The American Transportation Research Institute, the trucking industry’s not-for-profit research institute, today unveiled its annual Top Industry Issues report, which includes the list of the top ten critical issues facing the North American trucking industry. For the third year in a row, the driver shortage is the top-ranked issue for trucking fleets, as they struggle to recruit and retain qualified drivers.
The Hours-of-Service rules held on to the #2 issue in the survey for a second consecutive year, reflecting the industry’s call for additional flexibility in the rules, particularly the sleeper berth provision.
Two new issues appeared on this year’s list for the first time ever, ones that also impact the industry’s ability to recruit and retain qualified drivers; Driver Compensation and Detention / Delay at Customer Facilities. Driver Compensation ranked third overall and represents two sides to a complex issue; motor carriers who have raised driver pay significantly over the past year in response to the driver shortage and drivers who are concerned that their pay has not kept pace with inflation. Driver detention at customer facilities, making its debut at #4 on this year’s list, reflects growing concern over excessive delays that create cascading impacts for drivers’ hours-of-service compliance, compensation, and ability to find safe, available truck parking.
The lack of available truck parking rounds out the top five issues on this year’s list, but ranks 3rdamong commercial driver respondents after compensation and HOS rules.
The complete results of the annual survey, which generated more than 2,000 responses from motor carriers and commercial drivers, were released today at the 2019 American Trucking Associations’ Management Conference and Exhibition in San Diego, California. Now in its 15th year, the ATRI Top Industry Issues report also includes prioritized strategies for addressing each issue.
“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.”