. This health related issues are just some of the reason for the extraordinary rate of turnover within this profession. Even the ones that are still into this profession, they are still afraid of the complications of post traumatic disorder with the already demanding but melodramatically life of a trucker.
3. Straining on relationships
Many truck drivers suffer from unstable relationships due to their nature of work. When one starts off as a trucker, getting a job that will allow him to be home regularly is almost impossible. This means that a driver has to be away from the family for days, until they get their time off duty.
Being away from the family is not always easy, especially for those who have kids that need to feel his presence. This is why many choose to abandon this career for a better option. For this reason, very few partners can handle this kind of sacrifice. In fact, numerous drivers end up being divorced after joining this career. This career works better for those for those who are not yet married since after like 6 months to an year of driving experience, one can manage to find an option that will them get home frequently.
4. Hunting for a place to sleep every night
While big rigs contain sleeping quarters in them, truck drivers still need to get a place to park every night. States are frequently shutting down designated trucks rest stops along throughways to cut costs, forcing truckers to park in empty parking or interstates to get a night rest.
Long haul truck drivers usually fight for a space at truck stops as they look for places to sleep safely. According to national transportation safety board, estimated 167,000 out of 185,000 open spot for trucks to stop are usually filled on nightly basis. This leaves close to 20 thousand spots, but a truck driver might be million miles away from these spots, creating a problem when a driver gets back to driving the following day.
5. Truck drivers face death on the highways
Even tough road safety should not be compromised at any given time, at times truckers feel pressured to make a delivery on time and having to pass through traffic jams that limits their movements slowing them down. For this, they end up breaking traffic rules, putting their lives in danger.
Highways are used by both buses and heavy trucks that navigate their ways along the torturous curves and deadly abysses. They also have to beat the oncoming traffic to the corners. Having slept for fewer hours, a driver may end up causing accidents on the highways. As stated earlier, about 12% of work related deaths in the US are as a result of truck driving.
Truck driving job is supposed to be for those with nerves of steel and head for heights. This is because these drivers can fall into an accident at any given time. At times, a truck driver may be transporting hazardous freight and if not handled properly it can lead to his death. Some drive on ice roads and a vehicle can easily roll over if proper care is not taken.
When it comes to government regulations, federal laws currently dictate how long a driver can be on the road to ensure road safety for drivers and that of others. CSA 2010 regulations were implemented to ensure that truck drivers as well as other drivers are safe on the road. However, all these rules are broken and those committing these crimes are rarely prosecuted, leading to more accidents.
Truck driving job is obviously not the best. It is a job that consists of a poor lifestyle, low pay, stress, poor eating habits, accidents, and many more problems. As you think of getting into this career, it would be good if you take all the above challenges into consideration.