By John Kearney

Economic incentives are increasingly being offered to the trucking industry as a whole. Although the motor freight industry is essential to the U.S. economy—over 70% of all American freight moves by truck—its growth and future are endangered by a persistent and growing shortage of drivers. There are an estimated 50,000 fewer short- and long-haul truckers in the U.S. than are needed now, a number that could possibly triple by 2028.

Truck drivers are eligible for a number of money-saving tax deductions. Employee drivers and owner/operators will use different forms to report their income, but in either case, you can and should deduct from their taxable income not only your cell phone, internet, and license renewal costs, but also required medical exams, truck repair and maintenance, association dues, food consumed on the road, and job-related personal products: a food cooler, logbooks, flashlight, and electronic equipment such as a GPS.

To combat this shortage on a local level, the Ohio state legislature passed a bill granting a tax incentive to Ohio companies that hire and train new truck drivers. Similar measures, including a possible easing of visa restrictions for foreign drivers, seem likely as the situation worsens.

Meanwhile, the pandemic, which has converted millions to stay-at-home shopping, in 2020 caused a year-over-year U.S. jump in ecommerce of more than 30%. In response, global big-box and ecommerce retailers are building distribution centers all over the country to facilitate faster deliveries and shorter routes, creating hundreds of thousands if not millions of new jobs.

We don’t know for sure how many of these new positions will be for drivers, but informally at ATS we know it’s a lot. These companies are interested in simulation not only because it produces better, safer drivers, but because of the potential return on investment. Except for the very final stages of training, it eliminates the need for a truck. The simulator realistically reproduces every possible driving situation, including some—black ice patches on the road, a steering tire blowout—that you can’t train for any other way. It’s as necessary as simulation training for pilots, and for the same reasons: honing professional skills and saving people’s lives.

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.