Wanted: Long-Haul Truck Drivers (in Europe)
Despite rising unemployment, Europe is suffering from a shortage of truck drivers, due to an aging population and poor working conditions. Truck manufacturers are responding by creating vehicles with better safety and comfort features.
Article written by guest writer Kecia Lynn
What's the Latest Development?
Europe is having a hard time recruiting long-haul truck drivers despite rising unemployment and an economy that still depends heavily on transporting goods by road. In response, some truck makers are unveiling newly-designed models with more comfortable features in the hopes of attracting new drivers and retaining current ones. IHS Automotive executive Roman Mathyssek says, "The times when haulers opted for trucks with only basic features are over...Safety systems and comfort are getting increasingly important, particularly for long-distance haulages." Companies that produce passenger cars in addition to trucks have a competitive advantage, since they have experience with quality interior design.
What's the Big Idea?
Several factors are involved in the driver shortage, including an aging workforce, a drop in the number of young workers qualified to drive heavy-goods vehicles, and working conditions that are less than ideal. Germany alone is expected to lose about 250,000 drivers to retirement in the next 10-15 years. Investing in better trucks may seem like a small solution, but the shortage almost demands it, according to Mathyssek: "[T]he driver has a choice for which company he wants to work."
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