Mandatory Training Coming for a Major Trucking Issue?
The question about choice versus compulsion in trucking is one that goes back for decades.
The idea that drivers should be required to undergo certain types of training is usually accompanied by lofty aspirations aimed at safety.
Mandatory training programs for certain dangers on the road have gotten mixed feedback, with some claiming it sacrifices the freedom of drivers in the quest to obtain an end goal. Even in the goal is a worthwhile one, the idea of taking away choice in the matter presents larger and more far-reaching concerns.
One proposed bill would require truck drivers to get training concerning an issue which has plagued their industry for decades – human trafficking.
When it comes to hauling cargo across long distances, there are many economic benefits and opportunities. Unfortunately, the arrangement also presents the means and methods to take part in illegal activities as well. Some drivers are willing to take this risk, and this has led to more than a few isolated incidents of human trafficking in trucking.
Trucking has taken many steps to draw attention to the problem. From beefing up the security and surveillance capabilities at truck stops to launching industry-wide educational initiatives, carriers have done anything but ignore the issue.
In some cases, the amount of ire trucking catches for this problem has created some tensions. Truckers and managers have often spoke out against previous laws mandating compulsory steps due to these dangers. Some claim it paints the industry in a bad light, while others say it presents unfair requirements that strain companies who must comply.
A bill proposed by Rep. Joel Kleefisch would require CDL driving schools and technical colleges to teach drivers the signs of human trafficking. While some have said these steps could be helpful, many similar measures are already taken by carriers voluntarily.
Mandating another compulsory component in the truck driver’s curriculum would serve as an additional hindrance to onboarding new drivers, no matter how small or simple the purported update would be.
Mandatory updates to trucker training based on issues in the industry could provide short-term benefits, but it sets precedents about the long-term freedom drivers and training managers will have in the industry moving forward.