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Driver shortage tipped as top issue for the American trucking community

DALLAS, Tex. -- The American Transportation Research Institute (ATRI) unveiled its Top 10 list of the critical issu...


DALLAS, Tex. — The American Transportation Research Institute (ATRI) unveiled its Top 10 list of the critical issues facing US truckers, with driver shortage concerns topping the list.

Last year’s survey had fuel costs as the number one concern for the trucking community. This year with 57% of respondents placing the driver shortage as their first, second or third concern, diesel fuel issues fell to second place.

According to the research institute’s report, a growing economy has made industry capacity issues a priority over stabilizing/declining fuel prices.

The survey indicates the problem is not attracting new drivers, but not attracting enough new drivers.

“The trucking industry has had moderate success in attracting new entrants, with the for-hire sector employing an additional 2,900 workers in September 2006 boosting the year-to-date total of new hires to 25,500,” stated the report. “September’s increase in trucking employment was the 12th in the last 13 months and the third-largest monthly gain this year. Nevertheless, industry research indicates that by 2014 the projected driver shortage will exceed 110,000.”

ATRI’s survey of more than 4,000 trucking industry executives was released during the American Trucking Associations (ATA) management conference and exhibition in Dallas on Oct. 29. ATRI also solicited and tabulated strategies for addressing each issue.

The ATA-commissioned survey results and proposed strategies will be utilized by the ATA to better focus its advocacy role on behalf of the US trucking industry and ATA Federation stakeholders.

“I have long advocated for the industry to better prepare itself to deal with change,” said Pat Quinn, ATA chairman. “And one way to do so is to better anticipate the challenges ahead. The ATRI survey results are invaluable in telling us what is important to motor carriers and which strategies ATA should pursue on their behalf.”

Aside from driver shortage and diesel fuel other issues rounding out the Top 10 list are: driver retention, hours-of-service, congestion, government regulations, highway infrastructure, tort reform, tolls/highway funding and environmental issues.

Driver retention and highway infrastructure were new additions to the Top 10 list this year, as insurance costs and truck security did not make the cut.

A copy of the survey results is available from ATRI at www.atri-online.org.


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