Press Conference on Driver Simulator Training, May Alleviate Looming U.S. Supply Chain Crisis

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The commercial trucking industry is enduring a massive shortage, further exacerbated by the increase in eCommerce due to COVID-19. JOTO PR Disruptors’ next quarantined press conference guest, John Kearney, founder and CEO of Advanced Training Systems, explains how high-tech simulators will allow for more drivers access to safer and more robust driving education and training—and will also delve into misconceptions regarding the trucking industry that are hampering efforts to recruit more women, and millennials, into the profession.

Since July 2020, the overall number of truck drivers has declined by 4.4%.

Multitudes of businesses are having to respond to the rise of eCommerce, and shippers are accelerating products through supply chain. ... The trucking industry needs to be prepared for the coming rise in demand.

Current training and recruitment methods are unable to replace drivers nearly fast enough. New teaching alternatives and a more diverse workforce are needed to make up for the shortfall, according to Advanced Training Systems. This will be the topic of an upcoming Press Conference on the truck driver shortage–detailing the increasing pressure on our national supply chain and what we need to do about it–hosted by JOTO PR Disruptors™ with guest John Kearney of Advanced Training Systems, which streams live on February 25th at 2:00 pm EST.

A year-after-year shortfall of truck drivers and an increased in shipping demand as businesses and consumers turn to eCommerce has been placed increased strain on the national supply chain and the problem is expected to persist into 2021. According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), the number of truck drivers at carriers with up to 100 trucks fell by more than 150,000 from July to October. Furthermore, since July 2020, the overall number of drivers has further declined by 4.4% as more drivers left the business after unemployment benefits expired at the end of July.(1) The problem is two-fold:

1) Long-time methods to train drivers on real equipment alone cannot graduate enough students to make up for the shortfall.
2) The average driver today in the for-hire, over-the-road truckload industry is 46 years old, and the average for less-than-truckload and private carriers is higher, according to reports by the American Trucking Associations.(2)

“Multitudes of businesses are having to respond to the rise of eCommerce, and shippers are accelerating products through supply chain. The first months of COVID-19 was a warning–we witnessed serious delays in the movement of essential goods. The trucking industry needs to be prepared for the coming rise in demand for trucking resources and logistical support,” Karla Jo Helms, Chief Evangelist and Anti-PR Strategist for JOTO PR Disruptors.

John Kearney, founder and CEO of Advanced Training Systems states “…As the nation transitions from sitting totally shuttered to stepping into economic recovery, even a slight trucking shortage could spell disaster for both the supply chain and trucking industry.” He explains that part of the solution is virtual reality simulation training which he says, “…affords learning CDL drivers the advantage of experiencing and navigating real-world circumstances–like swerving to avoid a sudden obstacle–without the real-world consequences.”

The truck driver shortage is only growing more severe:

  • Nationwide, carriers ranked the driver shortage as the No. 1 issue in the trucking industry, according to a recent survey completed by the American Transportation Research Institute (ATRI), a nonprofit research organization of American Trucking Associations.(2)
  • The trucking industry has about 80,000 fewer available drivers compared to a year ago. The federal stimulus increased unemployment benefits and “couched” a lot of drivers who discovered they could earn more by staying home than being out on the road.(3)
  • According to Glenn Osterberg with Suncoast Trucking Academy in Punta Gorda, about 50,000 to 60,000 truck drivers are needed, and that number is expected to increase in order to maintain the high volume of freight that needs to be moved.(4)
  • One of the largest issues influencing the driver shortage is the demographic of the current workforce, primarily age, and gender. The trucking industry relies heavily on male employees, 45 years of age or older. Women make up 47% of the nation’s workforce but only account for 6% of commercial truck drivers. The problem here is changing the stereotype that the trucking industry is a macho job, for macho men.(5)

Kearney has spent more than 30 years in the driver and simulation training field. He believes that training any individual to drive using a simulator is the best method. Besides the lower cost of simulators versus real vehicles, training for a variety of situations especially hazardous conditions, is completely safe. “For example…if a bus drives over ice, the driver hasn't been trained to properly handle that. The only way to do that is on a simulator. It's too dangerous in a truck because you're going wreck and maybe kill people if you do it in a live situation.”

Furthermore, the male-dominant image the trucking industry is starting to be dispelled. “The motor freight industry, an essential component of the U.S. economy, is more committed to inclusiveness than it’s ever been. If you are a woman looking for a new professional home, trucking might be the right place for you”, says Kearney.

Helms further expounds on why the dual solution of simulator training and bringing women into the trucking profession is crucial to our continued economic recovery. “Already we’ve seen the effects of a supply chain under tremendous strain. Keep looking that the real data, and you’ll see that we need to be attacking the problem on both fronts aggressively, or we’re looking at a full-blown crisis in a few more years.”

  • The upcoming press conference will discuss the shortcomings of current driver training methods that make them unable to train enough or the safest drivers.
  • New alternative technological solutions now in use that provide a number of advantages over ordinary methods that graduate better more drivers that are better prepared for the multitude of real-life driving travel conditions.
  • Why certain myths about the trucking industry are hampering efforts to attract women to the driver profession.
  • How millennials are also one of the great hopes for the profession— having grown up on technology this generation is leading the charge on the new breed of truck driver.

The press conference will be streaming live on Thursday, February 25th at 2:00 pm EST.

Open for registration to the media and business leaders.

About JoTo PR DisruptorsTM 
After doing marketing research on a cross-section majority of 5,000 CEOs of fast-growth trajectory companies and finding out exactly how they used PR, how they measure it, and how they wanted the PR industry to be different, PR veteran and innovator Karla Jo Helms created JoTo PR and established its entire business model on those research findings. Astute in recognizing industry changes since its launch in 2009, JoTo PR’s team utilizes newly established patterns to create timely PR campaigns comprising both traditional and the latest proven media methods. This unique skill enables them to continue to increase the market share and improve return on investment (ROI) for their clients, year after year—beating usual industry standards. Based in Tampa Bay, Florida, JoTo PR is an established international public relations agency. Today, all processes of JoTo are streamlined PR services that have become the hallmark of the JoTo PR name. For more information, visit JoTo PR online at http://www.jotopr.com/ 

About Advanced Training Systems, LLC
Advanced Training Systems (ATS) is a technology and engineering firm that has revolutionized the design and manufacture of high-tech simulator systems to improve training for operators of all types of motor-powered vehicles. ATS, the holder of multiple patents in its field, is dedicated to providing cutting-edge adaptive training at an affordable cost to all involved in the transportation industry, resulting in more qualified drivers/operators and safer streets. For more information, visit http://www.atstrainingsystems.com.

1. Cassidy, William B. “US truck driver shortfall steeper than expected.” JOC.com, 25 November 2020, joc.com/trucking-logistics/labor/us-truck-driver-shortfall-steeper-expected_20201125.html.
2. Rosa, Jeff Della. “Driver shortage persists amid COVID-19 pandemic, mixed freight demand.” TB&P, 07 December 2020, talkbusiness.net/2020/12/driver-shortage-persists-amid-covid-19-pandemic-mixed-freight-demand/.
3. Huff, Aaron. “Driver shortage credited for buoying freight economy in 2020 and likely into 2021.” CCJ Digital, 11 November, 2020, ccjdigital.com/business/article/14940101/driver-shortage-to-keep-capacity-tight-in-2021-and-beyond.
4. DelasBour, Leslie. “Truck driving industry being impacted by the shortage of drivers.” Fox4, 17 December 2020, fox4now.com/rebound/truck-driving-industry-being-impacted-by-the-shortage-of-drivers.

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