ATRI’s List of Top Trucking Concerns of 2014: Wadhams’ Response
Since 2005, the American Transportation Research Institute (ATRI) has been involved in monitoring and surveying transportation industry concerns, with the goal of better understanding the needs and priorities of American transport workers.
The institute recently unveiled its findings regarding the Top 10 Trucking Concerns for 2014, and the most popular of proposed strategies for addressing them:
- Hours of Service (HOS) HOS has long been a concern for survey respondents—consistently ranking in the top five since the ATRI survey began in 2005. It previously topped the list in 2007 and again in 2013 as a direct result of new legislation to limit driving hours, and has remained a top concern because of its impact on carrier productivity and drivers’ pay.
- Driver Shortage Another long-standing presence in the top-five since 2005 (with the exception of 2009), the driver shortage continues to be a source of hardship for the industry, with numerous carriers turning away revenue and loads—with a commensurate impact on economic growth—as a result of a lack of trained and qualified drivers. Unfortunately, it is predicted that this will remain a top concern as the shortage is expected to worsen in the coming years, in large part due to driver retirements, which are expected to account for 37 percent of new driver demand each year over the next decade.
- Compliance, Safety, Accountability (CSA) A top concern since the national implementation of FMCSA in 2010, CSA concerns include the fact that the percentile scores in Behavioral Analysis and Safety Improvement Categories (BASICs) do not correlate with carrier crash risk, but rather reflects an inverse relationship. A second concern is the effectiveness of state enforcement priorities on safety performance.
- Driver Retention A recent addition to the Top 5, driver retention has become a greater priority as a result of concern about driver shortages, and the related need to retain skilled and experienced drivers.
- Electronic Logging Device (ELD) Mandate The passage of the Moving Ahead with Progress in the 21st Century Act (MAP-21) in 2012 included a requirement that FMCSA issue a final rule on ELD use for tracking hours of service. Since then, the ELD mandate has been a top concern, as the industry continues to await FMCSA’s ruling.
- Truck Parking 2012’s new hours-of-service rules requiring drivers to take rest breaks and off-duty time raised awareness of the scarcity of safe and available parking for trucks. The dilemma this creates for drivers—forcing them to choose between parking in undesignated areas and continuing to drive, in violation of HOS limits, to find safe and designated parking—makes it a top concern for the industry.
- Transportation / Infrastructure / Congestion / Funding Road maintenance, improvements and funding are a widely-shared priority for many in the transportation industry, making it no surprise that they rank in the Top 10 list of concerns (where they have been since the survey began in 2005).
- Driver Health / Wellness For the third year in a row, driver health and wellness has made the top ten list. Its high priority as a concern is likely related to issues of driver retention and shortage, safety concerns and potential health issues related to challenges of the truck driving.
- Economy Growing confidence in the economy and more pressing concerns about daily operational issues have contributed to this item’s drop in recent years, from the second spot (where it emerged in 2008) to third (in 2012), fourth (in 2013), and ninth (in 2014).
- Driver Distraction An issue that originated on this list in 2012 —but for the first time is in the Top 10—driver distraction remains a concern as awareness about the dangers of texting and driving (among other distractions) gains increased attention in news media.
Other issues—including fuel prices, sleep apnea and treatment, and independent contractor status—remain sources of concern, but ATRI’s list provides a great overview of the priorities that industry members feel need to be addressed.
For more information on strategies proposed to resolve these issues (and survey results showing which were preferred by a wider audience), check out ATRI’s full report [link].
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