August 21, 2018 12:00 PM, EDT

ATRI Launches Industry Issues Survey

Driver in cab interior The driver shortage was No. 1 in last year's survey. (John Ballance)

Trucking industry representatives now can submit their concerns to the American Transportation Research Institute.

The nonprofit research organization launched its 2018 Top Industry Issues Survey on Aug. 21. The survey, conducted every year, invites members of the industry to rank the top issues, as well as present strategies for addressing them.

This is ATRI’s 14th year leading the survey. According to a press release issued by the institute, participation has grown each year.

ATRI logo

“ATRI’s research provides a chance 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. Completing this survey only takes a few minutes, but its impact can be immeasurable,” said American Trucking Associations Chairman Dave Manning, who also serves as president of Nashville, Tenn.-based transportation company TCW.

The survey results will be released at ATA’s annual Management Conference & Exhibition, which will be held in Austin, Texas, Oct. 27-31.

The same group of issues tends to dominate the list year by year. The industrywide driver shortage ranked No. 1 on last year’s survey results, released Oct. 23. ATA this year has reported the shortage at more than 50,000 drivers.

The federal electronic logging device mandate came in at No. 2 last year, while driver hours-of-service rules dropped to No. 3. The shortage of available truck parking held steady at No. 4.

Rounding out the top 10 on last year’s list of issues were: driver retention (No. 5), the federal Compliance, Safety, Accountability program (No. 6), the effect of trucking regulations on productivity and profitability (No. 7), driver distraction (No. 8), transportation infrastructure funding and traffic congestion (No. 9) and driver health and wellness (No. 10).

“ATRI’s work in identifying and exploring the issues facing trucking is invaluable to ATA as we work on behalf of our industry,” ATA spokesman Sean McNally told Transport Topics. “Every year, their top issues survey serves as a compass, guiding our advocacy. We thank ATRI for its work here and urge anyone with an interest in trucking to participate.”

Ellen Voie


Women In Trucking Association President Ellen Voie said she hopes members of her association will participate in ATRI’s survey. WIT is a nonprofit group dedicated to encouraging the employment of women in the industry. Women constitute just 6% of all truck drivers, according to the association.

Voie cited ATRI’s recently updated Crash Predictor Model as a positive step in supporting the argument that women should join the industry. The Crash Predictor Model quantifies the likelihood of future crash involvement for truck operators based on certain driving behaviors. ATRI announced an updated model — and presented new findings from that model — July 31.

On the whole, the research found that women were safer truck drivers than men. Men were 88% more likely than women to have a reckless driving conviction. Gender also bore an impact on the likelihood of crash involvement. For example, men were 20% more likely to be involved in a crash than women.

“We encourage our members to participate in ATRI’s industry issues survey so their voices will be heard in prompting more research involving gender issues,” Voie told TT. “We were thrilled with the recent crash causation study results which proved that women are safer commercial drivers; something we have been saying for years! If we can make our highways safer by hiring more women, then ATRI’s findings are truly significant to the entire industry.”