It’s been 40 years since Burt Reynolds starred in “Smokey and the Bandit” and made driving a rig on the open highway seem like a cool way to make a living. That same year, only “Star Wars” sold more tickets.
These days, “Star Wars” still fills theaters but trucking no longer captures the imagination of movie goers or, it turns out, the young and unemployed. Veteran drivers are leaving the profession, and young people entering the workforce are put off by long hours away from home and the profession’s low-brow image. The result is a U.S. trucking industry with high turnover and a dwindling number of new recruits.
“The question is where we’ll be in five or 10 years,” said Steve Viscelli, a sociologist at the University of Pennsylvania and former driver. “If e-commerce goes up a lot and the introduction of autonomous vehicles is slow and the industry does not shift to millennials, we could see actual shortages 10 years out.”
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Just enough time to replace them with self-driving trucks.
American truckers were cheated by Jimmy Hoffa and other members of Teamsters management, had their pension funds stolen by the Mafia, and were betrayed by their government. And now they'll be replaced by robots.
So it should come as no surprise that no one wants the job anymore.