Hours-of-service becomes carriers’ top concern; CSA No. 2

How long does a 34-hour restart really take? Click the chart above to get the details on the kinks the latest hours rule throws into a “34-hour” restart.How long does a 34-hour restart really take? Click the chart above to get the details on the kinks the latest hours rule throws into a “34-hour” restart.

Hours-of-service regulations are once again the industry’s top concern, according to the American Transportation Institute’s annual Top Industry Issues report.

The list was unveiled in Orlando at the American Trucking Associations’ annual Management and Exhibition Conference. ATRI is a non-profit research branch of ATA.

The new hours-of-service rule, which went into effect July 1, has spurred the concern, ATRI says, which compiles its list based on responses from more than 4,000 trucking industry executives.

Here’s the full list of industry concerns, along with the percentage of respondents who ranked it as their top concern. Below that is the list of strategies proposed by carriers to combat some of the top issues:

1. Hours-of-service: 30 percent

2. CSA: 18 percent

3. Driver shortage: 13 percent

4. Economy: 9 percent

5. Electronic logging device mandate: 6 percent

6. Truck parking: 3 percent

7. Driver retention: 4 percent

8. Fuel supply/fuel prices: 3 percent

9. Infrastructure/congestion/funding: 3 percent

10. Driver health and wellness: 2 percent

To deal with hours-of-service rules, nearly 40 percent of carrier respondents said the industry needs to “quantify the impacts the new rule has on industry operations, productivity and safety.” Other strategies include “researching and advocating for more innovating and flexibility strategies for fatigue management than prescriptive [hours-of-service] rules,” and advocating “for increased flexibility in the current sleeper berth provision.”

To handle the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s Compliance, Safety, Accountability program, carriers proposed to continue to seek crash accountability in the agency’s scoring, so carriers who are not at fault in accidents don’t have their scores dinged. Survey respondents also said the industry can utilize reports from the Inspector General and the Government Accountability Office to push FMCSA to fix CSA’s flawed scoring system. Lastly, the report says carriers need to “quantify the impact of disparate state enforcement practices on carrier CSA scores” and push for the enforcement system to be more uniform.

To combat the major driver shortage facing the industry, carrier respondents’ preferred strategy is to take a look at truck driver pay and benefits and compare them to other industries, the report says. The report also says carriers could work with states and authorities on the federal level to “consider a graduated CDL program to safely attract new and younger drivers,” as about 37 percent of the new drivers needed each year will stem from driver retirements, ATA says. Lastly, carriers said to battle the shortage they could continue efforts to attract veterans to the industry by converting military CDL holders into civilian CDL holders.