The American Transportation Research Institute — an arm of the American Trucking Associations — produced this list in October of the top carrier concerns, according to a survey they performed. For the first time, CSA topped the list as the No. 1 issue carriers see as the most pressing issue dealt with in 2012. Here’s the full list:
No. 1: CSA — The Compliance, Safety, Accountability program debuted in 2010, and carriers struggle with its inequities and oddities relative to scoring weights and severity.
No. 2: Hours-of-service — Hours-of-service — No. 2 for the second straight year — will see some fairly major changes in July 2013 from a rule finalized in December 2011. As covered on CCJ, the rule retains the 11-hour daily driving limit, but limits drivers to 70 hours of on-duty time, limits the 34-hour restart to once per week and requires a 30-minute break after eight hours of driving.
No. 3: Economy — The economy had been carriers’ No. 1 concern from 2009-2011, but in 2012, due to economic growth and improvement, it fell, ATRI says.
No. 4: Driver shortage — Even though carriers’ are nervous about economic woes, they apparently do have positive outlook, seeing as how driver shortage is a top-five concern. Many carriers can not find enough qualified drivers to pull the freight available to them, and turnover remains a huge issue, as during the entire second half of 2012, turnover remained above 100 percent.
No. 5: Fuel/Fuel prices — Fuel shot up to price points not seen since 2008 this year, though it has come down in recent months. Natural gas’ growth as a viable fuel option for fleets has spurred interest from many large (and small) carriers, too.
No. 6: Electronic log mandate — The MAP-21 highway funding bill passed in this summer included a provision that requires FMCSA to implement an EOBR mandate by Oct. 1, 2013. The previous mandate was struck down in court in 2011 over driver harassment issues.
No. 7: Driver retention — In line with the driver shortage, driver retention is becoming a large issue to do freight demand and driver turnover. Moreover, tightening regulations on drivers and competition among fleets to hire qualified drivers makes the issue even bigger.
No. 8: Truck parking — Because of the hours-of-service provisions, the availability of safe and legal truck parking for drivers is at a minimum. The issue was also addressed in MAP-21, requiring
No. 9: Driver health and wellness — This issue is also tied into driver shortage and driver retention, seeing as how many of the tightening regulations aforementioned deal with disqualifying drivers based on grounds of health issues.
No. 10: Congestion/bottlenecking — Highway congestion increase costs in a time when fuel costs and driver wages are already moving up and represent a huge portion of carriers’ overall operational costs. ATRI says that as the economy continues to rebound, so too does roadway use, which could make congestion worse.