Photo: U.S. Department of Transportation

Photo: U.S. Department of Transportation

Independent research conducted by software provider Omnitracs finds military veterans to be safer and have fewer terminations than the average truck driver.

On average, veterans had 42% fewer accidents than non-veteran drivers while achieving 98% more miles driven. Veterans were also found to have 59% fewer voluntary terminations and 68% fewer involuntary terminations.

Omnitracs conducted the study because veterans who served in active duty at any time since 9/11 are, unfortunately, unemployed at a higher rate than the national average, 5.8%. However, the trucking industry is in the midst of a driver shortage and turnover rates are also at an all-time high.

Omnitracs CEO John Graham, a Navy veteran, said that he feels an obligation to help other military veterans find opportunity in an industry that needs them.

“I spent 10 years in the Navy on ships, operating around the world. I worked in organizations where I was concerned with logistics, and logistics management,” said Graham. “From my standpoint, it was a great training ground for me on a lot of the skills that I learned for transportation, for the industry, but also for technology.”

According to Omnitracs, military service makes veterans uniquely suited to work as truck drivers because of similar conditions and preparation that the two occupations share. Veterans and their families are accustomed to long stints away from home and have experience working in stressful environments. They are also trained to follow orders with precision and reliability and are prepared to make decisions and work autonomously without close supervision. Veterans are often fast learners who adapt well to change and military service grooms veterans for roles in leadership and mentorship.

The federal government has simplified the transition to the transportation industry for veterans, expanding its waiver program to allow states to waive the skills portion of the CDL application for recent members who have driving experience in comparable military vehicles. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Admiistration has also granted $1 million in grants to technical and community colleges to help train returning veterans as truck drivers.

“You always think about the equipment, tanks, trucks, all the other things these guys are exposed to and trained on. To me, that's the appeal of our industry. They're not cooped up in a plant. They're not in an office where that might not fit their skill set, they're out on the road,” said Lance Collette, president and COO of Eagle Transport. “They are the captain of the ship when they're in the driver’s seat. To me, it really matches some of the skills that they've learned in the military and some of the things that might have appealed to them about the military.”