Courier Magazine, September/October 2019: According to the American Trucking Association, this country’s long-haul trucking industry needs about 51,000 more drivers than it currently has. Meanwhile, the U.S. unemployment rate dropped to 4.0% in January, its lowest point in a decade and less than half of its recession-era level of October 2008.

At the same time, says John Kearney, CEO, Advanced Training Systems LLC, there is a segment of the population looking eagerly for employment. Formerly incarcerated people, who currently have a 27% unemployment rate, are a largely untapped resource that could help the U.S. trucking industry fill its urgent need for new drivers.

A frequently raised objection to hiring ex-offenders is the recidivism issue. According to the U.S. Bureau of Justice, about two-thirds of those released will be rearrested within three years. A joint study by America Works and the Manhattan Institute, however, shows that recidivism rates dropped significantly for nonviolent offenders who became employed shortly after leaving prison.

Another important factor in integrating ex-offenders into the driving workforce, notes Kearney, is a reasonably streamlined training process. One important component of streamlining is the use of computerized simulation to familiarize new drivers with the proper way to handle situations too dangerous to attempt in conventional behind-the-wheel training.

As with the shortage of school bus drivers, says Kearney, simulators offer an economical and highly effective approach to increasing the available supply of long-haul truckers. The technology can both reduce the cost of training and produce better, safer drivers.

For More Information

Advanced Training Systems has revolutionized the design and manufacture of high-tech simulators to improve driver training and create both better drivers and a safer world. In addition to hundreds of driving schools, we provide equipment and support for major shippers who do their own training, as well as customized solutions for those with particular training needs. For more information or to schedule a demo, please contact us here.