Each year, the American Transportation Research Institute (ATRI) releases a comprehensive report based on industry surveys shedding light on the issues affecting the supply chain. While many of the top issues affect shippers and 3PL companies, several have a significant impact on the more than 3.5 million carriers who haul freight across the country.
You can read the full 25-page report here, but we understand you’re likely short on time — especially if you’re one of the carriers who works upwards of 70 hours a week — so we took the time to condense these issues here for you. It’s just one of the ways we’re taking part in National Truck Driver Awareness Week.
Take a look at some of the most pressing issues facing carriers in the industry today.
ELD Mandate/Hours of Service (HOS)
Electronic logging devices (ELDs) are used to track and collect data including Hours of Service (HOS), another key issue for carriers. Together, ELD and HOS took the number two and three spots respectively on the ATRI top issues survey.
We’ve previously covered the relatively new ELD mandate requirements that officially took effect in December of 2017. These mandates are especially concerning for small businesses and carriers who own their own companies as these mandates threaten to put certain vehicles out of service if they don’t comply. Carriers are limited on the number of hours they can drive without rest, and ELDs are there to keep a closer, stricter eye on carriers as they work.
Truck parking: This is no compact problem
Ranking at number four on the ATRI list is the availability of parking for trucks, an issue that can cost the industry upwards of $5 billion every year. Surveys have shown that almost half of truckers spend an hour or more searching for parking, which is 10 percent of their daily HOS limit. This issue has attracted the attention of Congress, which released the Jason’s Law Truck Parking Survey Results and Comparative Analysis in 2015. This survey demonstrated the need for more parking areas, rest stops and other facilities to help truckers get off the road when they need to.
Driver distraction needs all our full attention
Number eight on the list is distracted driving, both on the part of commercial and passenger vehicles. About 3,450 people were killed by distracted drivers in 2016 according to the ATRI report. Although this was a 2.2% decrease over the previous year, just one life lost is simply too many. That’s why carriers, shippers, 3PLs and organizations like the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration are pursuing new ways to bring awareness to the issue (April is Distracted Driving Awareness Month) and create legislation that makes our roads safer for everyone.
Infrastructure, congestion and funding (oh my!)
America’s infrastructure is one of the most important aspects of our economy. [MOU1] The trucking industry employs millions of people and moves nearly 10.5 billion tons of freight annually (nearly 71% of all freight tonnage). Truckers travel 450 billion miles on over 4 million miles of roadways in the U.S. in a single year. Funding that keeps these roads and bridges up to date and free from congestion will help:
- Reduce wear and tear on vehicles
- Reduce stress for carriers
- Increase productivity across many industries
- Decrease emissions and fuel use
Although funding for road maintenance and expansion is limited, federal agencies can maximize the use of these funds by focusing on the most well-known bottlenecks in the U.S., opening up the roads for more carriers to move across the country more efficiently.
Driver health and wellness: It’s time for a check up
Last on the list of major issues (but certainly not least) is driver health and wellness. The ATRI report notes that up to 20% of drivers will leave the profession due to health issues, adding to the already increasing capacity crunch and driver shortage experienced across the industry. When decreases in carriers are combined with regulations like ELD and HOS, drivers are stretched to their absolute limit while trying to haul the nation’s freight. In order for drivers to maintain their health, they should get to know the top health issues truckers face, which include:
- Skin cancer
- High blood pressure
Haul for a company who cares for the long haul
At King Solutions, we provide new opportunities for carriers and a whole host of perks that keep them coming back for more. Most importantly, we care for our carriers and treat them with the respect a partner deserves. To learn more about why carriers love to work with King, head over to our carriers page and check out all the great benefits.