Driver Professionalism-Training, Employment, and Road Safety

The trucking industry is changing at a rapid pace and in some aspects not for the better. We have more technology available in the truck, yet incidents are rising. We have more training schools than ever before yet quality training is at an all time low. The driver shortage is getting worse even though we have more drivers licensed than ever. We have devices tracking driver movement, hours of service, and road conditions yet accidents are happening at an alarming rate. What is the issue? All of the changes were needed to make our industry better, but it isn’t working.

The reason many of these changes aren’t working is the driver. These changes were meant to help a good driver be even better, but they will never make a bad driver good. We need to take control of our own environment and work professionally the way we were meant to be. In the past we have have been seen as more professional yet things are getting worse instead of better. Older drivers are complaining new drivers are a safety risk and we have seen some horrific video of drivers passing on roads causing dangerous situations. Drivers are complaining they can’t find work even though carriers are hiring in every direction.

So what is the problem, what needs to change? We really don’t need any more technology in the truck, they have too much already. We need better training programs and enforcement on institutions that are cutting corners and shortening their training curriculum. We need enforcement on carriers that are avoiding paying taxes by offering Driver Inc models of employment. We have companies paying six figure salaries for drivers yet they still can’t find people to work because many new drivers are unqualified. How do we fix this problem and bring our industry back to where it needs to be?

Be professional in what you do

It All Starts at the Driver!

No matter how much regulation or technology we bring into our industry there will always be issues unless everyone does their part to make the industry better. Right now training, employment, and safety are our three largest hurdles and without improvement in those areas our industry will always be in peril. All three of those areas are in the driver’s control.

Training; It Matters!

Since the Pandemic more training schools have opened offering training due to the mandate by the Government that any new drivers must take a training course to learn to drive even if a relative has a truck sitting in the driveway. This has caused schools to open up to make a fast buck. Enforcement has to step up and ensure that training facilities are operating above board and training individuals properly. On the driver side DO NOT take the cheapest course available! You need a course that offers proper training and takes into account all the aspects of the job that a driver needs to know. If a training facility is having you sign papers of training not completed or not teaching parts of the course then do not attend that school.

Employment; Understand The Carrier!

There are two sides to employment just like training, in fact they go hand in hand. Without the proper training you can’t get hired by a decent carrier. I have friends in safety departments that are continually telling me that new drivers are coming in for road tests and failing before they even start the truck because they don’t know how to do a proper inspection. Get proper training. When looking for a job look for a reputable carrier that has a good finishing program and if they offer you to become your own company that is a Driver Inc model and you need to walk out the door. Carriers like that are trying to avoid paying payroll taxes for their employees. Drivers are finding they are not getting paid what they are owed because they have signed up with a Driver Inc. Model.

Road Safety; It Starts With You!

One of the biggest issues on the road these days is road safety. We have much more traffic than ever and people are in a hurry all the time. It is up to you as the professional driver to be safe on the road and know how to plan for the least safety issues on the highway. We often see drivers disregarding signage and regulations on the roadway or making unsafe manoeuvres on dangerous parts of the road. Passing another truck on a blind curve is not only dangerous, but unprofessional, and downright stupid. We are meant to be the well trained individuals on the road and we can also do the most harm when things go wrong. It is up to you the driver to drive accordingly.

Be the professional you are meant to be and you will have a long career in this industry. We all need to do our part to make our industry better and much of what the Public sees on the road starts with the driver and that’s you! Let’s make our industry better.

About the Author

Bruce Outridge has been in the trucking industry for over 40 years. He spent 25 of those years as a professional driver and is now in the media part of the industry with Lead Pedal Media and the Lead Pedal Podcast. You can learn more about Bruce and his podcast at