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Despite industry efforts, truck driver shortages remain

The trucking industry is crucial to manufacturers, retailers and consumers across the U.S. Commercial trucks are used to transport perishable, heavy and even toxic cargo between states and across the country. It is indeed a critical industry but the fact is that the resources needed to support it are lacking.

Truck drivers are in short supply these days. There is a high demand for truckers but there aren't enough properly trained people to fill all the available spots; high rates of driver turnover only add to the issue. This situation leads to a couple different problems.

First, it means that trucking companies need to search for different ways to attract truck drivers. Recently, for example, trucking fleets have started installing satellite TV in their trucks.

According to this article on Truckinginfo.com, the TVs were added as a way to entice drivers to tackle the long shifts and time away from friends and family. Trucks equipped with the satellites and TVs allow drivers to watch more than 100 channels. The package also has the capability to record programs that a driver can watch later.

The installation of satellite TVs is just one feature that the trucking industry has put into place recently. There have also been extensive efforts to add other comfort and entertainment features in trucks as well as improved safety and accident-avoidance systems.

Unfortunately, all these innovations and fringe benefits have not solved the problem of the driver shortage in the trucking industry, which is why the second problem arises.

There are companies that end up employing drivers who are overworked, under-trained or a potential hazard behind the wheel because they need to meet the demand for their services. This puts the truckers and anyone sharing the road with them at risk of getting injured in a catastrophic accident.

Being a truck driver is not an easy job. Because of all that is required of drivers and all that is at stake, it is crucial that those who do get hired to operate commercial vehicles are prepared, trained and certified to do so. Hopefully the efforts to attract new drivers will be successful, but in the meantime, the driver shortage may continue to have a serious impact on motorist safety across Illinois.

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