ARLINGTON, Va. — For the fourth year in a row, the driver shortage is the top overall concern for the trucking industry, according to a report released Oct. 27 by the American Transportation Research Institute (ATRI).
The 2020 Top Industry Issues Report is ATRI’s 16th annual report, and 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.
“For a number of reasons, 2020 has been a tremendously challenging one for our industry and our country, but as ATRI’s survey lays out, there are a number of issues we must address in addition to the ones put in front of us by this pandemic,” said Randy Guillot, chairman of the American Trucking Associations and CEO of Southeastern Motor Freight and Triple G Express Inc
“From finding and keeping qualified drivers to the increased costs of insurance and burdens imposed on our industry by unwarranted lawsuits, ATRI has identified the issues our industry cares most about and outlines plans for how we can solve them,” he added.
This year, for the fourth year in a row, the driver shortage was noted as No. 1 issue for the trucking industry. The driver shortage also topped the motor carriers’ list of concerns, highlighting the challenges fleets face in recruiting new talent and keeping current drivers. Driver retention was motor carriers’ No. 2 issue, and was sixth on the combined list.
Truck parking climbed two spots this year to become the third-highest ranking issue of concern and achieving its highest ranking since first appearing on ATRI’s Top 10 list in 2012. Among the 1,000-plus truck drivers who responded to the survey, truck parking, driver compensation and detention issues were among the top concerns.
In all, ATRI received responses from a combined total of 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 Rebecca Brewster, president and COO of ATRI. “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 list of carrier concerns. In addition, tort reform appeared in the survey’s Top 10 for the first time since 2011, landing at seventh in the combined list and fifth in the carriers’ 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.”
The complete results of the annual survey were released as part of American Trucking Associations’ 2020 Management Conference and Exhibition. The full report can be found on ATRI’s website.