Driver shortage, ELDs top ATRI list of top industry concerns

(Photo: Shutterstock)

(Photo: Shutterstock)

The driver shortage has surged to the most important issue facing the industry, according to the latest top ten critical issues survey, the American Transportation Research Institute (ATRI), said.

ATRI released its list on Monday at the American Trucking Associations' Management Conference and Exhibition in Orlando.

Also on the list was truck parking, electronic logging devices, driver health, parking, and hours of service.

To address the driver’s shortage, stakeholders recommend working with state and federal authorities to develop a graduated commercial driver’s license program to attract safe, younger drivers to the industry, and partnering with the U.S. Department of Labor to formalize a national driver recruitment program.

The last time the driver shortage was the top issue was 2006, which followed a year that saw turnover at 130%, according to Bob Costello, ATA’s chief economist. Costello, on Sunday at the ATA show, said the driver shortage is currently 50,000, but could balloon in the coming years. More than 50% of the nation’s truck drivers are over the age of 45 and just 4% are under the age of 24.

The ELD mandate was second on the list, but was the first item for commercial drivers; carriers ranked it number three. The lack of safe and available truck parking was fourth on the overall list, but second for drivers. Driver retention was fifth.

 “Identifying the right mix of partners and strategies to effectively address the driver shortage is one of our top goals for the industry,” said ATA President and CEO Chris Spear. "ATA and its federation partners rely on ATRI's annual analysis to ensure we successfully navigate the important issues now and into the future.”

Here’s the entire list:

  1. Driver shortage
  2. Electronic logging device mandate
  3. Hours of service
  4. Truck parking
  5. Driver retention
  6. Compliance, Safety, Accountability
  7. Cumulative economic impacts of regulations
  8. Driver distraction
  9. Infrastructure/congestion/funding
  10. Driver health/wellness

Other issues that received mention but didn’t make the top 10 was the economy, autonomous vehicles and diesel technician shortage.

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