Every year, the American Transportation Research Institute (ATRI) releases its top 10 critical issues within the trucking industry. This year, the driver shortage problem soared six slots to overtake electronic logging devices (ELDs) as the number one concern. Another interesting note was the rise of concern surrounding autonomous vehicles. While it did not concern motor carriers, a significant number of truck drivers voiced their apprehension pushing this issue to the twelfth top ranking concern within the industry.

ATRI’s Top 10 for 2017

The following are the top issues facing the trucking industry according to ATRI’s annual report:

  • Driver shortage
  • ELD mandate
  • Hours of service
  • Truck parking
  • Driver retention
  • CSA
  • Cumulative economic impact of trucking regulations
  • Driver distraction
  • Transportation infrastructure/congestion/funding
  • Driver health and wellness

Strategies to Combat the Driver Shortage

ATRI’s list provides much more than survey results. The research institute offers several approaches to try to contend with the trucking industry issues. Their primary line of defense regarding the driver shortage is to advocate for authorities at the state and federal level to develop a graduated CDL program. This can help attract younger, safe drivers. An aging demographic comprises an alarming percentage of truck drivers. More than 25 percent of drivers are over the age of 55, meaning a new wave of retirees is about to compound the driver shortage problem. Sixty percent of ATRI’s respondents indicated the best way to battle the issue is to entice a new, younger generation to join the ranks of truck drivers.

The next most supported solution was to create a national truck driver recruitment program. The U.S. Department of Labor indicated trucking will experience significant job growth between 2014 and 2024. A survey by the American Trucking Association validated this belief as it estimated the industry will need 890,000 drivers to maintain its present workforce. As such, almost a fourth of respondents believe a national recruiting program can help bring in a steady stream of new truck drivers the industry needs. Another proposed solution was to reduce the amount of red tape involved in obtaining a commercial driver’s license (CDL).

Whatever route(s) the industry chooses to take, something must be done to address the shortage. To stay up to date with the latest challenges facing the trucking industry, contact the experts at Envirun.