Fleets Look To Hire More Drivers As Trucking Demand Increases During Coronavirus Pandemic
The volume surge in freight primarily as a result of restocking store shelves is continuing. “This is a pretty big moment in the freight market,” FreightWaves carrier expert Zach Strickland said Monday on “FreightWaves NOW” in discussing the numbers. “It indicates increased spot market activity, increased rates and increased margins.”
Most grocers are up 150% right now, month over month, as people stock up on all sorts of things with the spread of COVID-19.
Amazon announced on Monday that it was hiring as many as 100,000 warehouse workers and other employees to keep up with the surge in demand from consumers buying food and other supplies online.
Some sectors of the trucking industry, which already has a driver shortage of more than 61,000, are actively looking for drivers because grocery stores and other retailers have been swamped.
According to Fox 12 Oregon, Nick Campos, the Chief Operating Officer for Market Express, expects manufacturers and shippers to continue running at full speed for the next eight to 12 weeks.
But even after things return to normal for consumers, the work behind the scenes will still not be over.
At that point, companies will be replenishing their ‘buffer stock’ and restaurants will be coming back online in needs of their own stock and supplies to be trucked to them.
Trucking industry recruiters and consultants have seen a spike in companies looking to fill vacancies while demand for freight is increasing. The trucking industry employment picture looks pretty good. There may be a fundamental change coming in the economy that is positive in the long term for trucking. But a lot will depend on how much damage is done to the economy by the coronavirus.
But trucking needs to attract younger drivers to help keep the industry healthy in the long term. Right now, the average age of an over-the-road driver is 46 years old, and almost as alarming is that the average age of a new driver being trained is 35 years old.
In order to meet the nation’s freight demand, the report says the trucking industry will need to hire 1.1 million new drivers over the next decade – an average of 110,000 per year to replace retiring drivers and keep up with growth in the economy.
DQ Files and Pre-Employment Drug Testing Still Required For Hiring CDL Drivers
Planning on becoming an Owner Operator or drive for a new fleet in 2020? Hiring processes and drug testing are still required in time of a national pandemic.
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) considers the driver hiring process to be a critical element in building and maintaining a safe carrier operation. Managing these requirements can be challenging and are a common source of confusion, fines, and penalties.
Before we dive into this, let’s be clear that currently, all DQ File and Drug Testing regulations are still required during this Coronavirus pandemic.
The Driver Qualification (DQ) file is a FMCSA record-keeping requirement of a driver’s personnel file that trucking companies must meet for every employed driver. The difficult part of the DQ File is that trucking companies must know the driver qualifications file requirements to pass a safety audit. Every year, government auditors find hundreds of violations when reviewing DQ files for compliance.
The DQ File includes Application for Employment, Inquiry to Past Employers, and 6 other mandator forms required by the FMCSA (Part 391).
At CleanFleet, we electronically maintain all the required DQ file documents for your review or for a DOT audit. Our system identifies missing documents, tracks credential renewal dates, initiates the annual review process and keeps you informed every step of the way.
Regarding drug testing rules, drivers are required to have a negative pre-employment drug test result before performing any safety-sensitive functions for the company, like driving a commercial vehicle. Most collection sites are still open for drug testing and driver physicals for medical cards. Use a trusted site that is not at a hospital to reduce your risk of being in contact with large crowds and long wait times.
CDL Clearinghouse, a national database for driver violations of FMCSA drug & alcohol testing regulations, is still required as part of the hiring process. When hiring new drivers, employers must run detailed queries to ensure the drivers are eligible to perform safety-sensitive functions. These queries should be done before performing a pre-employment drug test in order to avoid testing an ineligible driver. The potential new hire should register to the CDL Clearinghouse as a driver in order to give electronic consent for a detailed queries to be performed. CleanFleet helps all companies and drivers get registered that are consortium members.
New owner operators are required to join a drug testing consortium to help manage their drug testing program. They will let you know if you have been selected to do a random drug test, keep you updated on regulatory updates, and more.
So, while the rest of us are home with our families amid the COVID-19 outbreak, remember the truck drivers who are working weekends and in the middle of the night to try and get the things you need back on store shelves.