The shortage is attributed mainly to the new point system. Israeli trucking companies will soon start recruiting truck drivers from Turkey and Jordan
A conspicuous shortage of truck drivers is hurting the Israeli trucking industry, according to recent comments by carrier executives.
Gabi Ben Harush, the chairman of the Road Transport Board, said last week that the most problematic area is the south of the country: Eilat, Ashkelon and Dimona where truck drivers are hard to come by.
He also noted that for the first time there are signs that the shortage is also felt among Arab communities which have always been in a position to recruit large number of truck drivers.
The shortage, according to Ben Harush, is attributed mainly to the point system enforced by The National Road Safety Authority (NRSA) and the police.
Like other countries combating traffic accidents, Israel has a point system. The system is designed to deal with drivers who commit more traffic offenses than others: both more serious and more frequent.
The new system was designed to deal more effectively with delinquent drivers, and ease up, to some extent, on the “average” driver.
When a driver accumulates 22 points, his accumulation period is extended to four years. A driver who accumulates 24 or more points is summoned to a special course at his expense. A driver who has accumulated 36 or more points has his license suspended automatically for three months. The license is restored only after he passes a written test. A driver who accumulates 36 points for a second time has his license suspended automatically for nine months, after which he must go through the same licensing procedure as new drivers, including a medical examination, a written examination, and a driving test.
The enforcement of the new point system has not only resulted in many truck drivers being suspended but also in many potential truck drivers looking for employment in other areas.
"Motor carriers are telling us every day that they have trucks parked up against the fence because of a lack of drivers," said Ben Harush. He added that Israeli trucking companies will soon start recruiting truck drivers from Turkey and Jordan.