Top 10 Priorities for the Distribution Industry
The American Transportation Research Institute (ATRI) published its paper on critical issues in the trucking industry.
It listed the following priorities:
1) Driver Shortage
Improving U.S. economic growth has many in the industry concerned that the demand for truck drivers will further outpace the supply of qualified drivers. The American Trucking Association (ATA) estimates a shortfall of 48,000 drivers.
2) Electronic Logging Device (ELD) Mandate
It’s clear that many in the industry remain concerned about the costs associated with deploying ELDs, what deployment will mean for industry productivity, and how the data collected will be used beyond HOS compliance.
3) Hours of Service (HOS)
HOS remains in the top three industry issues for the seventh consecutive year, which may be underscored once all drivers are on electronic logs.
4) Truck Parking
The lack of truck parking creates a dangerous, costly situation for truck drivers who are often forced to drive beyond HOS rules or park in undesignated and, sometimes, unsafe locations. ELD’s will have an impact as well. ATRI cites one driver, “ELD leaves no room for dealing with full truck stops making it nearly impossible to preplan.”
5) Driver Retention
Driver retention remains a top priority for the trucking industry. Driver turnover surged through the first half of 2017 after falling in 2016, indicating that the driver market has tightened considerably over the year.
6) Compliance, Safety, Accountability (CSA)
After falling out of the top five issues in 2016, CSA held steady as the sixth-ranked issue facing the trucking industry in 2017.
7) Cumulative Economic Impacts of Trucking Regulations on the Industry
This dropped in rank from third and is likely attributable to the industry’s sense that a change in administrations holds hope for reduced regulatory activity, including the White House Executive Order requiring federal agencies to remove two regulations for each new regulation proposed.
8) Driver Distraction
Distracted driving and its impact on highway safety remained a key priority for the trucking industry in 2017. 3,450 people were killed in motor vehicle crashes involving distracted drivers in 2016, and distracted driving remains a significant safety issue.
9) Transportation Infrastructure/Congestion/Funding
The trucking industry hauls 66% of the nation’s freight tonnage and 73% of freight value, so the state of the nation’s roadways is critical. Poorly maintained roads and traffic congestion cause wear on vehicles, waste fuel, and create additional stress for drivers.
10) Driver Health and Wellness
Driver health and wellness moved back into the top 10 in 2017, as roughly 20 percent of drivers who leave their jobs cite health problems as a factor in their decision. In addition to lifestyle benefits, an improvement in driver health may also have positive implications for industry safety as research has identified a positive correlation between driver health and driver safety.