Those in the trucking industry have become all too familiar with the hours-of-service regulation, which allows drivers 14 hours on-duty a day with 11 of those hours consisting of driving time. They must then shut down for a 10 hour break regardless of where he or she is at, which makes detention an even stronger issue within the industry, eating up a driver’s time and often leaving them stranded as they wait to be loaded/unloaded. With electronic logging devices now in effect, drivers and companies must strictly adhere to the rules or else face citations/penalties. But all that may change.
The trucking industry’s driver shortage is not going away. In fact, recent projections from the American Trucking Association (ATA) indicate that the shortage is expected to double over the next decade. This has been an ongoing issue and trucking companies are looking for ways to recruit drivers —as we have discussed many times before. Trucking companies have expanded their recruiting efforts and have begun to target a segment of the population that has since been ignored in this industry— WOMEN.1 Women have been fighting to be equal to men in every industry, why not the trucking industry too?!
The ATA recently released its “American Trucking Trends 2019” report, reflecting 2018 trucking industry numbers. Here are the key takeaways:
*Last year proved to be a strong year for trucking with revenue increasing 12.2% year-over-year to $796.7 billion (nearly $100 billion more over 2017) and accounting for 80.3% of freight spending in the country! (1)
The trucking industry’s driver shortage is not going away and it will be a huge topic of discussion for a long time; unless changes are made that is. This shortage goes back to 2005 when it was just around 20,000. In 2008, the United States went through a recession where fewer drivers were needed due to the fall in industry volumes. Once the economy started to recovery and increase, so did the driver shortage; they go hand in hand. The shortage skyrocketed to 50,700 in 2017 due to the increase in industry volumes. Since then the trucking industry has continued to struggle with driver shortage. By the end of 2019, there should be a slight decrease in the driver shortfall but not significant enough to fix the issue. If these current trends hold, the shortage can increase to over 160,000 by 2028 if no changes are made.
There may be a change in store for truck drivers’ maximum drive time. Right now, the federal regulations allow drivers to have only a certain number of working hours. Not following these regulations can result in a driver being declared “out of service” for a day or even longer; which of course is an inconvenience for their company but also money out of their pocket 1. These regulations can potentially keep drivers from their destination and families, even by just five minutes. They have to pull over and park for the required ten hours before they can drive again 1. Drivers are now looking for flexibility in the regulations so that the 5 minutes won’t affect them as much and can make it to their destination.
The driver shortage in the trucking industry is a problem that every trucking company, large and small, has to deal with. There are many reasons that this shortage has come about, but the newest trend to affect the industry is the acceptance by states of marijuana use. Legalization of recreational marijuana by states is making it even harder for the trucking industry to find drug- free drivers.(1) Trucking companies have safety guidelines to meet and the possibility of having impaired drivers will not help them do so.
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) wants your input! Published in the Federal Register on June 10th, the agency is seeking comments regarding “data sources, methodologies and potential technologies that could provide insight into loading and unloading delays experienced by [commercial motor vehicle] drivers,” including the frequency and severity detention has on drivers. (1)
The trucking industry as a whole is growing, creating a high demand for drivers. The majority of the drivers are currently those of the baby boomer generation which is on the decline. The industry now needs to look at the millennial generation to take over and keep up with the demand. “The millennial generation could hold the key to the trucking industry’s need for new drivers. Not only is there a place for them behind the wheel, but a trucking career is also full of unique benefits and perks that can help millennials build a great resume, earn valuable experience, and make a sustainable living at the same time.”1
In the U.S. cargo theft regularly spikes over Memorial Day weekend, particularly in trucking. The reason behind this spike is the increased number of shipments that are left unattended over the holiday. There are not many places open during this holiday weekend which means a lot of trucks are parked in unsecured parking lots making them more vulnerable. Between 2013 and 2019 there have been 126 thefts reported over Memorial Day weekend with a combined value of approximately $20.36 million,1. Experts say the best ways to ward off these Memorial Day thieves includes GPS Tacking, not leaving trucks unattended or unlocked, and verifying the authenticity of shipments and the drivers. That’s where Road Scholar Transport has you covered.
Congressional leaders and President Trump came to an agreement to seek a $2 trillion infrastructure bill. There is no agreement on how to pay for the improvement of the nation’s roads, bridges, waterways, and broadband. A meeting will be held to determine funding for the package and also what types of projects should be included.
Summer time is generally seen as a happier time of the year. It means the sun is shining, trips to the beach and lots of outdoor activities. Children are off from school and families are together. It’s viewed as a time with less stress and more fun. Unless you need to ship a product that is temperature sensitive.
The month of August will bring a huge change to Compliance, Safety and Accountability program scores as assessed by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA). Drivers will now have the benefit of a new "not preventable" classification for eight different types of crashes. The change was made based on "positive feedback from industry stakeholders," said Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao at the 2019 Mid America Trucking Show on March 29 of this year.
The Arlington, Virginia-based American Transportation Research Institute (ATRI) determined four major issues affecting the trucking industry in 2019. These concerns include 1. vehicle parking, 2. the safety of young truck drivers, 3. truck safety tech ROI and 4. the impact of litigation that is successful against trucking companies.
Last week, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) announced that the agency was in the process of creating a notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM) which would bring about major changes to Hours-of-Service regulations for truck drivers. While exact changes that the agency is looking to reform have not yet been made available, greater flexibility for on and off-duty time was one of the initiatives FMCSA Administrator Ray Martinez hinted at during a speech he made at the Omnitracs User Conference in Dallas. (1) A NPRM was expected to publish this month but the partial government shutdown may cause a delay.