‘What Does a Trucker Look Like?’

Quel est le pro­fil du nou­veau chauf­feur de poids-lourds amé­ri­cain ?

Vocable (Anglais) - - Édito Sommaire -

Aux Etats-Unis, les en­tre­prises mettent les pe­tits plats dans les grands pour re­cru­ter une es­pèce en voie de dis­pa­ri­tion : les chauf­feurs de poids-lourds. Leur nombre, qui di­mi­nue constam­ment de­puis plu­sieurs an­nées, a at­teint son ni­veau le plus bas en 2018, et l’in­dus­trie cherche dé­sor­mais à at­ti­rer un nou­veau type de can­di­dats. Quel est le vi­sage du nou­veau ca­mion­neur amé­ri­cain ?

Ame­ri­ca’s boo­ming eco­no­my has a pro­blem: a shor­tage of truck dri­vers. The in­dus­try — his­to­ri­cal­ly re­liant on ol­der, white male dri­vers — is fa­cing a re­cord shor­tage with an es­ti­ma­ted 50,000 more dri­vers nee­ded to meet de­mand, ac­cor­ding to the Ame­ri­can Tru­cking As­so­cia­tions. The lack of dri­vers is rip­pling th­rough the sup­ply chain, cau­sing a bot­tle­neck of goods that is de­laying de­li­ve­ries and promp­ting some com­pa­nies to in­crease prices.

2. The Trump ad­mi­nis­tra­tion and the in­dus­try are trying to al­le­viate the pro­blem by loo­se­ning fe­de­ral rules and en­ti­cing non­tra­di­tio­nal dri­vers like wo­men, tee­na­gers and mi­no­ri­ties to ope­rate big rigs. The Tran­spor­ta­tion De­part­ment has re­cent­ly si­de­li­ned a num­ber of sa­fe­ty re­gu­la­tions that tru­cking lob­byists said po­sed un­ne­ces­sa­ry bur­dens but that tru­cking unions sup­por­ted, in­clu­ding re­qui­ring that rigs be out­fit­ted with speed-li­mi­ting soft­ware and that dri­vers be scree­ned for sleep ap­nea.

3. The White House is al­so ba­cking a pi­lot pro­gram that al­lows youn­ger dri­vers with mi­li­ta­ry trai­ning to ope­rate com­mer­cial ve­hicles across state lines. While the pro­gram is a trial, it re­pre­sents a broa­der willin­gness to al­low dri­vers un­der 21 to make in­ter­state de­li­ve­ries — so­me­thing fe­de­ral re­gu­la­tions pro­hi­bit. And, in a bid to re­cruit more dri­vers, ma­ny tru­cking com­pa­nies have ad­ded perks, in­clu­ding si­gning bo­nuses and in­crea­sed pay.


4. The shor­tage has been per­co­la­ting for some time, as youn­ger ge­ne­ra­tions ex­pres­sed less in­ter­est in the in­dus­try and wages lag­ged. Dar­ren Haw­kins, the chief exe­cu­tive of YRC Tru­cking, one of the na­tion’s lar­gest freight car­riers, said the se­ve­ri­ty of the shor­tage means that suc­cess­ful­ly tap­ping un­der­re­pre­sen­ted pools of can­di­dates is cru­cial. 5. “There’s an in­dus­try pro­blem, and that is, we have to do a bet­ter job of at­trac­ting new people in­to the dri­ving oc­cu­pa­tion, pre­vious au­diences we ha­ven’t rea­ched,” Haw­kins said. “Right now the Ame­ri­can Tru­cking As­so­cia­tions says we’re 50,000 dri­vers short, and those num­bers will conti­nue to grow. So we’ve got to open up other pieces.”

6. Tru­cking is al­rea­dy more one­rous to en­ter than some of the in­dus­try’s com­pe­ti­tors, in­clu­ding re­tail, construc­tion and fast food. In ad­di­tion to weeks in tru­cking school, which can cost se­ve­ral thou­sand dol­lars, it of­ten re­quires dri­vers to spend long, so­li­ta­ry stretches of time away from home. Wo­men and mi­no­ri­ties make up just frac­tions of the ove­rall tru­cking po­pu­la­tion: 94 percent of dri­vers are men, and two­thirds of all dri­vers are white, ac­cor­ding to a 2017 re­port re­lea­sed by the Ame­ri­can Tru­cking As­so­cia­tions.


7. Fa­cing re­cord dri­ver shor­tages, tru­cking com­pa­nies “are ma­king the ad­just­ments be-

“We have to do a bet­ter job of at­trac­ting new people”

cause they have to,” said Ke­vin Reid, the foun­der of the Na­tio­nal Mi­no­ri­ty Tru­cking As­so­cia­tion. “The in­dus­try has not fo­cu­sed on re­crui­ting and re­tai­ning the next ge­ne­ra­tion. Tru­cking is an in­dus­try that needs to be re­bran­ded. There was a co­ol fac­tor to tru­cking in the 1970s and 1980s. We don’t have that now, so the ques­tion is, how are we going to reach the next ge­ne­ra­tion of tru­ckers?”

8. Kris­ti­na Jack­son, a 22-year-old Afri­canA­me­ri­can truck dri­ver ba­sed in Ra­leigh, North Ca­ro­li­na, is exact­ly the type of per­son the tru­cking in­dus­try wants to at­tract. Af­ter gra­dua­ting from col­lege, she wan­ted a job that would al­low her to travel and be fi­nan­cial­ly independent. She ne­ver consi­de­red tru­cking un­til her boy­friend’s fa­ther, a trucker him­self, en­cou­ra­ged her to give it a try.

9. A year in­to dri­ving, she is constant­ly re­min­ded that she’s an out­lier in the in­dus­try. “When people found out I was in tru­cking, they were sho­cked be­cause of my gen­der and age,” she said. “The first thing you think of is an old white male. People say to me, ‘You don’t look like a trucker.’ I say, ‘What does a trucker look like?'” Jack­son thinks that more young people could ea­si­ly be per­sua­ded to join the in­dus­try, ad­ding that she has re­crui­ted 10 of her friends in their 20s. But she thinks re­crui­ters so far have done a poor job of show­ca­sing the young tru­ckers in the in­dus­try. “When people think of tru­ckers, they don’t see our faces,” Jack­son said of young dri­vers.

10. The mea­sure ba­cked by the Trump ad­mi­nis­tra­tion seeks to change that and tar­gets high school gra­duates, a de­mo­gra­phic long consi­de­red by tru­cking com­pa­nies that has re­mai­ned lar­ge­ly out of re­crui­ters’ reach.


11. Haw­kins said that lo­we­ring the dri­ving age was just “one tool in a ve­ry large tool­box” and that tru­cking com­pa­nies would al­so have to reach out to wo­men and mi­no­ri­ties. El­len Voie, the pre­sident of the Wo­men in Tru­cking As­so­cia­tion, said the in­dus­try was be­gin­ning to rea­lize it must do a bet­ter job of re­crui­ting wo­men. 12. One of the big­gest mar­ke­ting hurdles the in­dus­try has to over­come is tam­ping down the pre­vai­ling no­tion that the road is not an ap­pro­priate — or safe — place for wo­men. Voie said some men don’t think wo­men should be dri­ving trucks. “They’re few and far bet­ween, but they’re vo­cal,” she said. “But the ex­pe­rience has chan­ged a lot over the past five years be­cause car­riers are trying hard to make sure wo­men have a good ex­pe­rience.”


In the Uni­ted States, the tru­cking in­dus­try is fa­cing a re­cord shor­tage.

(Tra­vis Dove/The New York Times)

Kris­ti­na Jack­son is a 22-year-old Afri­canA­me­ri­can truck dri­ver ba­sed in North Ca­ro­li­na.

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