Trucking businesses are vital to the commerce industry because they transport 71% of the goods in the United States Of America [Source]. Regrettably, trucking companies are experiencing one of the worst driver shortages in decades due to a nationwide supply crisis affecting everything from food availability to construction supplies.
Furthermore, driver burnout, long delivery center wait times, and a competitive job market in many industries are issues for fleet managers searching to attract and retain skilled truck drivers. Although there are no one-size-fits-all solutions, fleet managers can employ various strategies to attract and retain qualified drivers to keep operations running during a difficult period. Fleet managers can also work towards hiring fleet drivers if the need arises. This guide will help you in the process of hiring fleet drivers for your business so it runs smoothly.
What Does Being A Fleet Driver Mean?
If you want to know about hiring fleet drivers, this article will help you.
A fleet driver is a licensed individual representing a group of Commercial Motor Vehicle (CMV) Operators. Their primary responsibilities include passenger transportation and freight hauling between destination routes. Better and safer drivers are required to reduce risks, injuries, and costs.
The importance of safety impacts the entire organization-the vehicles, maintenance, operations, and of course, your drivers. Despite advancements in technology to improve vehicle safety, drivers are responsible for countless accidents.
What Are The Qualities That A Good Fleet Driver Needs To Have?
The safety of your fleet and business needs to start with the driver. To know about hiring fleet drivers, Here are some qualities that you can look for in a driver while hiring:
Ability To Identify Behaviors That Increase Risk
It should suffice to say that electronic devices, such as cell phones, are among the most common distractions for drivers. Driving while distracted by a gadget, whether hands-free or handheld, does hurt response time, pace, following distance, and lane position. Another factor contributing to mass transit fatalities and injuries is alcohol, followed closely by concerns about marijuana legalization, the enhanced use of synthetic drugs, and the massive rise in prescription and medication abuse. Exhaustion can be as lethal as alcohol and drug impairment. Fatigue frequently leads to accidents if drivers, such as commercial vehicle operators, do not get enough rest.
Education And Training
Distracted driving requires a change in the driver’s thinking and behavior. You can effectively address these issues through fleet driver training. Distracted, exhausted, and impaired drivers are more likely to be aware of their dangers when involved in education.
Ability To Adapt Your Company Policies
The establishment of company policies relating to the safe operation of vehicles creates an understanding of your expectations. A policy mentioning a cell phone (or any portable electrical gadget) while driving a company-owned, rented, or personal vehicle on a corporate business is a good example. Likewise, requiring drivers to be medically fit ensures that they are in good health and fitness before using a company vehicle.
Improving performance is the key to developing better drivers. It is critical to measure performance to improve it. The potential to retain driver information allows for more accurate reporting on accident rates and behavior. Thus, reducing the cost of repairs, vehicle downtime, and insurance premiums. Using data can also assist with identifying training needs, analyzing risks, and developing effective policies and procedures.
How Do You Successfully Recruit The Right Fleet Drivers For Your Business?
You probably know the current shortage of drivers in the trucking industry and wonder how to know about hiring fleet drivers. Here are some tips to know about hiring fleet drivers:
Determine The Type Of Truck Driver You Require
When looking for a new truck driver, a brilliant place to start is to find the type of driver you need. There are numerous truck driving jobs available, each with its set of certifications and requirements. They are as follows :
These drivers transport loads that are unusually shaped or excessively wide. All while remaining within normal permit limits! They get paid higher because of the more advanced skills needed to make these trips.
Dry Van Trucker
Such drivers transport non – perishable and dry products in a solitary trailer and do not usually unload the materials.
These drivers transport dangerous and non-dangerous goods and hold a Class C Commercial Driver’s License (CDL).
Oversized Load Trucker or Heavy Hauler
These drivers carry cargo that is considered overweight. While each state has its own rules for determining what is outside of regular permit limits, the federal government provides the following guidelines: 8.6 feet wide, 13.6 feet tall, and 48 to 53 feet long. They generally require further certification.
OTR (Over-The-Road) Trucker or Long-Haul
Long-haul and OTR truckers travel at least 250 miles and can travel up to 1,000 miles carrying goods weighing almost 26,000 pounds. They are the spine of the United States’ goods transport system.
These drivers deliver automobiles and entail more skill because these trips are typically heavy and require brilliant navigational skills.
Ice Road Trucker
These drivers are skilled and typically operate in the northern parts of the States and Canada, moving cargo that can only transfer trucks can deliver.
They own their own trucking business and manage all the responsibilities and liabilities.
Refrigerated Freight Hauler
These drivers transport products in refrigerated trucks and monitor temperatures.
Understand Local and State Laws
When you’ve decided on the type of driver you’ll need, it’s time to think about the various local and state laws that apply depending upon the nature of the driver and truck, cargo, and ultimate destination. All federal, state, and local laws and ordinances govern trucking operations, including load weight limits, certification requirements, insurance requirements, and tax laws.
Trucking operations govern all federal, state, and local laws and ordinances, including load limits, accreditation standards, provisions, and tax laws. Drivers with a commercial driver’s license (CDL) may transport large, heavy, or hazardous loads throughout the U.S. Some states permit employers to hire part-time drivers, while others require full-time employees.
All motor carriers and freight brokerage services must also obtain several permits and licenses for operation. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) is in charge of federal requirements, including registrations for the United States Department of Transportation (USDOT) number and jurisdiction to operate (MC Number).
Check To See If Your Company’s Coverage Protects The Truck Driver
Ensure that your business insurance covers any full-time or part-time driver you wish to hire. All truck drivers need to have commercial vehicle insurance, but types of insurance such as general truck liability, business interruption, and car freight insurance can also help fill the gap. Several insurance companies cover truck drivers, while others require drivers to have their insurance. Many companies need the driver to have two years of driving experience.
Some insurance companies cover truck drivers, while others require drivers to have their insurance.
Make Job Postings Available On Job Search Websites
As per the American Trucking Association, 40% of driving schools shut down following COVID-19 lockdowns. Because of the scarcity of qualified drivers, driver recruiting is more competitive than ever. The best employer job listing site is an applicant tracking system that customizes your search to access a large pool of qualified candidates, helps you sort and match applicants, and helps you schedule interviews.
Think outside the box and consider reaching out to drivers via social media platforms such as Facebook and Instagram in addition to posting on job boards. Examine your job description to ensure that it is both precise and enticing.
In addition to posting what you need, explain what your business offers and consider including salary/rates, schedules, distances, and traffic information where possible. The best job search sites have discovered that transparency, concision, and clarity about expectations are the keys to a successful posting.
Evaluate And Interview Candidates
Although truck driver jobs are in high demand, you must ensure that whoever you recruit is quintessential to your company. Before hiring your drivers, conduct background checks on them, just as you would with any other candidate.
It is also critical that your drivers are mechanically inclined; even a basic understanding of crisis truck maintenance is valuable. Being more technologically savvy and having strong math skills are also essential, especially if drivers need to use tracking and monitoring technologies as part of their job.
You can ask several questions to the candidates, such as-
- Do you consider yourself a team player?
- How do you professionally deal with stressful situations?
- How do they stay vigilant and ensure that traffic safety procedures are in place every time?
- Have they ever experienced a shipment delay or missed a deadline? If so, how did they deal with it?
- Can they be diplomatic as well as sympathetic?
Let The Drivers Know If They Make The Cut
Once your candidate passes the interview and vetting process, inform them as soon as possible that they have landed the job. Onboarding usually includes payroll details, vacation time, other benefits, and conflict resolution. Recruits should also anticipate a period of training before beginning their new job. Immediately following their hiring, set up a training period to make sure you and they feel comfortable with what they will be doing.
Don’t Underestimate Word Of Mouth!
Hardly anything beats a recommendation from a satisfied customer, especially one of your highly motivated drivers. Motivate your drivers to refer their fellow drivers to your company. Reward your drivers for their efforts.
In a recent symposium, trucking executives emphasized the importance of a driver’s connection to a company for retaining and recruiting them. It’s a red flag if a driver doesn’t feel connected to their company.
Recruitment alone isn’t enough to make your business a success. You must focus not only on retaining your drivers but also on ensuring their safety. You can do that with the help of a Fleet Management System (FMS) like matrack , Geotab, OnFleet, etc. With an FMS, managers can efficiently track working hours, assign jobs to the drivers, and avoid discrepancies. An FMS will make it easier to track the driving behavior of the new drivers, making the work of the managers more efficient.
Recruiting and retaining new drivers is a hot-button issue, but fleets have several options for reaching out to new drivers and keeping their current drivers engaged and content.
Frequently Asked Questions
1. What are some new regulations that fleet drivers need to be aware of in 2023?
Ans. In 2023, fleet drivers will need to be aware of new regulations related to electronic logging devices (ELDs), hours of service (HOS) rules, drug and alcohol testing, and driver training requirements.
2. How can fleet managers ensure that drivers are complying with regulations and company policies?
Ans. Fleet managers can use a variety of tools and strategies to ensure that drivers are complying with regulations and company policies, including driver scorecards, telematics systems, coaching and training programs, and regular performance reviews.
3. What are some emerging trends in fleet driver hiring and management?
Ans. Some emerging trends in fleet driver hiring and management include the use of artificial intelligence and predictive analytics to improve hiring and performance management, the adoption of alternative fuels and electric vehicles, and the development of autonomous driving technology.
4. What role do soft skills play in fleet driver hiring and management?
Ans. Soft skills, such as communication, teamwork, and problem-solving, are becoming increasingly important in fleet driver hiring and management. Drivers who possess strong soft skills can improve safety, customer service, and overall job performance.
5. How can fleet managers balance the need for driver safety with the need for efficiency and productivity?
Ans. Fleet managers can balance the need for driver safety with the need for efficiency and productivity by using technology to monitor and coach drivers, providing ongoing training and education, and implementing incentive programs that reward safe and efficient driving practices.
James Johnson is a former truck driver who now works as a writer, specializing in the trucking industry. With over 15 years of experience on the road, James has a unique perspective on the challenges and opportunities faced by truck drivers and the trucking industry as a whole. His writing focuses on issues such as safety, regulation, and the latest industry trends. His work has been featured in several trucking publications and he has received recognition for his contributions to the industry. In his free time, James still enjoys being around trucks and often attends truck shows and other industry events.