Release of trucking’s Top 10 issues by the research arm of the American Trucking Associations (ATA) shows that the state of the economy is the number one concern of trucking’s executives. The economy has held the top spot for three years, after being in second place in 2008 as the current economic situation loomed. The poll, conducted by the American Transportation Research Institute (ATRI), surveys 4,000 industry executives. This year’s results were released at ATA’s Management Conference and Exhibition in October.
Consistently in the Top 10 is concern about hours of service issues, propelled into second place in the latest poll on concerns about proposed changes to the rules that would see a reduction in driving time. The approaching crisis of driver recruitment has many concerned, too. Always in the Top 10, the issue dropped several places over the last few years as fleets downsized capacity for the shrinking freight market. However, with the hoped-for return to better times signaled by the weak, but positive growth in GDP , finding drivers is expected to be a big problem again soon.
Although still at the bottom of the list, on-board technology and size and weight have come on the radar in the last few years. Conspicuously absent in the latest rankings are regulatory concerns and the environment.
With the individual issues broken out, it’s easy to see the impact of outside influences like fuel price, the general economy, and the evolution of technology on trucking. All in all, it makes for an interesting series of snapshots of what grabs the industry’s attention at the moment. And it also shows those issues that endure.