Last month, Amazon surprised the online retail industry by announcing that it would attempt to beat financial expectations by offering free one-day delivery for millions of products. Now, the retail behemoth has revealed that it is already offering fast 1-day shipping to Prime members for over 10 million items. Amazon is pulling off this feat of modern consumerism through a network of 110 fulfillment centers, 40 package sorting centers, and 20 air gateways. Amazon plans on getting packages to customers through a fleet of brand-new drivers.
Amazon’s New Driver Incentive Program
During the first half of May, Amazon announced that it would contribute as much as $10,000 to current employees who would like to begin package delivery startups. The “Pay to Quit” program is one of the company’s attempts to beat competitors by expanding their delivery fleet and shortening the time it takes to get a package from a warehouse to a customer’s door. The company has been testing a program it calls Amazon Flex, a system that hires anyone who is over 21 and willing to deliver packages in their vehicle.
With more drivers flooding the roads to make deliveries, Amazon hopes to sell more products. This means that the company will need even more commercial truck drivers to travel between facilities and bring products at unprecedented speed. However, the trucking industry already has a shortage of drivers. So, what does Amazon’s new one-day delivery goal mean for the trucking industry?
DRIVE-Safe Act: A Possible Solution for a Trucker Shortage
Some investigative reports have determined that the United States has a shortage of at least 50,000 truck drivers. Experts believe that this shortage is mostly encouraged by the difficulties of life on the road. Being away from family, the comforts of a home, and spending long hours away wear many drivers down. During the driver shortage, many worry that inexperienced truck drivers are on the roads in record numbers.
One solution for the shortage may be making its way through the legislative branches of the government right now. The DRIVE-Safe Act is a bill which will lower the age a person needs to be to get a commercial driving license (CDL) from 21 to 18. Supporters of the bill argue that lowering the age requirements for a CDL will help young men and women have an opportunity to gain experience in the industry as soon as they are out of high school.
Under DRIVE-Safe, drivers below the age of 21 who qualify for a CDL must enroll in a 2-step program that will enforce strict performance benchmarks for them to meet. First, young drivers must complete 400 hours of apprenticeship training with an experienced driver. After this, they must pass a 12-benchmark test to prove their competence behind the wheel of a commercial truck. So, supporters of the bill argue that it will create a culture of safety within the trucking industry by allowing plenty of time to train drivers—a quality of training not provided under current CDL laws.
The DRIVE-Safe Act may be a solution to open a trucking industry hungry for new drivers to more people. It might even produce rookie drivers that are more safety-oriented than ever before. However, only the passing of the bill will reveal whether this law would foster a culture of safety in the trucking industry. With consumers demanding packages at an unprecedented rate, change is inevitable.