The American Transportation Research Institute (“ATRI”) released its 16th top industry issues report, “Critical Issues in the Trucking Industry – 2020” which identifies a number of the industry’s key concerns including the driver shortage, truck parking, driver compensation and retention and for the first time since 2005, insurance costs. From the press release:

    For the fourth year in a row, the driver shortage was the top industry issue overall, as well as topping the motor carrier list of concerns, highlighting the challenges fleets face in recruiting new talent and keeping their current drivers. In fact, driver retention was carriers’ number two issue, and sixth on the combined list. Among the 1,000+ truck drivers who responded to the survey, truck parking, driver
    compensation and detention issues were their top concerns. In all, ATRI received responses from 3,122 truck drivers, motor carriers, and other industry stakeholders – an all-time record for the 16-year-old survey.

    “Having such a robust sample gives us a very accurate picture of what issues are of most concern to the trucking industry,” said ATRI President and COO Rebecca Brewster. “With this information, the industry can best target its resources to address trucking’s concerns.”
    This year, for the first time since 2005, insurance cost and availability appeared in the top concerns – hitting fifth in the combined top 10 and fourth in the carrier concern list. In addition, tort reform appeared in the survey’s top 10 for the first time since 2011 – hitting seventh in the
    combined list and fifth in the carrier list.

    “The impacts of litigation and growth of nuclear verdicts in the trucking industry was really apparent in this year’s list of concerns,” Brewster said. “Earlier this year, ATRI quantified the growth in nuclear verdicts in the trucking industry, but even without that critical research, the
    fact that tort reform and insurance issues have resurfaced in the survey are a clear sign the industry is being impacted by rising costs related to litigation and insurance.”

    One overriding factor impacting this year’s results is the COVID-19 pandemic. It exacerbated the driver shortage as state motor vehicle departments were unable to test and process new commercial driver license applicants and the retail market shifted to e-commerce home deliveries, stressing the pool of drivers. In addition, tens of thousands of drivers listed in the new Drug and Alcohol Clearinghouse were disqualified from driving because of substance abuse issues.

    The report also includes a comparison of results between commercial drivers and motor carriers, along with a chart of how the rankings have changed over the years from 2011 to 2020.

    by Transportation & Logistics Council, Inc.

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