The shortage of truckers, the main concern of trucking
For the fifth year in a row, the driver shortage topped the American Transportation Research Institute (ATRI) annual Top Industry Issues report, a survey of more than 2,500 carriers, commercial drivers and other industry stakeholders. .
Unlike 2019 and 2020, where the margins between driver shortage and industry No. 2 issues were much closer and driver shortage only won 28.6% and 26.4% of the share total votes, respectively, the shortage of drivers totaled 47.4% of the total. share of votes in the 2021 poll.
“The contributors to this [driver] The shortages are endless, ”said Rebecca Brewster, President and COO of ATRI, in an educational session Sunday at the annual American Trucking Management Conference and Exhibition. Associations in Nashville. “The growing demand for freight, the shift to e-commerce which is leading to more local jobs which is hampering the recruitment of truck drivers, an aging workforce and we are not replacing the younger people we need to take these retirements into account. Brewster added that the pandemic has also created a backlog in the supply of drivers at training schools and state licensing agencies which have been temporarily closed.
Hugh Ekberg, President and CEO of CRST International, cited negative perceptions of truck driving as a career and advocated for including drivers under the age of 21 to help compensate for the problems supply chain across the country. “Age is not the number one indicator of safety, it is how a person thinks and behaves,” he said. “Some people will not be good, safe drivers, and many adults will be very safe drivers.”
Ekberg also said the ability to reach potential drivers at a younger age with a positive truck driving message is key to solving the driver shortage. The fact that the industry cannot actively recruit drivers while they are in high school is problematic, and often potential drivers choose different occupations – like plumbers or electricians – where their age is not a factor. “Attracting them 3 or 4 years later is very difficult… We have to do a better job of communicating what a great industry [trucking] is, how important it is to our economy and what a truly rewarding profession it can be, ”he said.
The driver shortage isn’t the only workforce concern noted in ATRI’s Top 10, as a diesel technician shortage cracked the list (No.10) for the first time. The US Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates that there will be more than 28,000 diesel service technician and mechanic positions for each of the next 10 years.
Driver issues topped ATRI’s Top 10 list in 2021, with driver retention and driver compensation ranking second and third. Top 10 for carriers surveyed but settled at No. 5 overall. Detention / delay at customer facilities was 7th on the list, up two places from last year.
“Retention comes down to consistency, transparency and communications,” said Bill Hambrick, corporate driver for Werner Enterprises and America’s Road team captain. He said drivers want a working relationship with employers – one in which their feedback is valued and transparency is established. “Communication is vital,” he said. “Without it, you are cutting off any means of saving your daily productivity.”
To complete the rest of the Top 10 list:
· N ° 4: Reform of the abuse of prosecutions (reform of tort liability), led by a 967% increase in the average size of jury verdicts between 2010 and 2018;
· No. 6: Compliance Safety and Accountability (CSA), down from No. 4 in 2020;
· # 8: Transport infrastructure / congestion / finance is back on the list after arguing last year;
· No. 9: Cost and availability of insurance, down from No. 5 last year.
For the third year in a row, distracted driving fell just outside the Top 10, ranking at No. 11. According to the latest data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), “9% of fatal crashes, 15% injuries and 15 percent of all traffic crashes reported by police in 2019 were reported as distraction-related crashes. ”
Fuel prices came in at No.12 and the economy (angst over inflation, supply chain disruptions, workforce challenges, and uncertainty over lingering impacts or long-term pandemic) is at No. 13.
ATRI’s annual survey of key industry issues asks respondents, including hauliers and drivers, to select their top three issues from a list of 30 pre-identified critical issues, then rank their three. preferred strategies corresponding to each selected problem. A problem ranked by a respondent as the most important receives three points, while a problem ranked second receives two points and a problem ranked third receives one point. The problem with the highest number of points is identified as the main problem in the industry.