What Does the Future Hold for Flatbed Truck Drivers?

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

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