Did you have a chance to attend our recent webinar, “SURVEY SAYS! ATRI’S Top 10 Industry Issues for 2021 Revealed”? We received more questions than we had time to answer in the allotted time, so our presenter, Rebecca Brewster, Chief Operating Officer at ATRI, answered them below in this Q&A-style blog post.
If you weren’t able to join the webinar live, don’t worry – you can watch it on-demand anytime!
Question: Can you comment on the recent wave of media attention given to the "Driver Shortage Myth" articles? Any idea what the source of this misinformation might be?
Answer: There are definitely two sides to this issue. One – it’s a fact that motor carriers are struggling to find qualified drivers to fill their seats. Two – there are those among the driver population who strongly feel that you can address any shortfall in drivers by fixing the issues they identify as most important on the driver list: Compensation, Truck Parking and Detention and Delay at Customer Facilities.
Question: Could we see an immediate impact if, instead of trying to change legislation of 18-21 year olds operating inter-state freight, we just allow them to operate within a 500-mile radius of their employee?
Answer: It’s an interesting concept and one that would have merit, but again, without a change to the current rules, the freight would have to be intrastate even within the 500-mile radius.
Question: What are your thoughts on autonomous trucks?
Answer: Rather than advancing the idea that fully autonomous trucks are going to eliminate the need for drivers, I believe the industry as a whole is much better served by focusing on the job-improving features available with Advanced Driver Assistive Systems (ADAS), the technologies available today that make the job of driving a truck safer and less stressful, thereby improving our ability to recruit and retain drivers.
Question: With #2 and #3 being so high on the driver side of things, would you agree that this would indicate a heavy owner/operator voting compared to company drivers voting?
Answer: This year the ATRI Top Industry Issues Survey had about 24 percent of the responses come from professional truck drivers and among that population, it was fairly evenly split between Company Drivers and Owner-Operators.
Question: Can we get copies of the studies ATRI has done? Are they free?
Answer: All of ATRI’s research is available free of charge from our website at www.TruckingResearch.org.
Question: Do you have any practical tips to improve the truck parking situation and address drivers’ biggest concern?
Answer: There are a number of approaches that begin to mitigate this perennial challenge for drivers. First and foremost, of course, is adding additional truck parking capacity. But as a motor carrier, you can also work with your customers to ensure that they provide a safe haven for your drivers when they run out of hours, particularly when that occurs due to detention at their facility. Additionally, you can work with your state Department of Transportation to ensure that they keep public rest areas open and that they remove time-limits currently in place for how long drivers can park at a public rest area. When one of those facilities is limited to 2-hour parking, it makes it very difficult for a driver to park and get their mandated HOS 8-hours of rest.
Stay up to date on CDL trucking trends! Be sure to check out the DriverReach blog for other relevant articles and head over to our webinars page for an up-to-date list of upcoming events and on-demand recordings.
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