ATRI Releases Annual Issues in Trucking Industry Report
ATRI Releases Annual Issues
in Trucking Industry Report
The American Transportation Research Institute (ATRI) released a survey in October containing the 2020 edition of critical issues in the trucking industry. The trucking industry has relied on this survey to identify the most critical issues as well as preferred strategies for addressing each issue. This year the most critical issues, ranked in order from 1 to 10, are Driver Shortage, Driver Compensation, Truck Parking, CSA, Insurance Cost/Availability, Driver Retention, Tort Reform, Economy, Detention/Delay and Hours-of-Service.
Ranked as the top concern, driver shortage remains a significant issue. With drivers leaving the industry due to the FMCSA Drug and Alcohol Clearinghouse and older drivers retiring or exiting the industry over COVID-related health concerns, the driver shortage only worsens in 2020. The ATRI proposed advocating for Congress and federal agencies to develop an apprenticeship program to attract, train and retain safe 18 to 20-year-old interstate drivers to the industry.
Driver compensation climbed to the number two issue. In the latest Driver Compensation analysis from the American Trucking Association, the average annual pay for a national truckload solo van driver was nearly $58,000 in 2019. Many drivers believe the driver shortage and compensation are linked. The ATRI proposes researching and assessing the effectiveness of career retention programs that financially incentive drivers for performance in the areas of safety, fuel economy, and trip productivity. Driver compensation is not limited to direct driver pay and many fleets utilize performance bonuses.
The lack of available truck parking has proven to be a serious issue and ranks third according to ATRI research. Due to COVID-19, a number of states have closed public rest areas, reducing capacity of available parking. ATRI identified strategic locations to help expand truck parking capacity and addressed the shortage of available truck parking. The Atlanta Regional Truck Parking Assessment Study identified current truck parking inventories and projected future truck parking deficits. This allows states to target the best locations.
Due to the pandemic, it became more important for fleets to retain their best drivers. Driver retention ranked sixth overall. In order to retain drivers, the ATRI proposed researching and prioritizing retention strategies based on driver feedback. Some retention strategies fleets are deploying, beyond increasing pay, are more home time, newer equipment, and health and wellness programs focused on improving drivers’ quality of life while on the road.
Ranked seventh overall, Tort reform remerged after not making the list since 2012. The return is reflective of the growing concern over truck crash litigation. ATRI’s nuclear verdicts research found that from 2010 to 2018, the size of verdict awards grew 51.7 percent annually while traditional inflation grew just 1.7 percent and healthcare costs grew 2.9 percent.
Detention/Delay at Customer facilities remains an issue for commercial driver and ranked ninth on this year’s list. ATRI’s research indicated that detention times were worse during the pandemic. This impact was even more pronounced for smaller fleets; 73 percent of those who reported increased detention times during the pandemic were from fleets of 50 or fewer trucks. ATRI proposed examining the potential for creation of a “Shipper of Choice” database to reduce detention times for carriers and drivers.
Finally, Hours-of-Service ranked tenth overall. The June 2020 final HOS rule, which went into effect September 29, 2020, addressed many of the issues identified by industry stakeholders as problematic in previous years’ surveys. The final rule changed four specific provisions in the HOS rules including: the short-haul exception, the adverse driving conditions exception, the 30-minute rest break, and the sleeper berth provision.
To read the full report click here