Earlier today, March 19, 2018, a middle-aged woman was struck by a self-driving Uber Volvo SUV while crossing a crosswalk. She was rushed to the hospital, but ultimately died of her injuries. Some preliminary review of the footage shows the self-driving SUV with a smashed front and a crumpled bicycle – which leads to speculation that it was the self-driving car that was grossly malfunctioning.
This is the first fatality caused by a self-driving car! Uber immediately suspended its self-driving operations and a whole host of government agencies related to transportation are heading to Arizona and California to investigate the incident. Even Canada and Europe are looking into the incident and considering suspending their countries’ own self-driving rollouts.
Experts are already saying that this incident is likely to push back the implementation of self-driving vehicles worldwide, including self-driving trucks.
Why This Is a Good Sign for Millennials Who May Be Interested in Joining the Truck Driving Industry
Millennials are the bane of every industry – no one can figure out what to do with them. They want everything handed to them with the least amount of work on their part. They’re used to being treated as privileged, precious members of society, pampered by safe spaces, rights activists, and brainwashed by the fast-paced internet. It’s all about Now! Now! Now! with them.
When they enter the workforce, they’re expecting quick rise to success and a fast, lucrative income. But the rest of the world is still catching up to their mindset. Most industries are still used to the notion that a self-realizing individual must work his way up to earn a comfortable position and income through diligent, hard work.
This is why truck driving is an ideal fit for millennials. The truck driving industry has been suffering from truck driver shortages that’s causing the majority of companies to boost pay rates in hopes of attracting more people into the field. The average age of your typical truck driver is 55, but that’s increasing every year.
That means it’s an industry that’s frantically trying to pay more and more money to keep from dying out – truck drivers are just getting older and no one wants to be one, so companies are shelling out more cash in hopes they get more truck drivers. They’re also offering full pension, a competitive 401(k), and full healthcare.
This is exactly what millennials would consider ideal: jumpstart a job with a high income accompanied by health insurance and pension benefits that only higher-level employees would get after years of loyalty.
But millennials are also long-term thinkers – and they believe in new tech, like believing that self-driving vehicles will ultimately replace drivers. They don’t want to invest years into a sinking ship that’ll become obsolete due to robot trucks.
But after this self-driving fatality, they won’t have to worry about truck drivers being replaced anymore. Now the implementation of self-driving technology will most likely be pushed back by a decade or longer, which is enough time for millennials to get in and get out many years later with a sizable retirement or investment fund that they can use to venture into white collar business opportunities.
But There Are Still Many Other Barriers Millennials Have to Deal With to Get Into the Truck Driving Industry
Millennials have been around for a decade or longer, but the truck driving industry has still been suffering for years. Why? Because it’s neither attractive nor easy for millennials to become a truck driver.
There’s a psychological barrier that comes into play caused by their parents. At truck driving conferences, speakers ask the audience if they’d tell their children to become truck drivers and only a few raise their hands! Parents who are experienced truck drivers aren’t even telling their children to get into the industry – that’s a powerful deterrent.
And being a truck driver isn’t easy – away from home on cross-country drives where you have to sleep in your small sleeper-berth or a cheap motel while only eating cheap, unhealthy fast food. Remember that millennials are all about fast success with the least amount of work – and truck driving promises a lucrative income, but it’s no walk in the park.
Also remember that millennials are raised in the heightened atmosphere of equal rights and a higher sensitivity to injustice. Unfortunately, the truck driving industry is very male-oriented. Currently, only 7 percent of truck drivers are female. It’s partly due to trucks being very manual labor-intensive in the past – so women who lacked the muscle power couldn’t physically operate some vital features.
But now all trucks manufactured within the last years use hydraulics everywhere – so it’s always just a push of a button or a pull of a lever to get something to pop out or pop back in. But the domino effect is already in play and there’s just a pervading stereotype that truck driving is physically impossible for women.
There’s also the issue that women typically have shorter arms and legs than men, so some can’t physically reach pedals and levers in a typical truck. But now new trucks are coming out that address the issue.
This glaring gender inequality within the truck driving industry would send some millennials away because they wouldn’t want to support social injustice.
But an even bigger barrier is that you need to be 21 years old to engage in interstate hauling with a vehicle that requires a CDL to drive – like a truck. Millennials who’ve just graduated from high school aren’t going to wait 3 years to become a truck driver. They’re going to forge their way into another industry, and by the time they’re 21 they most likely would have established themselves there such that they wouldn’t want to leave their rising position to invest in a CDL and then become a truck driver.
That said, the cost to get a CDL, including schooling, is about $8,000, which is also a high investment for a typical blue collar job. But the good news is that some companies are starting to offer to pay CDL expenses, and truck industry leaders are actively trying to lower the interstate requirement to 18.
If you’re a millennial and you’re not planning to pursue white collar schooling after high school, then the truck driving industry is something you should really consider. They’re willing to throw money at you because of the shortage of truck drivers around the nation.