Trucking Firm Hoping Satellite TV Will Attract More Drivers Blog

Dec 11, 2015

The truck driver shortage has gotten  so dire that a trucking company in Utah has installed 100 channels of satellite TV in its fleet of trucks in order to attract new drivers.   The trucking industry currently is undergoing an unprecedented shortage in drivers. Some blame the low pay, long hours, and the requirement that truckers spend many days or even weeks away from their families while others say it’s due to new federal regulations that limit how long drivers can spend behind the wheel before taking a sleep break.   Whatever the cause, the shortage has put a real strain on the trucking industry, with some freight firms offering higher pay while others are proposing allowing teenagers to drive trucks in order to expand the labor pool.  

Free Satellite TV

  Interide Transport, a trucking company based in Salt Lake City, is taking a different approach to recruiting new drivers:Free satellite TV.   The company recently installed in-cab satellite TV systems with the capability of getting 100 channels of sports, movies, news and other entertainment in each of its 95 trucks.   And the company says the program is working: It’s already experienced a 23% improvement in its driver retention and has saved more than $92,400 in the cost of hiring and training new drivers.  

Cost Effective Benefit

  Each satellite TV system costs about $600 per year. But that’s money well spent if it allows the company to hold onto drivers longer, according to Sean Snow, Interide’s founder and CEO.   The TVs are mounted in the sleeper berth of the semi-trailer cab and can only be activated when the truck is in park, so there’s no risk of drivers being tempted to take a peek at their favorite shows while they are driving.   But the company that provides the satellite TV service — EpicVue — said there is a “inMotion” option that does allow the TVs to work while the truck is moving, but it’s only for team drivers.   Susan Fall, an EpicVue spokeswoman, said that although in-cab satellite TV is new, it’s popularity has taken off and it’s only a matter of time before it becomes a standard feature.  

Searching for New Ways to Attract New Drivers

  Some of the nation’s biggest trucking firms — including Swift Transportation, Con-way Truckload, and US Xpress — are offering higher wages in an effort to secure more new drivers and to reduce driver turnover.   Earlier this year, US Xpress announced that it was instituting an average 13% increase in base mileage pay for over-the-road solo truck drivers, effective August 25. The company’s chief operating officer, Eric Fuller, said that the move was a direct result of the company’s need to recruit and retain qualified drivers.  

Problem Getting Worse

  The truck driver shortage is expected to get worse before it gets better, accrding to Bob Costello, chief economist for the ATA. By 2025, the trucking industry will need to hire an estimated 8890,000 new drivers — or an average of 89,000 per year.   “Our work shows the great and growing need for drivers,” Costello said in a news release. “But we also highlight several solutions, including increasing driver pay, getting drivers more time at home, as well as improving the image of the driver and their treqatment by all companies in the supply chain.”   “Make no mistake, the driver shortage is a challenge,” said Costello, “but not an insurmountable one.”   See Original Article
Nussbaum Transportation and Prime Inc., were named the Best Overall Fleet in their respective categories in the Truckload Carriers Associations’ 2019 Best Fleets to Drive For Contest.   Hudson, Illinois-based Nussbaum took top honors in the small carrier category and Springfield, Missouri-based Prime received the honor for the large carrier category. Prime and Nussbaum have both been named to the Best Fleets Top 20 multiple times, but are winning the overall award for the first time.   Nussbaum operates a fleet of 400 tractors, combining both high- and low-tech solutions to create a balance across its programs. The company scored high in several categories including having an industry leading scorecard and mobile app, a simple, effective driver outreach schedule and a formal career path and certification program.   Prime’s fleet includes 7,200 tractors, but was noted for maintaining a personal touch despite it’s size. The company hosts a variety of committees, social groups and educational offerings, providing contractors with a range of options for personal and professional development. New for this year, the company implemented a new program in partnership with Missouri Good Dads, to help drivers build and strengthen family connections while away on the road.   Both companies were also noted for their safety and retention numbers as well as satisfaction scores well above 90%.   “For several years, these fleets have been catching our eye with their range of creative programs,” said Jane Jazrawy, CarriersEdge chief executive officer. “Each year they continue to expand on those offerings, so it’s easy to see why their drivers speak so highly of them, and why they’re achieving such stellar results.”   Best Fleets to Drive For is an annual survey, now in its 11th year, that recognizes North American for-hire trucking companies that provide the best workplace experience for their drivers. To participate, fleets must be nominated by a company driver or independent contractor working with them, after which they are evaluated across a broad range of categories reflecting current best practices in human resources.   From the nominated fleets, the top 20 finishers are identified as the Best Fleets to Drive For and are then categorized according to size. The highest scoring fleet in each category is named the overall winner.   The Best Fleets to Drive For survey and contest is open to any fleet operating 10 or more trucks, regardless of TCA membership status. Nominated fleets are evaluated in areas such as: Driver compensation, pension and benefits, professional development, driver and community support, and safety record. The award is offered in partnership with CarriersEdge and is co-sponsored by DMC Insurance and EpicVue.   “Year after year, the overall winners are truly changing the game,” said John Lyboldt, TCA president. “It’s imperative that fleets establish driver-centric offerings which attract and retain a skilled workforce, while establishing programs that improve the work-life balance for their employees. Prime Inc. and Nussbaum Transportation have done just that. Congratulations to both winners on this well-deserved honor.”