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The Most Common Problems Faced By Truck Drivers

Finding a truck parking lot is one of the major problems faced by truck drivers. According to the 2019 survey of over 2,000 truck drivers by the American Transportation Research Institute, finding a truck parking lot ranks as the fifth biggest issue in the industry. But that’s only one of the many problems faced by truck drivers. Hours of service, driver retention, and ELDs also continue to be a cause for concern within the trucking industry.

Below, we provide you with a full recap of the survey that presents the most common problems faced by truck drivers. You can access the full ATRI report here

1. Driver Shortage

Driver shortage continues to be a top concern for the trucking industry. It’s estimated that over 60,000 drivers are needed, with a potential to increase to 100,000 drivers within the next five years. This need most commonly surrounds over-the-road or OTR drivers who are commonly kept away from home for weeks at a time. Since drivers are no longer able to park in their own driveways, many have opted for other options that keep them closer to home. 

What can be done?

  • Develop an apprenticeship program to attract and retain a younger demographic of drivers. Since a majority of truck drivers are over the age of 55, expect there to be a push for gaining interstate drivers between the ages of 18 and 20 years old. 
  • Attempt to expand driver recruitment to women and minorities. Female and minority drivers make up a small percentage of truck drivers, and actions are being taken to increase those percentages over time. This is largely due to the success of female and minority drivers. In fact, an additional ATRI study shows that women drivers outperform male drivers in every driving behavior examined, and are involved in 20 percent less crashes than male drivers. 
  • Collect and compare safety performance data of 18 to 20 year old drivers versus 21 to 24 year old drivers. As it currently stands, there are certain regulations preventing 18 to 20 year old drivers from operating commercial vehicles intrastate. Many are asking that safety data of those drivers be compared to drivers between the ages of 21 and 24 to hopefully inform the expansion of the CDL minimum age requirement. 
2. Hours of Service

In 2018, 30-minute rest breaks and the split-sleeper berth provision were implemented to alleviate stress around hours of service (HOS). Now, however, these additions are being further expanded to allow more flexibility in the sleeper berth provision. Previously, drivers could split their time into 8 and 2-hour time periods, but now they have the option to split their off-duty time into 7 and 3 hours — neither of which will count against their 14-hour driving window. 

What can be done?

  • Continue to push for more flexibility in the current sleeper berth provision. This will give drivers the opportunity to sleep when they’re tired and ideally avoid highly congested areas. 
  • Research to gain insight into the potential impact 30-minute breaks has on finding a truck parking lot. Many drivers feel that required breaks influence the parking shortage and that extra steps should be taken to find an alternate solution.
3. Driver Compensation

According to ATRI, 2019 is the first year driver compensation has made the top 10 list of problems faced by truck drivers. While many drivers are being paid more to compensate for the driver shortage, truck drivers still feel as though they are not adequately compensated for their time. 

What can be done?

  • Compare truck driver compensation to related fields such as construction. This will give the trucking industry a better look at where current compensation compares as well as where it falls short. 
  • Identify the relationship between driver compensation and driver satisfaction. If compensation is driving driver dissatisfaction, it could be one of the reasons behind the driver shortage. 
  • Assess the effectiveness of carrier retention programs that reward drivers. By examining the success of programs that financially reward drivers for high performance in areas related to safety, fuel economy, and trip productivity, the trucking industry can further determine the best ways to compensate drivers for their work. 
4. Detention and Delay at Customer Facilities 

Since 2014, truck drivers have frequently reported delays at customer facilities of six hours or more. This loss of time has a direct impact on the driver’s HOS, compensation, ELDs, and parking complications.

What can be done?

  • Research the impact of customer detention on trucking operations. Studies indicate that detention times have a negative impact on driver productivity, and have been known to influence the crash risk of drivers. Smaller fleets also cite that they refrain from charging for detention rates to remain competitive against larger fleets, which can have a detrimental impact on their operations. Especially when you consider that drivers may be spending a surplus of six hours delayed at customer facilities. 
  • Assess the potential impact ELDs may have on increased detention times. Many drivers would like to see the causal effect the introduction of ELDs has on detention times. If this effect can be proved through data, it may provide enough of a push for shippers and receivers to improve turn times for drivers. 
  • Implement a “Shipper of Choice” database. This would allow drivers to choose a shipper where detention times are minimal or non-existent, further prompting other shippers to implement best practices. 
5. Truck Parking

Truck parking continues to be one of the most significant and dangerous problems faced by truck drivers. So much so, in fact, that we developed our entire business model around it! The struggle to find a truck parking lot causes drivers to drive outside of HOS rules or park in an undesignated and unsafe area.

What can be done?

  • Identify strategic locations to expand truck parking. Working off of areas truck drivers have identified as critical, major changes may be on the horizon to improve truck parking. However, allocating funds for reopening old facilities and investing in new facilities may not be easy, causing drivers to search for a new solution
  • Create a federally funded program to increase truck parking. Many drivers are hopeful that government funding will be used to increase truck parking at critical freight locations. 
  • Continue research into the value of on-demand truck parking reservation systems. The percentage of truckers interested in this outlet is growing, and is catching the attention of members of the trucking industry. 
6. Driver Retention

Driver retention, while still an issue, has improved in ranking over the past few years according to the ATRI survey. Many feel that the improvements in driver retention are related to the increases in driver compensation. However, there are still improvements to be made.

What can be done?

  • Continue to prioritize retention strategies. Survey results show that additional research into successful strategies to improve driver retention may be worthwhile. Pursuing previously identified strategies such as improving trust between carriers and drivers as well as scheduling more time at home show true promise for continuing research. 
  • Examine the relationship between safety features and driver retention. Unsurprisingly, the adaptation of safety devices such as driver-facing cameras, speed limiters, and active braking systems aren’t widely accepted by truck drivers. While these technologies have their advantages, they may be influencing driver retention. Further research into this relationship is hoped to shed light on helpful strategies to retain drivers. 
7. Electronic Logging Devices Mandate

Electronic Logging Devices (ELDs) have frequently been one of the key problems faced by truck drivers. In December of 2019, all fleets were required to make the switch from AOBRDs to ELDs. While it’s too soon to tell what impact this may have, we expect to see a drop in productivity from drivers, as well as ripple effects to HOS and truck parking. 

What can be done?

  • Investigate the impacts ELDs have on the trucking industry. Now that ELDs have been fully implemented, drivers are calling for additional research to determine how ELDs are effecting driver safety and productivity. From the start, ELDs were mandated to save billions of dollars in administrative costs as well as driver lives. Without additional research, however, it’s unknown if these benefits have been fully realized. 
  • Identify the extent of ELD exemptions. Since 2017, numerous groups within the trucking industry have requested exemptions from the ELD mandate based on a variety of reasons. Now, more drivers are demanding to know the extent of these exemptions in hopes that they themselves may be exempt from the mandate.
Solutions

These issues continue to be a top priority for the trucking industry, and drivers are demanding a solution. Thankfully, that’s where SecurSpace comes in. On-demand platforms like ours are truly changing the game for finding a truck parking lot and addressing the problems faced by truck drivers. Learn how our Marketplace works and how you can leverage our nationwide locations to find the truck parking and container storage space you need by clicking here.

Editor’s note: This blog was originally written for SecurSpace, 10 Most Common Problems Faced By Truck Drivers.

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