The first report on Chinese truck drivers was officially released at a press conference in Beijing on April 10th. During the conference the secretary of the Transfar Foundation (传化慈善基金会), Tu Meng, introduced the foundation’s “Chuanhua-Anxin Station” (传化·安心驿站) project on whose basis the report was written. Tu explained that, following the modernization and internationalization of the Chinese economy, the logistics industry has become an important part of the national economy. By 2016 the number of commercial trucks had reached 15 million, with over 20 million truck drivers. The investigation was based on 1779 valid questionnaires collected from 28 provinces throughout China.
The report reveals several facts about truck drivers as a group. Male truck drivers are a majority (95.8%) in the industry, with an average age of 36.6, and only 5.7% of them are unmarried. More than half of them are not well educated, 57.7% of them having only received a middle school education. Moreover they have a heavy burden to support their families, because nearly half of them have two kids to bring up.
42.1% of the truck drivers have to work eight to twelve hours a day driving, and 9.2% even have to work more than twelve hours a day. The long working hours with irregular meals and rest also bring about a variety of health issues such as cervical spondylosis, stomach illnesses, and backaches. The average income of truck drivers is about 107,000 Yuan a year, arousing quite a lot of dissatisfaction. Around 38.9% claim they are going to give up their current job because of its high risks, high costs, and unstable income.
There are three major factors that have had a negative impact on the working and living conditions of truck drivers. High vehicle tolls and various fines, including traffic controls and restrictions, make up the majority of their costs. Administrative policies like taxes, car loans, and market access have also brought them much inconvenience. In addition, in order to address the serious problem of air pollution, many environmental policies are being laid out and strictly executed, raising operational costs for the drivers.
The report also puts forward nine recommendations to tackle the problems confronting truck drivers:
- 1. The elimination of non-standard vehicles should be promoted on the market;
- 2. Money permitting, the environmental upgrading of vehicles should be carried forward;
- 3. The relevant departments should advance the normalization of road checks and law execution;
- 4. The procedures for managing documentations needs to be simplified;
- 5. Law-enforcement departments have to strengthen public order;
- 6. The conditions in freeway rest areas require improvement;
- 7. The strict prevention of fatigued driving is of significance to truck drivers’ health;
- 8. We should be prudent in the implementation of the “No Car Carriers” system to protect the benefits of truck drivers;
- 9. Actions to de-stigmatize truck driving need to be reinforced.