Trucking’s ‘Top 10 Countdown’

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If I had to predict how you’d rank the top 10 critical issues facing your business in the order of importance, I’d probably put either fuel issues or driver retention as your number one concern. And I’d be close – but wrong. More than 5,000 industry executives ranked hours-of-service rules as trucking’s top industry concern in a recently released survey from the American Transportation Research Institute. The driver shortage ranked second.

The “Top Ten” list was released in Orlando, Fla., at the 2007 Management Conference and Exhibition of the American Trucking Associations. The other top concerns are fuel-related issues, congestion, government regulation, tolls and highway funding, tort reform, truck driver training, environmental issues and onboard technology, in that order.

ATA Chairman Ray Kuntz says the ATA-commissioned survey helps the association better focus its advocacy role on behalf of the U.S. trucking industry. “I have long advocated for the industry to better prepare itself to deal with change, and one way to do so is to better anticipate the challenges ahead,” Kuntz says. “The ATRI survey results are invaluable in telling us what is important to motor carriers and which strategies ATA should pursue on their behalf.” Issues change as rapidly as the price of fuel, and staying on top of the trends makes good business sense.

“On every legislative and regulatory topic, issues come and go so quickly today,” says Bill Graves, ATA president and chief executive officer. “If we’re not at the table with sound, science-based information and a common-sense plan of action, then we’re going to get left behind, and saddled with solutions that have no bearing on moving America’s freight safely and efficiently.”

Interestingly, the rankings fluctuate from year to year. In 2005, the top four issues were fuel costs, the driver shortage, insurance costs and hours-of-service rules. Last year, you ranked the driver shortage first, followed by fuel issues, driver retention and hours of service.

The first part of any meaningful discussion about industry issues is to identify them. Top 10 lists like this help everyone focus on the most pressing concerns in order of importance. The full report, “Critical Issues in the Trucking Industry – 2007,” is available at this site. The survey also outlines strategies that could be employed to help address each of the concerns identified.