The American Transportation Research Institute (ATRI) unveils the top challenges facing the trucking industry every year. Among these concerns, driver-centric issues remain at the forefront.
Running a trucking company is tough. Besides ensuring compliance, such as filing your form 2290 on time and getting all your licenses, you should be able to find strategic solutions to the major issues that the industry faces today.
Here is a list of the top 7 issues facing the trucking industry:
1. Driver Shortage/Retention
Driver shortage seems to be one of the major concerns facing the trucking industry for several years now. The shortage of truck drivers is expected to grow even more in the future. How do you solve this problem?
Driver compensation seems to be another key problem facing the trucking industry. Although driver pay has increased, ATRI found that several drivers felt the two issues were directly linked to each other (1).
Several companies are now offering better pay, benefits, and performance bonuses to their employees to tackle these problems. Other ways to reduce the shortage is recruiting younger drivers, having easier means to obtain a CDL, and recruiting minorities and women for the job.
2. Truck Parking
The lack of proper truck parking spaces forces truck drivers to park in unsafe and undesignated locations due to the lack of proper truck parking spaces. The shortage of safe parking spaces also causes drivers to work beyond HOS rules.
This issue has become more challenging for truck drivers as several states have closed public rest areas due to the pandemic.
3. Hours-of-service (HOS)
The hours-of-service issue was one of the major issues concerning the trucking industry and ranked in the top three spots for nine consecutive years (2).
In the recent year, HOS fell eight spots as the final HOS rule, which came into effect in September 2020, addressed many issues identified in previous years’ surveys, such as sleeper berth position, short-haul exception, and a 30-minute rest break.
HOS, however, continues to rank in the top ten trucking industry concerns.
4. Government Regulations
Most government regulations play a major role in making trucking better and safer. However, they also create many red tapes since federal, state, and local authorities govern these regulations besides the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA).
These regulations dictate everything from hours of service to e-log devices to minimum wage changes.
- Electronic logging requirements: The FMCSA states that e-log devices intend to establish a safe work environment for truck drivers and help accurately track, share, and manage records of duty status (RODS) data.
- HOS issues: The FMCSA has suggested increasing the shift timings, reassessing the role of involuntary breaks in shift lengths, and changing rules concerning breaks.
- Drug & alcohol sobriety tests: The drug and alcohol tests are a definite requirement to ensure road safety, but it goes without saying that these tests are an added expense to the trucking companies.
- Minimum wage changes: It varies from state to state.
It is important to have a safe and reliable infrastructure to run a successful trucking company. The trucking industry transports 71.4% of the US freight tonnage and 80.3% of freight revenues on the roadway infrastructure (3).
Congestion-related delays have increased the fuel consumption of the trucking industry by billions of gallons, resulting in hefty fuel bills. In addition, poorly maintained infrastructure and traffic congestion can cause damage to trucks, increase emissions, and waste fuel.
The US economy has ranked among the top 10 concerns facing the industry repeatedly. The rise of fuel prices has taken a toll on the industry, where fuel constitutes 22% of operating costs.
The continuing trade war with China, softer freight market, and the ratification of the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) have put a strain on the economy and subsequently the trucking industry, according to a 2019 survey.
The COVID-19 pandemic has caused the GDP to reach a new low, with unemployment becoming more prevalent than ever before and businesses shutting down permanently. Though things have improved in the third quarter, it is uncertain when the economy will bounce back to pre-COVID levels.
7. Compliance, Safety, Accountability (CSA)
CSA emerged as a top concern in ARTI’s 2020 report after falling out of the top 5 spots four years ago.
The survey respondents are working with The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) to improve their carrier prioritization methodology and expand and improve their Crash Preventability Determination Program.
The trucking industry faces challenges and concerns, just like every other industry. However, understanding the issues will give you a leg up on dealing with these concerns the right way to mitigate the risks they have on your business.
However, don’t forget to prioritize being tax compliant and make sure you file your form 2290 with a trusted e-file service provider such as eform2290.com.