In its annual survey, the American Transportation Research Institute (ATRI) — a research wing of the American Trucking Association (ATA) — figured out that the driver shortage problem has become the biggest concern in America’s trucking industry.
And in doing so, the driver shortage problem has officially overtaken other prominent issues, such as the upcoming ELD mandate and Hours-of-Service regulations, which are now ranked as #2 and #3 respectively.
The report is based on a survey that was conducted in U.S., Mexico, and Canada. 1,557 people responded to the questions. Respondents included motor carriers, drivers, and industry insiders.
Let’s dive deeper and see what else the report has to say.
The ATRI report came out last month on the second day of the American Trucking Association’s Management Conference & Exhibition that took place in Orlando, Fla.
The report begins with an overview of how the year 2017 performed as far as the trucking industry goes. It also highlighted all the key regulations that took place during the period. The report also mentioned the struggle of OOIDA against the ELD mandate that ultimately ended in vain.
“The past year has seen continued legislative and regulatory activity affecting the trucking industry. However, unlike recent years, much of the regulatory activity in 2017 brought resolution to several critical industry challenges. Chief among these actions was a final determination on the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) Hours-of-Service (HOS) provisions, the removal of the barriers toward the implementation of FMCSA’s Electronic Logging Device (ELD) mandate, and a final rule on the minimum entry-level CDL training requirements,” highlights the report.
The publication then went on to rank the top 10 most critical issues in the trucking industry for the year 2017. Suggestions and recommendations were also presented in the report for each of the top 10 issues.
Regarding the driver shortage problem, Chris Spear, the ATA’s Chief Executive, said:
“Identifying the right mix of partners and strategies to effectively address the driver shortage is one of our top goals for the industry.”
Here are the top 10 critical trucking industry issues for the current year, according to the ATRI report, and the recommended suggestions for each problem.
Driver shortage surges to take the top position being the severest issue concerning motor carriers this year. In the report, the American Trucking Associations (ATA) estimates a shortfall of 48,000 drivers. It also projects that the shortage could increase to 175,000 by 2026. Now, that’s an alarming situation!
The report proposed the following strategies to combat the driver shortage problem:
The ELD mandate — which was the biggest issue in 2016 — now fell down to the number two position. This is despite the mandate coming into full effect on December 18, 2017. The report analyzes that the ELD mandate is still an issue because the cost of ELD implementation concerns some fleets.
To deal with the matter, the report proposes the following actions:
Hours-of-service ranks third this time — being in the top three critical issues for the seventh consecutive year. This is because, “due in large part to the industry’s desire for increased flexibility in the rules,” the report concludes.
The following strategies were presented in the ATRI report to counter concerns regarding HOS regulations:
The report notes that the growing need for parking of trucks and the scarcity of the available space create “a dangerous and costly situation for truck drivers who are often forced to drive beyond allowable HOS rules or park in undesignated and, in many cases, unsafe locations.”
The following suggestions might improve the situation:
“As such, it was not surprising to see Driver Retention move up three spots in 2017, ranking as the fifth biggest industry concern,” shares the report.
Driver retention is a real issue that impacts the growth of trucking businesses considerably. Carriers are finding it more and more difficult to retain good drivers, which amplifies the driver shortage problem even more.
Following are some tips that the ATRI report recommend:
In 2016, the CSA issue was in the top five. The FMCSA recently introduced a Crash Accountability Pilot Program that allows carriers to request a review for potentially non-preventable crashes. This pilot program has brought down the CSA issue to the number six position.
Furthermore, to improve the performance in this regard, here are some suggestions:
Trucking regulations earlier took the third spot, but now has settled at seventh in the order. This demotion is perhaps due to the White House Executive Order that requires federal agencies to ‘remove two regulations for each new regulation proposed.’
“Nonetheless, the costs associated with regulations continues as a top 10 concern for the industry,” says the report.
The proposed strategies for this are:
Driver distraction continues to be the Achilles heels for motor carriers. It is the eighth biggest concern in 2017. Last year, 3,450 people were killed in motor vehicle crashes because of driver distraction.
Let’s hope the following suggestions mentioned in the ATRI report help the issue:
According to the ATRI report, “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.”
The report suggests two possible solutions for this:
It is estimated that 20 percent of drivers who leave their jobs cite health problems as an important factor in their decision. This is why the health and wellness of drivers make it into the top 10 biggest trucking industry issues for the year 2017.
The report suggests the following:
Although driver shortage has officially overtaken other prominent issues, such as ELD mandate and hours-of-service rules, truckers still need to prepare for them before December 18, 2017.
The ELD mandate compliance date is just over a month away. If you haven’t installed electronic logging devices yet, it is time to hustle.