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What are trucking’s biggest worries?

Here are the 10 biggest worries in the trucking industry.
/ Industry News & Trends /

By: Phil Sneed

A recent survey from the American Transportation Research Institute revealed the 10 biggest worries throughout the industry, and many are the result of federal regulations.

The survey garnered 3,200 responses from industry executives and commercial drivers. Fleet Owner, citing the ATRI study, laid out the 10 biggest worries in order:

  • Electronic logging device mandate
  • Hours of service rules
  • Economic impacts of regulations on trucking industry
  • U.S. economy
  • The Compliance Safety Accountability program
  • Driver shortage
  • Issues with driver retention
  • Traffic congestion, infrastructure and funding
  • Distraction of drivers

The ELD mandate

Nearly 65 percent of survey respondents are worried about the productivity impact that might be the result of the ELD mandate. While the mandatory implementation date isn't until Dec. 1, 2017, companies are already examining the potential impact of this particular federal rule.

The ELD mandate will automatically record the amount of time a driver spends behind the wheel. Miles driven, location and vehicle movement are also collected. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration stated that by using ELDs, drivers will comply with hours of service regulations to ensure they aren't fatigued while on the job. They would also be required to take a break and have a sufficient rest period before getting behind the wheel.

"65 percent of survey respondents are worried about the productivity impact of ELD."

However, industry professionals are worried the ELD mandate will lead to an approximate 3 percent to 5 percent decline in productivity. According to Fleet Owner, smaller carriers may even be impacted more severely with productivity declining 6 percent to 10 percent.

For some independent carriers, the ELDs also mean less flexibility. Those in the industry will have to closely keep an eye on how severe declines in productivity are once Dec. 1, 2017 arrives.

The ELD mandate may then also shed more light on the hours of service regulation. This specific regulation remains a top issue because there is still uncertainty over the final rule.

Economic worries

The gross domestic product has grown by less than 2 percent in recent years. And for the trucking industry, this subpar growth simply isn't enough for a positive outlook. With many businesses still feeling uncertain about the economy, any economic changes in the coming months will have an impact on trucking.

The economy also has a direct impact on infrastructure spending, and current gridlock in Congress has made infrastructure spending sparse

Old roads are more prone to heavy traffic, and congestion costs the trucking industry about $49.6 billion every year.

This survey matters because it helps companies and organizations like the American Trucking Associations get a better idea of goals and policies to focus on. In a press release, ATA president and CEO Chris Spear further elaborated.

"Knowing what the industry is concerned about, and what strategies it views as most promising for addressing each issue, allows ATA and its Federation partners in the states to better focus our collective efforts on behalf of motor carriers and their employees," said Chris Spear. "The ATRI survey results provide the roadmap we need to put wins on the board for this industry and the nation's economy as a whole."