What Does the Future Hold for Flatbed Truck Drivers?

Flatbed Trucking

As we have discussed in our ongoing series, many of you have seen some of the recent headlines proclaiming the coming end of trucking as we know it – the impending doom of massive job loss in the trucking industry. Articles are being written, and sometimes celebrated, focusing on the premise that truckers are replaceable, and because of autonomous trucks, everyone will be a lot safer, happier, and generally better off.

We’re taking the time to talk about each type of trucking, and how difficult it will be to replace the drivers that make the difference across the industry.

flatbed mess

Is this a potential result of autonomous flatbed hauling?

Flatbed trucking is one of the most physically difficult jobs in trucking. On any given day, you’ll find a flatbed driver climbing up and down on trailers, manhandling tarps, and off-roading the tractor-trailer to find their loads.

Flatbedders are responsible for:

  • Ensuring the load is stable and properly tied down
  • Tarping most loads, commonly using tarps in excess of fifty feet long and a hundred pounds
  • Stopping regularly to check and double check that all straps, tarps, and tie-downs are still just as firmly in place as they were the first time they were tightened
  • Coordinating with other heavy equipment operators to get loaded or unloaded
  • Driving the trucks not merely off the highway, but frequently off-road, to construction sites, quarries, farm fields, and other atypical locations

All of this is IN ADDITION to the typical responsibilities of drivers, all of whom are responsible for keeping their loads secured and arriving safely at their destination.

Don’t get me wrong… autonomous trucks are surely coming, in one form or another. But it’ll be one helluva fancy, high-tech truck that’ll be able to do all the things flatbed drivers do to keep the load SAFE AND SECURE while getting it to its destination!

flatbed driver vs autonomous truck


  1. Ross logun on June 20, 2016 at 2:12 am

    I say what if there was a technology put in place to replace these people pushing this, bet they wouldn’t like, they are just going to line their pockets with all this they are trying to sell, and where is all this money is going to come from being that this nation is in tremendous debt and a sleuth of states are broke or in financial straits? They are a group of people who don’t care how many lives and businesses they destroy in pursuit of their unrealistic space age agenda, fantasies.

    • Jim Purcell on June 21, 2016 at 4:49 pm

      I agree, just where is the money gonna come from! Even just that one truck-only lane proposed project in GA is gonna take years to accomplish and billions of dollars, IF it ever gets through government red tape!

      • jawnee logik on January 7, 2017 at 7:43 pm

        Funny you should mention “truck lanes.” We used to have these things called railroads. They would go all sorts of places hauling people and freight from one end of the country to the other and they were more-or-less autonomous. They followed little tracks in the roadway and the operators just sat and honked the horn once in awhile for amusement. 😉

    • jawnee logik on January 7, 2017 at 7:40 pm

      Are you implying we should find a technology that can replace a dumb ass, brain-dead monkey who thinks that just because something is possible, it should be done?

      That sounds like getting rid of politicians. You know, the lowest form of life on the planet!

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