TORONTO, Ont. — The job of the over-the-road truck driver will not disappear because of autonomous trucks, Canadian Trucking Alliance president David Bradley wrote in a letter to federal Finance Minister Bill Morneau.
Morneau was reported as saying certain occupations – namely trucking – would disappear in the future as a result of automation last week. Bradley expressed concern about the impact the minister’s comments in the letter and aimed at informing the minister about the truck driving profession and how it continues to evolve.
Although various forms of autonomous and semi-autonomous truck technology are already here – and bring potential benefits in terms of safety and fuel efficiency – to characterize these vehicles as driver-less is wrong, explained Bradley.
“Driving has always only been a part of what truck drivers do,” say Bradley. “So, while the job of the over-the-road truck driver may evolve somewhat, it will not be eliminated or disappear.”
Furthermore, autonomous technology is not a potential solution to the driver shortage, as forecasts estimate there will be a capacity shortage of 48,000 truck drivers in Canada by 2024 and the gap between supply and demand for drivers is escalating more rapidly than industry analysts previously thought.
“Rather than disappearing, the number of truck driving jobs to fill in Canada is going to continue to increase. The industry’s number one priority is seeking to employ more drivers in the future, not less,” says Bradley. “Trucking can help in the pursuit of job creation.”