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.
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.
FleetNet America and the American Trucking Associations’ Technology & Maintenance Council collaborated on a benchmarking study that found a continued increase in the average cost of mechanical trucking repairs. Costs rose in the industry for the second quarter in a row. The Truckload Vertical Benchmarking Study covered events in the fourth quarter of 2018.
Rhode Island Tolls
Three years ago, a proposal was brought forth that would install toll fees on trucks traveling within Rhode Island as part of a $5-billion RhodeWorks Infrastructure Plan. The tolls kicked off this week, charging truckers $3.25 and $3.50 near exits 2 and 5 on I-95. While only charging truckers “once per day in each direction,” opponents are rallying against the tolls arguing that truckers should not have to endure the entire burden when they make up only 2% of the traffic on that strip of the interstate (1, 2). Additionally, congestion will get even worse as trucks try to avoid toll roads. According to The Providence Journal, the Rhode Island Trucking Association President Chris Maxwell stated that truckers were “more than likely” to take court action against the tolls. (3)
Did you know that overweight trucks are involved in more crashes compared to the standard trucks? Overweight trucks are more difficult to stop or avoid a collision in case of emergency. They can damage the brake and steering system of the truck and the accidents are usually more catastrophic due to their size and weight. Not only would you face heavy fines but there is a possibility of the truck drivers getting arrested for driving an overweight truck.
Freight Index: According to the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Bureau of Transportation Statistics, freight transported via trucks, rail, air, waterways and pipelines decreased nationwide by 0.8% in June.1 The loss was mainly suffered by trucks and waterways while freight via air, intermodal and rail carloads saw an increase in freight.1