For the fourth consecutive year, the ongoing truck driver shortage was the top issue among the trucking industry, according to the American Transportation Research Institute’s Top Industry Issues list. This issue ranks as a top concern as there is a shortage of 61,000 truckers in the sector and has been hit hard by the coronavirus. This includes loss of jobs, decreases in freight volume, and restrictions on domestic travel.
But besides a driver shortage, other industry concerns voiced by more than 1,000 truckers who responded include truck parking, driver compensation, and Trucking insurance costs. Here’s a closer look at those specific issues.
This persistent issue describes the trials trucking fleets face in recruiting new drivers and retaining their current drivers. The trucker shortage may double over the next decade as the industry struggles to replace aging drivers and recruit new drivers, especially women.
The driver deficit increased by more than 10,000 to 61,000 in 2018 compared to 2017. The shortage will ease later this year, but this relief won’t last long as replacing an aging pool of drivers gets more challenging in a hardening labor market. The shortage is most severe for long-haul truckers, where the average age is 46, and workers stay on the road for a couple of weeks at a time. According to the American Trucking Association, more than 160,000 driver spots will go unfilled by 2028.
Rising Insurance Rates
Several trucking business closings cited increased insurance costs as a cause. Commercial truck insurance claims have seen a rise in frequency over the last decade, and premiums have not kept up. This has created a much tighter commercial truck insurance market even though having this kind of insurance is a must for trucking companies, significantly as the crashes increase.
Trucking companies should work with their provider to find ways to obtain the right commercial truck insurance coverage while also keeping their business afloat. This kind of insurance could minimize out of pocket costs should a driver get into a wreck or becomes injured on the job.
Climbing two spots on the organization’s list to number three, truck parking is quickly becoming more of a concern for drivers. The inability to find proper parking hurts drivers and carriers’ bottom line. According to ATRI, truck drivers spend an average of one hour searching for parking daily. The lost time accumulates to a total of $4,600 in lost wages per year. It also reduces fleet production, taking the driver away from their primary duties.
Suppose a truck driver cannot find a legal parking spot. In that case, they must park illegally, operating outside of Hours of Service (HOS) regulations, or have to park in an unsafe area. All present primary safety and security risks to the truck, the driver, and their cargo.
According to ATRI, different pay models are expanding. There is continued attention on the quality of life concerns that play into how truck drivers view their overall job and compensation. The general consensus is that drivers don’t get enough pay for non-driving duties.
The average pay for a national truckload driver is around $60,000 annually, representing an $8,000 increase from 2017. Still, despite this rise in income, many drivers believe the shortage and compensation are linked and that the only solution to recruiting and retention is to increase pay or change the pay models. Driver pay is not limited to direct driver pay, and many trucking companies use performance bonuses as an added way to compensation and reward drivers.
About Western Truck Insurance Services
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