Life as a long-haul truck driver can be grueling as some are gone for weeks at a time, which can take a toll on drivers who are trying to maintain healthy relationships with their families back home.
That’s why First Things First and SeatMyTrucks have joined forces to create an online training platform called MyTruckerLife, which is specifically geared to help provide relationship resources for professional truck drivers and their families.
“We ask these drivers to stay out on the road, sometimes as long as 275 days out of the year, which can be tough on family relationships,” Rob Hatchett, one of the cofounders of MyTruckerLife, told FreightWaves.
Prior to starting his own ad agency, SeatMyTrucks, headquartered in Chattanooga, Tennessee, that specializes in truck driver recruiting, in 2019, Hatchett served as the vice president of marketing and communications for Covenant Transport, a Chattanooga-based trucking company, for six years.
“I hired about 5,000 drivers a year at Covenant, so I know it’s especially hard on regional over-the-road drivers who are out five days to maybe two or three weeks at a time,” he said. “Whether it’s trying to parent a child while out on the road or dealing with a spouse who is handling everything back at home, this life can be tough on families.”
For the past year, Julie Bumgardner, chief executive of First Things First, and her team have been studying the trucking industry and developing online tools to help drivers and their families who may be struggling with relationship issues.
First Things First, headquartered in Chattanooga, Tennessee, is a non-profit organization that has focused on providing healthy relationship skills for nearly 23 years.
“We’ve spent the past year really studying trucking families and then molding the teachings we’ve been doing the past 23 years so they are applicable to a family where a member is often not present,” Bumgardner said.
Some of the current content on MyTruckerLife includes: Parenting from a Distance; Dealing with Conflict; Leaving and Coming Home; Do You Have Quarantine Fatigue; What to Do When Your Spouse is An Essential Worker; COVID -19 Outbreak Journaling/Writing Prompts for Kids; and Building a Thriving Romantic Relationship.
New content will be added quarterly for subscribers, Hatchett said.
Happy truckers may boost driver retention
Since launching the online platform in mid-July, Hatchett said he’s been visiting with carriers of all sizes and CDL training schools about how this program could help retain professional drivers.
The subscription price ranges from $99 a month for an individual driver, $300 per month for carriers with 200 drivers or less to around $2,100 per month for trucking companies with more than 5,000 drivers.
Overall, Hatchett said the price is minimal when compared with the costs associated with recruiting and onboarding a new driver.
“Drivers leave for many reasons, and while the pay is going up in the industry, some are still taking a local job that pays much less, so they can be at home to deal with family issues,” he said. “Providing this type of support to truck drivers may make them decide to stay on with a carrier.”
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