Just last week, the folks from the American Trucking Associations (ATA) and the American Transportation Research Institute (ATRI) released their annual report on the “Top 10 Issues” facing the trucking community. This report includes the findings of a survey that is conducted each year and compares it to the data from previous years to reveal the top 10 issues as reported by trucking companies and commercial drivers. Let’s take a look at the list for 2017….
- Driver Shortage
- ELD Mandate
- Hours-of-Service (HOS)
- Truck Parking
- Driver Retention
- Compliance, Safety, Accountability (CSA)
- Cumulative Economic Impacts of Trucking Regulations on the Industry
- Driver Distraction
- Transportation Infrastructure / Congestion / Funding
- Driver Health and Wellness
Really, what we see a lot of times from these lists are a re-shuffling of concerns based upon the current state of the industry. Last year, the ELD Mandate and Hours-of-Service (HOS) were #1 and #2. This year, as the deadline for the ELD Mandate is upon us and has already been addressed by many fleets, we see Driver Shortage move back up to the top spot. It’s also worth pointing out that most of these different issues are interrelated. For example, most of the top 6 on this list all play into #7, which is the Cumulative Economic Impacts of Trucking Regulations on the Industry.
Also, as you can imagine, #1 and #5 go hand-in-hand as companies try hard to be innovative in recruiting and keeping truck drivers. the ATA has indicated that the driver shortfall could reach 50,000 positions by the end of this year and if trends hold, will grow to more than 174,000 by 2026. Not only is there a shortage on finding drivers, but this is even more of a concern when it comes to finding qualified drivers. It is predicted that trucking companies will have to continue to increase wages over the next 2-3 years if they want to make any significant progress on addressing the driver shortage.
Also reappearing on the list and cracking the Top 10 was Driver Health and Wellness. Again, this is one that can directly impact most of the others on the list. For example, many drivers choose to or are forced to exit the trucking industry because of health concerns. Additionally, fatigue and poor general health can make Driver Distraction that much more of a concern when operating a semi truck.
In one article ATRI labeled this list as “the perfect storm,” but most are nothing new. These are concerns that have plagued the trucking for several years now and ones that the the industry will continue to address in the coming years.
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