The American Transportation Research Institute (ATRI) has released its annual list of the top critical issues facing the trucking industry.
The ATRI’s “Critical Issues in the Trucking Industry — 2019” list was compiled using more than 2000 survey responses from both motor carriers and and commercial vehicle drivers.
While Hours of Service concerns and Driver Shortage worries remained at the top of the list for consecutive years, two new trucking issues appears on the ATRI’s list for the first time ever — Driver Compensation and Detention/Delay at Customer Facilities.
You can view the 2019 rankings below.
10. Economy — According to the ATRI, several factors including a softer freight market, a trade war with China, and drone strikes on Saudi Arabian oil facilities have truckers concerned about how the health of the U.S. economy could impact trucking.
9. Transportation Infrastructure/Congestion/Funding — Simply put, bad roads make life harder for truckers. The ATRI says that “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.”
8. Compliance, Safety, and Accountability (CSA) — Concerns over CSA fell from #6 in 2018 to #8 in the 2019 rankings.
7. The Electronic Logging Device Mandate — This was the #1 critical issue in 2016 but has steadily slid down the rankings since. The issue still makes the Top 10 list as December 16, 2019 is deadline for fleets to transition from grandfathered AOBRD devices to FMCSA approved ELDs.
6. Driver Retention — A softer freight market in 2019 led to less driver turnover, so Driver Retention dropped from #3 on the list in 2018 to #6 on the list in 2019.
5. Truck Parking — This long-standing problem in the trucking industry “creates a dangerous and costly dilemma for truck drivers who are often forced to drive beyond allowable HOS rules or park in undesignated and, in many cases, unsafe locations,” the ATRI says.
4. Detention/Delay at Customer Facilities — This marks the first time that this critical concern has ever made the ATRI’s top ten list. The ATRI references a previous study that showed that driver detention of 6 or more house increased by 27.4% between 2014 and 2018.
3. Driver Compensation — This is the first time in the history of the survey that driver compensation has appeared on the list. The ATRI points out that fleets have significantly increased driver pay but that many drivers still feel that their pay is not keeping up with inflation.
2. Hours of Service — Hours of Service regulations stayed at the #2 spot in the rankings for the second year in a row. This is no surprise in a year during which the FMCSA debuted a long-awaited Advanced Notice of Proposed Rulemaking that could alter controversial requirements like the 30 minute rest break and the split sleeper berth provision.
1. Driver Shortage — While many groups like OOIDA say that the perceived driver shortage is really a driver retention and pay problem, the issue nevertheless reached the top of the ATRI rankings for the third year in a row. The ATRI says that “despite a somewhat softer freight market in 2019 over 2018, demand for qualified drivers is still high and fleets are undertaking a number of approaches to mitigate the recruiting challenges.
“While 2018 was an incredible year for trucking, we’ve seen some challenges in 2019 and certainly finding and retaining qualified drivers remains at the top of the list for our industry, said Barry Pottle, ATA Chairman and president and CEO of Pottle’s Transportation. “ATRI’s analysis reveals the interconnectedness of these top issues and provides a roadmap for how motor carriers and professional drivers believe we should move forward as an industry.”
You can click here for more information on the survey results.