The American Transportation Research Institute (ATRI) recently released its annual survey of the top 10 critical issues facing the trucking industry. For the third year in a row, the driver shortage and driver retention held firmly atop the list of industry concerns among respondents, followed closely by the hours-of-service (HOS) rules as the second most critical industry issue. Below is a summary of the top issues from the ATRI’s report.
- Driver shortage—According to the latest estimates from the American Trucking Association, there are over 60,000 commercial drivers needed in the United States with a potential shortfall of over 100,000 drivers over the next five years.
- HOS rules—Motor carriers and drivers alike are seeking increased flexibility when it comes to HOS rules. The FMCSA has issued a proposed rulemaking to make changes to the 30-minute rest break, and add flexibility in the sleeper berth provision that would allow drivers to split their off-duty time into an 8- and 2-hour, or 7- and 3-hour split, with neither period counting against the 14-hour driving window.
- Driver compensation—While drivers are benefiting from increased pay, there is concern that driver compensation has not kept pace with inflation and that drivers are not compensated adequately for non-driving duties such as detention wait times.
- Driver detention—Delays at customers’ facilities can negatively affect a driver’s ability to comply with the HOS rules and their earnings. Delays can also erode a motor carrier’s profitability.
- Truck parking—A lack of available truck parking creates a dilemma for drivers who are often forced to drive beyond allowable HOS rules or park in undesignated or unsafe locations.
- Infrastructure/congestion/funding—Poorly maintained roads and traffic congestion create wear and tear on vehicles, waste fuel and increase emissions, create additional stress for drivers, and negatively impact industry productivity.
You can request a copy of the complete report from the ATRI here: Critical Issues in the Trucking Industry – 2019.
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