One of the silver linings of the Covid pandemic has been the near universal effort to redefine – or at least expand – the definition of the term “hero.” Law enforcement, military personnel, firefighters, and others who regularly put their lives on the line rightfully earned the title long ago. But the pandemic opened our eyes to whole new groups of Americans who merit the same accolade. The term “essential worker” is now part of our national consciousness, reflecting the risks and sacrifices taken by nurses, caretakers, grocery store workers, cleaning personnel, and – of course – truck drivers.
This week (September 13-19) marks annual National Truck Driver Appreciation Week. It’s a well-deserved acknowledgement for the 3.5 million men and women who hit the highways every day to keep our economy moving. Given all that has happened in 2020, this year’s salute to truck drivers takes on added significance.
“Appreciation” is a worthy sentiment – but it’s not action
Almost 6 percent of Americans work in the trucking industry, amounting to 7.5 million jobs. 97% of these truckers work for small, independent carriers owning just a handful of trucks – and in the cases of owner-operators, just a single truck.
The men and women of the trucking industry have stepped up in countless ways to serve our country and fellow citizens during this emergency.
They drove straight into COVID-19 hot spots to deliver ventilators, personal protective equipment and other medical equipment to hospitals. When a panicked public made a run on store shelves, they hustled to make sure essentials like toilet paper and other household necessities remained available to consumers. They risked their own health and safety in a time of need, often spending days and even weeks away from home.
“Thank you” is a good start – but it’s not nearly enough. National Truck Driver Appreciation week must be followed up by action.
Trucker challenges & the LaneAxis perspective
Multiple studies have shown that truck drivers suffer significantly poorer health than the general population. The most shocking statistic of all: according to the CDC, the average life expectancy for a commercial truck driver is only 61 YEARS OLD. That is roughly 16 years lower than the national average.
That stunning statistic has many contributing factors, but the stress, uncertainty, and inequities of the trucking industry as it exists today certainly isn’t helping. This year’s massive protests against unscrupulous freight brokers exposed one of several major fault lines fracturing the industry.
Here’s just a snapshot of the challenges facing truckers:
- Poor pay
- Dishonest and manipulative brokers
- Non-guaranteed payment
- Long delays for payment – forced factoring
- Billions of dollars and hundreds of hours lost to detention time
- Burdensome HOS restrictions
- Scattershot and confusing legislation impacting drivers’ livelihoods (e.g. California Assembly Bill 5)
And this barely scratches the surface.
LaneAxis has long recognized these issues and troubling trends, and built a system designed to directly address many of them.
Most significantly – the LaneAxis Direct Freight Network is focused on empowering Carriers to connect and negotiate directly with Shippers. This dynamic network will solve many of the pain points plaguing truckers. Crucially, this includes eliminating the need to work with brokers, which in turn puts more money in Carriers’ bank accounts. For example, if a broker takes a 20% fee on a $1,000 load, you only make $800. In our model you will receive nearly the full $1,000 (minus a small transaction fee). LaneAxis also guarantees payment to the Carrier prior to the load being tendered, usually within 24-48 hours of delivery – so no more need for factoring.
Our FreightVISION feature provides real-time shipment tracking data, including geofence entry and exit notifications. This will dramatically reduce detention time disputes. The system also provides in-app messaging (no more check calls), truck-specific navigation, and instantly uploaded e-docs. All of these features are designed to reduce overhead costs for Carriers.
On the legislative front, LaneAxis supports all efforts to improve conditions for drivers – particularly as it relates to abusive brokers and detention time. We are proud to partner with the American Association of Owner Operators (AAOO), which lobbies on behalf of small, independent Carriers, along with providing a wide range of benefits. AAOO membership is included at no cost to subscribed members of the LaneAxis platform.
LaneAxis proudly salutes all truckers during this National Truck Driver Appreciation Week. Now let’s all get to work by taking concrete action to improve their professional and personal lives. Visit LaneAxis.com to learn more.