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ATRI again asks transportation industry: "What are trucking's top issues?"

Aug. 30, 2023
The research organization is calling for responses to their annual Top 10 Industry Issues Survey, which has called attention to the driver shortage, truck parking, and technician shortage.

The American Transportation Research Institute (ATRI), a non-profit organization dedicated to transportation studies and research, is asking for responses for the 2023 Top Industry Issues Survey. The survey, which the ATRI has done for almost 20 years, ranks the top issues in the trucking industry and provides insights on how motor carriers and drivers rank particular issues.

The 2023 Survey will be open for driver and motor carrier responses until September 29, 2023. ATRI will present their findings Oct. 14 at the American Trucking Associations Management Conference & Exhibition in Austin, Texas.

Industry stakeholders can participate in the 2023 survey HERE.

Read more: Addressing top technician frustrations, according to WrenchWay

“The annual Top Industry Issues Survey has long been a crucial part of understanding the challenges facing our country’s supply chain,” said ATA Chair Dan Van Alstine, who is also Ruan's president and COO. “ATRI’s research provides an opportunity for thousands of trucking industry professionals, from drivers to executives, to weigh in on the most important topics that affect trucking and collectively decide on the best strategies for addressing each.”

The driver shortage has almost always ranked in the top spot since 2017, until fuel prices usurped it in 2022’s Top Industry Issues Survey. Driver compensation and truck parking are typical runner-ups to the driver shortage, with both consistently ranking among the top fve industry concerns for the past four years.

Maintenance challenges

The ATRI’s surveys have also found maintenance topics to be a growing concern, too.

While ATRI identified the technician shortage as an emerging issue in 2016, in 2021’s Survey, the issue first cracked ATRI’s top 10 issues in 2021, coming in 10th overall. That year, 4.1% of respondents said that the tech shortage was a top-ranked concern, 3.6% reported it as a second top concern, and 3.1% noted it as a third-ranked concern, giving the tech shortage an overall industry concern index of 18.5. At the time, ATRI proposed that the industry respond to the issue by encouraging collaboration between motor carriers and vocational programs to promote the profession, greater research to understand the scope and cause of the problem, and work with the U.S. Department of Labor Veteran’s Employment and Training Service to encourage technician recruitment from that demographic.

Compliance, Safety, and Accountability (CSA) has ranked among the top 10 reported issues in the organizations survey for the past decade, coming in eighth, sixth, and fourth in 2022, 2021, and 2020 respectively. In 2022, CSA was ranked as a top issue for 6% of respondents, as a second-choice issue for 3.6% of respondents, and as a third-ranked issue for 3.4% of respondents, corresponding to an industry concern index of 45.8. While the ATRI recommended that carriers work with the FMCSA on several counts to review crash and safety data, maintenance departments can impact these concerns by continuing to promote uptime and inspection compliance with regularly scheduled PMs and strong communication between technicians and drivers when issues arise.

About the Author

Alex Keenan

Alex Keenan is an Associate Editor for Fleet Maintenance magazine. She has written on a variety of topics for the past several years and recently joined the transportation industry, reviewing content covering technician challenges and breaking industry news. She holds a bachelor's degree in English from Colorado State University in Fort Collins, Colorado. 

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