When hard, challenging times like this occur, that is when we need to help each other and build a community.
As we continue to feel uncertainty and adapt to altered daily lives caused by Coronavirus in America, there is one thing that is for certain. Trucking companies are stepping up and making heroic efforts to keep shelves in grocery stores stocked. This includes items such as food, cleaning supplies, and other necessities.
There is no doubt that with the increased demands of supplies, truckers are still keeping pace with the evolving supply chain. Because people are adhering to COVID-19 protocols, there is less traffic on our roads and highways, creating a safer situation for truck drivers. Although the roads and highways may have less traffic, you may notice it is difficult for them to dine in many restaurants, use amenities such as workout facilities, or simply get coffee from coffee shops.
Although our grocery stores continue to have food and products that families need, it is a result of all of our truckers who are continuously protecting our supply chain.
It’s times like these when we need to help each other and build a community. We should spread kindness to our truckers for performing critical functions to keep America forward. Some ways we can spread gratitude could be writing thank-you notes, providing free lunches, offering them cleaning supplies, or giving them a shoutout through social media.
To our truckers, thank you. Thank you for your dedication to keep American citizens safe during this time of crisis. Your selflessness in these times of crisis is truly inspiring, and not forgotten.
With spring here, this means warmer and brighter days! But, there are still some things that need to be considered during the spring season.
Driving during the winter can be a dangerous time of the year for truck drivers. Snow and ice can make the roads challenging to drive on, and we don’t always want to deal with staying warm during the wintry months. With the first few days of spring already here, this means warmer days, more sunlight, and longer days!
With winter behind us, we feel much more at ease to be driving. Although roads are not as risky as they were in the icy months, there are still things that need to be considered during the warm spring season. Prepare for the spring by reading these 4 spring driving tips!
Be Aware of Rain and Hail
Spring showers may bring more rain, but they also bring flooding and slippery roads. Go easy on your brakes while the roads are wet because if you brake hard, your wheels may lock up quickly. Just like how you would drive and brake slowly during the icy roads, take the same approach to when it rains.
Along with rain, beware of any hail that might arrive. You might drive through some of the more common states that often get hail storms such as Wyoming, Colorado, and Nebraska.
Refresh your Emergency Supplies
With allergies, the flu, and now Coronavirus spreading around, stocking up on the essentials is critical for your health. Restock any items in your emergency supplies, and stock on items such as water, food and snacks, batteries, and any other items you will need in case of a storm or accident.
Be on the Lookout for Potholes
Besides rainy days and hail storms, the other thing to watch out for is potholes. What might have been a blessing during the winter, potholes can be an issue during the spring. Through the plows, salt, and harsh weather conditions from the winter, there are potholes that can grow to impressive sizes.
It can be a pain but drive slowly or avoid the potholes as much as you can to avoid your cargo being damaged. Not only that, but you also end up avoiding any damage underneath your rig.
Be Prepared for Some Chilly Nights
Although warmer days are coming, there are still some chilly days in regions all around the country. Don’t toss out the winter equipment you needed for the winter! Keep some winter equipment around such as a jacket, blanket, and a heater to keep you warm during those chilly days.
Did you know there are a number of activities that you can do while you are on the road? Read 5 fun things truck drivers can do to pass time quickly when on the road
We understand what it feels like traveling for a long time to reach our destinations. The day feels long, the roads seem monotonous and tedious, and there aren’t a lot of things to do when you are in a vehicle. While this can be one of the main struggles, did you know there are a number of activities you can do while you are on the road?
When you have a break or some downtime, this can be an opportunity to explore the outdoors, find potential hobbies, and discover what type of entertainment is out there! Check out these 5 tips to pass time when you are on the road.
1. Do Some Outdoor Activities
Being inside of a truck for a long period of time can be difficult. When you have a break or some time off, take this opportunity to get some fresh air and move around. You even might find the chance to find something pretty unique.
If you want to plan out your trip a little more, you can try stopping around destinations and explore a bit. This may be more difficult to plan out, but it can be fun and rewarding if you do it right.
2. Start a Cool Collection
As truck drivers are traveling all over the country, why not find an opportunity to start a unique collection? You are passing by through multiple states, and this can be a perfect opportunity to start a creative collection. When you are fueling up, grabbing a bite to eat, or sleeping for the night, pick up something to build your collection!
Some ideas that you can build are grabbing postcards, picking up a souvenir, collecting stamps, or anything that catches your attention and makes you happy. It is a fun way to remember each new destination when you are on the road.
3. Document Your Journey
Document your journey by photographing something that catches your eye! You are going through several states in a day, so why not take the time to take some pictures? You can use your phone or a camera to document your journey when you take a break. You’re bound to see breathtaking scenes and this can be something to remember when you are looking through your pictures.
4. Find a New Hobby
Another way you can fight your boredom is by beginning a hobby that you have never attempted before or one that can challenge you. Some hobbies can be knitting, writing a novel or starting a new blog, reading books that you never read before, or exercising. Did you know you can even learn a new language?
If you have an interest in the arts, you can learn to play a new musical instrument, to draw, paint, or creatively write. Whatever catches your attention, take the opportunity to challenge yourself!
5. Listen to Podcasts
If you are on a schedule and you don’t have much downtime, listen to podcasts. It doesn’t matter what your interests are, whether it’s stand-up comedy, sci-fi, educational, or mystery – there is a podcast out there for you! More people these days enjoy listening to podcasts on the road because they are different from radio stations. Just find an app that you can download podcasts, load up some episodes, and be entertained for hours.
Make Good Use of Your Time
There is no reason you cannot make good use of your time when you are on the job. Doing something new can keep your mind busy and your body healthy, and it can even help relieve stress.
At US Cargo Control, we appreciate all the hard work that you do to deliver goods that we consume. If you have any questions about the products we carry, give our team of experts a call at 800-404-7068.
Check out these four winter driving tips on how new and experienced truck drivers can prep for winter driving.
When traveling in colder climates, one must always be ready. Winter driving on the roads of Illinois is not the same as in Florida. One road in a city may have black ice, while a different road in a different city may have sleet or hail! No matter what winter conditions you face on the road this year, remember that it can always be different just around the corner.
With winter coming up fast, there are preventative measures that you can take now in order to be better prepared for the different wintery conditions. Check out these four winter driving tips on how new and experienced truck drivers can prep for winter driving.
1. Think Ahead and Be Prepared
Perform a pre-trip inspection to make sure your truck is ready to go. You can do an inspection by looking at your tires, wiper blades, lights, fluids, etc. This is to avoid any maintenance problems down the road or any obvious issues evident now. It is better to know now than to find out during a snowstorm or somewhere you could get stranded for a while.
Another part to think about is using fuel that is treated and blended for low temperatures. Diesel exhaust fuel can freeze at temperatures below 10 degrees Fahrenheit, and low fuel tanks can trap condensation. Carry Anti-Gel or Anti-Freeze in advance for bad, cold weather.
Download the Weather Channel App or read weather reports before hitting the road so you can prepare for the day ahead.
Other necessities you should consider carrying in your truck include flashlights, extra windshield wiper fluid, a bag of salt or sand, and jumper cables.
Along with prepping your truck for the winter, make sure to prep yourself! To stay warm and safe, invest in heavy blankets and warm bedding, gloves and scarves, thermal socks, boots with great traction, and at least a day’s worth of food and water. Taking care of yourself is crucial for your health and safety, and it never hurts to pack food as a backup.
3. Use Caution
It should go without saying, but during this time you should be extra careful to follow and obey all road signs, brake lightly, and always be mindful of current conditions. These are rules created by safety authorities, and they are created for a reason: safety for yourself and those around you.
Another critical rule to recognize is to use extra caution when approaching bridges. Bridges and elevated structures are the first to freeze, and many are not treated with ice/snow melting materials like the rest of the roadways. Hold your steering wheel firmly and pay attention to the surface feel of the roads.
4. If Conditions Look Bad, Just Get Off the Road
Your safety matters more. If you feel that it doesn’t seem safe to be driving, then you might be better off waiting it out. Listen to weather reports and warnings, communicate with your fleet or with fellow drivers, and react appropriately.
Want to learn more about winter safety tips for truck drivers? Consider reading these:
Read these five tips on how to get a good night sleep when you are on the job.
We all know about how important it is for truck drivers to stay awake while on the road, but what about falling asleep? Obviously, the better you sleep at night, the longer you’ll be able to go the next day. But when sleeping in a semi-truck, there are distractions that can keep you awake and they’re hard to ignore sometimes.
Don’t give up and feel like you have to get a hotel room just to feel rested, here are 5 tips that can help you fall asleep faster in your very own cozy semi bed!
1. Block out ALL Noise
If you can, try to park away from all the other trucks and other potentially loud distractions. Another tip to consider is choosing parking places that have minimum outside traffic.
You can also invest in earplugs or a “white noise” machine such as a fan to reduce sounds inside your truck. If your phone has the ability to turn on “Do Not Disturb” mode or to alert you for only important contacts, consider doing that before bedtime. We all know how hard it can be to ignore a text or phone call, but those noises and your bright phone screen will only make it harder to sleep.
2. Turn Off and Block All Lights
Although this is self-explanatory, remember that even the smallest amount of light can bother you! There are ways to block all lights immediately including investing in some curtains or shades to cover all windows in your truck, a large sunshade over your windshield, and using something to cover any electronic lights within your rig.
If all fails, then invest in a sleep mask. You can get them for a cheap price at the dollar store or a convenience store.
3. Get Comfortable
Is your truck sleeper cab getting uncomfortable? Maybe it’s time to replace or upgrade your mattress. Having a comfortable bed not only helps you sleep better, but it also helps prevent soreness or aches when you wake up in the morning.
Another thing to consider is purchasing a new mattress pad to place on top of the sleeper. Foam mattress toppers are less of an investment than getting a whole new mattress and they also provide benefits like providing more cushion and reducing pressure points.
4. Have a Routine
Trucking can at times be unpredictable, but try your best to maintain a bedtime routine. Your body loves routines and will adjust well when you maintain that routine. Whether it’s reading a book or watching your favorite show, try to stay in a familiar routine for the best chance of sleeping well in your semi-truck.
With that in mind, try to keep regular hours with your job, or at least try to avoid often swapping between day and night shifts. Too much schedule changes can affect your sleep, and it’s best to avoid that.
5. Keep Your Truck Cool and Comfortable for You
Everybody’s preferred temperature varies, so be sure to keep your semi at a temperature that is comfortable for you. When it’s warm outside, consider using a small fan for extra airflow. When it’s getting colder, have extra bedding or a small heater in your truck. In fact, if you are looking for extra warmth for the upcoming winter, then check out our black USCC hooded sweatshirt!
Good Sleep = Good Health
Good sleep is just as important as the right nutrition and exercise. If you’re unable to find success sleeping in your semi-truck, you may experience crankiness or bad moods, an increase in health risks, and even over-eating. Make sure to take care of yourself and look to improve your sleep now.
Whether you are a new driver or an experienced driver, check out these tips that can help you power through the long haul.
We get it, driving during the long haul can be tedious
Staying awake during long drives can be incredibly boring and exhausting. You sit still for long periods of time, you don’t have anyone to keep you company, and you never know if there will even be any scenic views.
Although it can be dull at times, there are ways to fight that fatigue. Whether you are a new driver or an experienced driver, check out these tips that can help you power through the long haul.
1. Cat Nap
Do not try to fight fatigue just to save time. It might seem better to get there faster, but you will likely put others or yourself in danger. Instead, take a power nap before the drive or pull over while en route. Resting for at least 20 minutes can give you a big boost of energy, and will make you alert for a lot longer. Not only will you feel refreshed, but this can also help fight off sleepiness down the road.
2. Crank up the AC
When we go to sleep, we like it best when we are warm and comfortable. But did you know warmer temperatures can make you drowsy? A warm truck makes it easier for your body to relax and drift off to sleep, so dial down on the heat. Keep your truck cold, but just enough to make it slightly uncomfortable. The colder temperatures will make it harder to sleep and will keep you more alert.
Another tip: open your windows and smell the fresh air. Doing this can give you a little jolt to keep you awake.
3. Eat Something Healthy and Stay Hydrated
We all do it – binging on candy, fast food, energy drinks, etc. Although it is nice to treat yourself every once in a while, this won’t help you stay awake while driving in the long haul. You may even start to feel sluggish and sick if you continue to eat unhealthy food. Make sure to eat meals that have protein and fiber, and you will have long-lasting stamina. Your body will thank you!
Getting that cup of coffee or some sort of caffeine can give you a nice boost every once in a while, but don’t forget to keep drinking water. It is another way to fight off fatigue and keep your body in check. Have a water bottle nearby, and if you need a snack, try eating fruits and vegetables as they are full of water and natural sugars that can keep you awake.
4. Turn on the Radio
Pick something interesting and different to listen to every once in a while! Listening to different music stations and talk shows can help combat boredom and keep you entertained along the way. You can use the radio to catch up with current news and trends, or if you have a smartphone, use it to play podcasts and learn about anything that gets your attention.
5. Take Breaks or Get Some Exercise
Even if it is a five-minute walk, exercise will help to get your blood pumping after sitting. Sitting too long can create health concerns and decrease productivity, and will also make it harder to sleep at night. Some simple exercises to try daily are push-ups, sit-ups, jogging or running, jump rope, or simply taking a walk. Whatever it is, make sure to take those breaks and move around.
Thank you, truck drivers, for all your hard work
Although it can be difficult fighting that drowsiness, we thank you for all your hard work and dedication to delivering the goods we all depend on. We recognize that it is not an easy job, but we appreciate all that you do. Check out our previous blog post that covers a popular annual event celebrating truck drivers.
Watch USCC’s video below that was shared last week for Truck Driver Appreciation Week!
Recovery straps can be used all year long, but they’re especially handy in the winter months when roadsides become flooded with spun-out vehicles.
Recovery straps can be used all year long, but they’re especially handy in the winter months when roadsides become flooded with spun-out vehicles.
The best way to get a car out of snow quickly (without the cost of a professional tow truck) is by rigging a recovery strap to a tow hook or recovery point on the vehicle and slowly dragging it out. Between the type of vehicle, weather conditions, and distance from the roadway, there are many variables that make each vehicle recovery situation different.
Use the steps below as a general guideline for how to pull a car out of the snow, but know your limits and never push the capabilities of your vehicle or yourself.
1. Make yourself visible to others
If you’re recovering a vehicle that’s near a roadway, take precaution seriously. Having your hazards on is a good start, but you should also have some type of hi-vis clothing to protect yourself. Consider getting reflective safety triangles to help warn drivers of your presence as they’re approaching the recovery scene.
2. Make the recovery as easy as possible
If the car that’s stuck in the snow is really buried in, you might want to spend some time shoveling snow away from the tires and from underneath the car. Putting sand or kitty litter under the tires will also help ease the strain on the recovery strap and make the pull a whole lot easier. If you have them, applying tire chains will add even more traction.
2. Secure the strap to the recovery vehicle
First, make sure the recovery strap you’re using is rated high enough. A good rule of thumb is for the vehicle weight to be half the break strength of the recovery strap.
Next, attach the recovery strap to the rear of the towing vehicle, somewhere with plenty of structural support like a trailer hitch with steel loops for mounting a hook with a safety clip or a shackle. Anchor shackles are one of the best and safest ways to secure a recovery strap. Refer to your vehicle’s owners manual for guidance on safe recovery strap rigging.
Never attach the strap to a trailer hitch ball. This can cause bending and breaking that could result in serious injury.
3. Secure the strap to the stuck vehicle
This is where it can get tricky. If you’re lucky enough to be pulling a vehicle with clearly visible tow hooks, secure the recovery strap to those. Many smaller vehicles and newer model cars don’t have the best tow hooks, or they are often hidden.
Before resorting to hooking onto the frame, check the front bumper for a small square section of the plastic that’s removable. Many newer vehicles have removable tow hooks that are stored with the car jack.
Never attach a recovery strap to the bumper, axle, suspension, or steering rods.
If possible, lay a tarp or some jackets on top of the recovery strap to slow the recoil of the strap if it were to break.
4. Reduce slack then pull slowly
Once the recovery strap is safely secured, the recovery vehicle should slowly pull forward to reduce strap slack and prevent snapping. Then, with drivers in both vehicles and no people near the strap, the recovery vehicle can start accelerating slowly and gradually. The vehicle being recovered should be in gear and once they’re moving the driver should apply some gas and steer the vehicle out.
5. Inspect equipment and get home safe
Once the car is pulled out of the snow and back on drivable land, inspect your recovery strap and all hardware before heading home. Clean the strap when you get home and store it in a dry and cool place.
Why you need to use recovery straps
Make sure to use recovery straps for stuck vehicles and not tow straps. Recovery straps are designed to have more stretch than tow straps and this helps prevent the strap from snapping when the vehicle is being tugged on. Recovery straps also provide a more controlled pull compared the tow straps. Without getting too scientific, the stored kinetic energy from the strap stretches then recoils back to its natural length to provide control and prevent the strap from snapping.
As consumers become increasingly comfortable buying appliances and other large items online, the trucking industry has been presented with a rapidly expanding opportunity
As consumers become increasingly comfortable buying appliances and other large items online, the trucking industry has been presented with a rapidly expanding opportunity in the form of last mile delivery services. E-commerce merchants are anxiously seeking companies and truck drivers who can deliver their large and heavy products to consumers – the ones that small package delivery companies, like FedEx and UPS, aren’t built to handle.
The key lies in having fast and dependable last mile delivery logistics, and many trucking companies are already hard at work.
What is Last Mile Delivery?
Last mile delivery fills the void between package transportation hubs and consumers, typically those at residential addresses. The demand for this service has increased along with the comfort that online shoppers have in buying large products sight unseen, such as dishwashers and outdoor grills.
Opportunity in Last Mile Delivery
In 2018, last mile delivery service was an 8.9-billion-dollar market. That’s a 10-percent increase from 2017 and makes the growth rate of last mile delivery significantly larger than regular freight. Experts say the growth is expected to increase for many more years given the comfort that Millennials have buying their goods online.
That’s why trucking companies like J.B. Hunt have invested heavily in last mile delivery logistics. They recently shelled out a sizable amount to purchase Cory 1st Choice Home Delivery, a company well equipped to deliver large items to consumers through their 14 warehouses and more than 1,000 independent contractors across the U.S.
In an interview with Bloomberg a J.B. Hunt executive, Corey Tisdale, explained how having these drivers on their payroll allows for consistent training on specialized deliveries, such as appliances that need to be hooked up in homes they’re delivered to.
Other companies, like XPO Logistics Inc. and Ryder Systems Inc., are also busy making acquisitions in order to build a network of local carriers and further the growth of their last mile delivery programs.
The First Chapter of the Last Mile
As trucking companies invest heavily in the development of last mile delivery logistics and look to pioneer solutions to the challenges of last mile delivery, the trucking industry once again finds itself on the cutting edge of a brand new economic opportunity. Connecting e-commerce businesses both large and small with consumers across the country and advancing the future of online shopping.
It’s the Wild West of last mile delivery, and the pioneers who can master both dependability and scalability are sure to get a sizable chunk of this relatively untouched goldmine.
The potential is seemingly endless but, don’t forget, the work is there now.
September 9th – September 15th, 2018 is National Truck Driver Appreciation Week. Here’s why it’s so important to show your appreciation all year long.
Imagine waking up to no coffee, milk, or juice. Trying to get to work with no gas in your car. And going to sleep with no blankets, pillows, or pajamas. The fridge is continually empty and there’s not a single pen or piece of paper around to make a grocery list. Even if there was, store shelves sit empty. Hospitals are without medicine, and assembly lines have no parts or raw materials.
No, it’s not a zombie apocalypse. It’s what would happen if we had no truck drivers and it would happen faster than you think.
Luckily we don’t have to face these challenges in America. Why? Because we have millions of dedicated truck drivers who drive billions of miles each year to deliver just about every good imaginable. Day in and day out they sacrifice time with their families and the comforts of home to make sure our families have everything they need. And what do they get in return?
Well, most commonly they get less-than-friendly gestures from fellow roadway regulars when they switch into the left lane. And trust me, I get it. When you’re hauling down the highway it’s easy to not think about the fact most big rigs are speed governed to go only 60 to 65mph (which means passing a fellow truck driver isn’t so quick and easy). Or that once a truck reaches an incline their heavy cargo loads start to play a huge factor in their speed and acceleration. And I definitely don’t know what it’s like to be strictly limited to 11 hours of driving in a 14-hour period. All this while still having a tight delivery deadline someplace thousands of miles away. My point is it’s easy to not think about all this as a regular driver but, for truck drivers, it’s a daily reality.
Still not sold on the fact that truckers are the backbone of America? Then take a look at these infographics that show the undeniable impact of trucking:
US Cargo Control Appreciates Truck Drivers
We proudly support truck drivers all year long by providing them with quality cargo control equipment including ratchet straps, flatbed trailer products, and more. If we don’t carry a product you need, we go out of our way to get you what you want, when you need it. We also share helpful tips with our email subscribers and through this blog. For more insight into US Cargo Control and our dedicated efforts to serve truck drivers, check out our LinkedIn page and Facebook page. Here is an example of a recent video that we created for Trucker Appreciation Week:
There’s no question that lack of available parking is a major challenge for truck drivers across the United States. Even after the introduction of Jason’s Law back in 2012, commercial drivers are still struggling to consistently find safe parking spots.
While these tips won’t make new parking spots magically appear, they can help you park smarter and sleep easier.
1. Plan Ahead
Pre-plan when and where you’re going to stop each day. Obviously, the goal is to avoid highly congested areas and areas with high crime. Tools like Google Earth and the TruckerPath app are great ways to see how crowded an area is in real time.
2. Park Early
Truck stops usually start filling up early in the evening. If you start your day earlier, you can park before others. If you can’t park early, try reserving a parking spot at the truck stop where you plan on stopping.
3. Avoid Parking Near an Entrance
It will be tempting to grab the closest spot when you pull in tired. But parking spots on the end of rows, and in the front third of a parking lot, are where the heaviest traffic and highest chance of accidents are.
4. Be Picky About Who You Park Next to
If the truck next to you is parked over the line, or at an angle, try finding a different spot. If you must park there, it’s not a bad idea to take down their license plate and DOT information.
5. Avoid Backing Out of Spots
It will be much quicker and easier getting back on the road if you choose a spot you can either pull through or back into.
6. Choose a Well-Lit Area
Parking near plenty of bright lights will decrease your chances of being targeted by thieves. Seek out truck stops and department store parking lots that are filled with floodlights.
7. Seal Your Truck
If you’re going to sleep in your truck, close all your windows, put up window screens, and keep valuables out of sight. Consider installing a dash cam for extra peace of mind. Sometimes just the sight of them is enough to deter potential thieves. You can also use bungee cords or tie down straps to latch your truck’s doors shut from the inside.
Every long distance driver needs a place to refuel, recharge, and most importantly – a place to feel safe parking. We’ve compiled a list of truck stops across America that stand out for their secure parking and generous amenities.
These are the types of truck stops we need more of across America.
Reserve one of the almost 250 parking spaces by going to their website. They also have a laundry room, pet area, repair shop, general store, and more. After you eat in the 24-hour restaurant, you can burn some calories playing basketball, horseshoes, or bag toss.
Located just off I-94, 60 miles west of the Twin Cities. This place aims to make you feel at home. You can relax in the drivers’ lounge with free wi-fi and flat-screen TVs. They will even deliver food and drink from the restaurant, pub, bakery, or food court – right to your chair.
Located just off I-25 at Exit 254. This historic stop has been open 24 hours a day since 1952. That’s the type of dedication to truckers we need more of! They offer overnight parking and cinnamon rolls as big as dinner plates. What more could you ask for?
With over 900 spots, no truck parking list is complete without Iowa 80. The World’s Largest Truck Stop. Some call it the “Trucker Disneyland.” With eight restaurants, a dentist, museum, and so much more, this place could easily have its own zip code.
Take Exit 126 off I-40. In addition to overnight parking and spacious showers, this stop has laundry rooms, a barbershop, and even a masseuse. Also, the 24/7 restaurant has a reputation for making delicious southern comfort food.
Okay, this stop isn’t so much about the parking as it is the fun. There’s a golf course, reptile lagoon, and 200-foot Sombrero Observation Tower. If you’re driving through South Carolina, you must check this place out.
Where is Your Favorite Truck Stop?
We love to hear from you!Have you visited any of these locations? Maybe you’ve been to a place that deserves to be on this list. Let us know in the comment section below.
Since 1954, the American Transportation Research Institute (ATRI) has been on a mission “to conduct transportation research with an emphasis on the trucking industry’s essential role in a safe, efficient, and viable transportation system.”
The ATRI, headquartered in Arlington, Virginia, recently released their annual report outlining the most critical challenges facing the trucking industry in 2017. The report is based on survey responses from trucking industry stakeholders across the country, including both motor carriers and professional drivers.
We’ve compiled a summary of the top five major challenges.
1. Driver Shortage
This has been an industry concern for years, but it hasn’t been at the top of the list since 2006. As the health of the U.S. economy improves, the demand for drivers has simultaneously increased. The problem, according to ATRI research, is that nearly 57 percent of the trucking workforce is at least 45 years old. If this trend continues, the American Trucking Associations estimates that the shortage will reach over 174,000 drivers by the year 2026.
2. ELD Mandate
Even after implementation, critics of the ELD mandate continue to have concerns. These include less independence, lower wages, and more impatient driving. Also, implementation of the mandate has been less than seamless, to say the least. Nearly twenty states have already delayed writing tickets for non-compliance. Another ten states are leaving ticket writing “up to the discretion of the individual officer.” But still, a majority of ELD distaste seems to stem back to the lack of flexibility in Hours-of-Service rules.
3. Hours of Service
The ELD mandate more firmly enforces current Hours-of-Service rules. That’s why flexible hours of service rules are now more important to drivers than ever before. Many industry stakeholders identified the sleeper berth provision as one that needs more flexibility. It currently requires drivers to take at least eight consecutive hours in their sleeper berth. Many believe this time should be split up throughout the day. Then drivers could rest when tired and readjust driving schedules to avoid major traffic congestion.
4. Truck Parking
Safe and available parking is an everyday necessity for truck drivers. While this ranks fourth among all respondents, it’s the second most concerning challenge among drivers alone. Results of a 2016 ATRI study showed that 84 percent of drivers reported parking in unauthorized or undesignated parking at least once a week. The difficult choice many drivers face is whether to drive beyond what HOS rules allow, or to stop and park in an unauthorized or unsafe location.
5. Driver Retention
According to American Trucking Association’s 2017 second-quarter report, the turnover rate for large truckload fleets reached 90 percent. Similarly, the turnover rate for smaller carriers hit 85 percent. Obviously, adding more drivers to the workforce only proves beneficial if those drivers stay. Driver turnover raises recruitment and training costs, which only makes it harder to attract the right drivers. Some motor carriers have been trying to combat these low retention numbers by using sign-on/stay-on bonuses.
More Critical Trucking Industry Challenges
The additional challenges outlined in the 2017 ATRI report include:
Cumulative Economic Impact of Regulations
Driver Health and Wellness.
Do you agree with the need to address these issues? Are there other major challenges you face that should have made the list? Please, let us know in the comments below.