The American Transportation Research Institute (ATRI) has identified its top priorities for the trucking industry. The focus of the list is to benefit fleet owners and drivers alike in a rapidly changing landscape that has brought a lot of uncertainty in recent months. The topics for research in 2022 include:
More states are decriminalizing marijuana, leading to a rise in both the usage and transportation of products for the cannabis industry. Roadway safety is of the utmost priority, yet medical professionals are prescribing cannabis for everything from chronic pain to post-traumatic stress. Unlike alcohol, pharmaceuticals, and other substances, marijuana stays resident in a person’s system well after the effects have worn off. This poses an unclear path when it comes to distinguishing drivers who are operating under the influence from those who may have used cannabis products a few days or even months prior to the drug test. A driver shortage already exists, and truckers should not be unfairly penalized for things they did not do on the job.
For a long time now, tow truck operators have been finding excuses to haul away trucks and then charging obscene fees to release those vehicles and their cargo. Predatory trucking ranges from tow operators parking at known crash locations to “accidentally” towing trucks that are close to (but not in) no parking zones, and other reasons. Predatory towing causes delays in shipments and costs the trucking industry a lot of money every year. ATRI is researching the bad actors involved, seeing what reforms can be made, and trying to lower the cost of predatory towing for fleet owners, their drivers, and independent owner-operators.
Driver Training and Retention
Last year, driver retention topped the list of priorities for ATRI. Driver retention is still a major focus, but ATRI is taking a different tack. Data points indicated that there might be a strong correlation between sufficient training and driver retention. If a new driver is not adequately trained in safety procedures and requirements, they might have a tough time fitting into a fleet. At the same time, insufficiently trained drivers could wind up with traffic infractions and end up leaving the industry due to frustration over rules and guidelines they were never prepared for in the first place. The other side of this concern is that if drivers are not adequately trained, the carriers that employ them could face “nuclear decisions” from judges if they are involved in accidents. The long and the short of it is that everyone wins when drivers have comprehensive training.
EB-3 Work Permits
While churn and retention certainly impact an already growing driver shortage, ATRI is exploring pathways to mitigate the shortage by allowing drivers from outside the United States to achieve employment through sponsorship via EB-3 permits.
New Trucking Companies
One of the best ways for the industry to help manage the driver gap is to encourage owner-operators and other entrepreneurs to launch their own trucking companies. Small trucking companies give their drivers a sense of agency and ownership in the company, which helps a lot to build loyalty. Additionally, smaller trucking companies can service areas that large carriers cannot reach. Smaller trucking companies can also build a strong network with local businesses, as well as other carriers to coordinate hand-off points and last mile deliveries.
Single Point Capital helps owner-operators launch new trucking companies. We handle the forms and administrative legwork to ensure everything from permits to insurance is in order. We will even waive any administrative fees for clients who use our freight factoring services. To learn more, contact the team at Single Point Capital today.