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Hours-of-service rules back as top concern in annual trucking industry survey

The American Transportation Research Institute (ATRI), the trucking industry's not-for-profit research institute, unveiled its list of the top ten critical issues facing the North American trucking industry.

Operational impacts being experienced across the supply chain from the changes to the Hours-of-Service (HOS) rules that went into effect in 2013 once again propelled the HOS rules to the top of the list in ATRI's annual survey of more than 4,000 trucking industry stakeholders. The complete results were released at the 2014 Management Conference and Exhibition of the American Trucking Associations (ATA) meeting in San Diego, CA, the nation's largest gathering of motor carrier executives. The ATRI Top Industry Issues report also solicited and tabulated specific strategies for
addressing each issue.

Coming in a close second to the HOS rules in terms of industry concern is the growing driver shortage, which replaced the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) Compliance, Safety, Accountability (CSA) program as the number two issue. However, a number of challenges still exist with CSA, which ranked third overall on the 2014 list.

Related to the driver shortage, driver retention moved to fourth place from seventh place in 2013 as trucking fleets work to retain their most experienced and qualified drivers. Finally, industry concern over the timing and specifics of the pending FMCSA Final Rule on electronic logging devices (ELDs) caused this issue to round out the top five industry issues of 2014.

The state of the nation's economy, which first appeared on the top industry list in 2008 and held the number one spot for three years in a row (2009-2011), dropped to number nine on this year's list. The 2014 list also has a first-time issue, Driver Distraction, which debuted in 10th place amid industry concern over the safety impacts of car driver use of cell phones while driving.

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

"ATRI's annual survey of top industry issues gives us direct insight in to all of the complex forces affecting motor carriers and drivers so that we can plan accordingly, and focus on running a safe and profitable industry,” said ATA chairman Phil Byrd, President/CEO, Bulldog Hiway Express,
Charleston, SC.

"As we all know, the trucking industry constantly faces changes and challenges to how we operate safely and efficiently,” ATA President and CEO Bill Graves said. "However, our industry has always responded to these issues with determination and ATRI's work gives us the information to decide
where to focus our energies first and foremost.”

A copy of the survey results is available here.





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