Each year, the American Transportation Research Institute (ATRI) surveys trucking industry stakeholders to find out what they feel are the top issues in the trucking industry. A record 1,327 members of the industry responded to this year’s survey and the report presents the findings of those respondents. Access the full PDF of the report here.
The way the survey works is each respondent ranks their top three trucking industry issues. The issue that is ranked most important receives three points, an issue ranked second most important receives two points and the issue ranked third receives one point. The issue with the most points is deemed as the issue of top concern.
Here is a look at the top five issues:
- Hours-of-Service – Not surprisingly, the issue providing the trucking industry the most concern is the Hours of Service (HOS) rules, which were altered on July 1 of this year, much to the dismay of many in the industry. It wasn’t ranked in the top three as often as many would probably expect, but was listed on 58% of responses. The ATRI conducted a study that projected the restart changes alone would cost the industry $189 million. More than 30% of respondents believe a good fix to this issue would be to provide more innovative and flexible strategies rather than utilize a one-size fits all approach.
- CSA – The second highest ranking issue is Compliance, Safety, Accountability (CSA), which was the top issue in 2012. It was only ranked on 42% of respondents surveys, so there’s a big gap between HOS concerns and CSA concerns. CSA was first implemented nationally by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) in late 2010 and since then, industry groups have identified challenges that accompany it. Two of the biggest issues are the lack of crash accountability and the inability of CSA scores to accurately predict career safety performance.
- Driver Shortage – This issue was ranked in the top two spots of the ATRI report prior to the economic crash in 2008. Once the recession began, the driver shortage wasn’t as important, but as the economy continues to rebound, the importance of the issue keeps rising as well. The American Trucking Associations (ATA) estimate the driver shortage at between 20,000 and 25,000 drivers and 26% of respondents felt it was a big enough issue to list.
- Economy – A sign that the economy is recovering is the drop of this issue from number one from 2009-2011 down to third last year and fourth this year. ATA’s chief economist projects economic growth to continue, but the pace is just moderate. Roughly a quarter of respondents would like to see Congressional action to change its pattern of short term extensions and inaction that create economic uncertainty.
- Electronic Logging Device (ELD) Mandate – The ranking in the fifth spot is the highest rank of any issue related to onboard truck technology in the nine-year history of this survey. The FMCSA is expected to release a supplemental notice of proposed rulemaking that will address ELD performance standards and could force this issue higher up the list in future years.
The rest of the issues listed in the report include truck parking, driver retention, fuel supply/fuel prices, infrastructure/congestion/funding, driver health and wellness, driver distraction, sleep apnea screening/treatment, tort reform, redundant background checks and credentials and truck size/weight.
This report is a great tool for the trucking industry to be able to make adjustments as necessary to issues some may not even know existed.
“ATRI’s annual survey of top industry issues makes it easier for us to keep track of all the complex forces affecting motor carriers and drivers so that we can focus on running a safe and profitable industry,” said ATA Chairman Mike Card, President, Combined Transport, Inc., Central Point, Oregon.
“As we all know, the trucking industry constantly faces changes and challenges to how we operate safely and efficiently,” said ATA President and CEO Bill Graves. “However, our industry has always responded to these issues with determination and ATRI’s work gives us the information to decide where to focus our energies first and foremost.”
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