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September 8, 2020 3:30 PM, EDT

ATRI Opens Annual Top Industry Issues Survey

Truck ParkingTruck parking is a common concern noted on ATRI's survey. (Lorrie Grant/Transport Topics)

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The American Transportation Research Institute has opened its annual survey asking trucking industry representatives to identify major industrywide issues.

The nonprofit research group launched its 2020 Top Industry Issues Survey on Sept. 8. In addition to ranking top issues concerning the industry, participants also may suggest potential strategies for dealing with each topic.

This is ATRI’s 16th year leading the survey. The group’s analysis ranks the issues overall and also offers a detailed look at how certain topics are ranked differently by carriers and drivers. One purpose of the study is to allow industry representatives to track issues over time and view which issues are rising or falling in criticality.

Randy Guillot

Guillot

“Completing this survey only takes a few minutes, but its impact can be immeasurable,” said American Trucking Associations Chairman Randy Guillot, president of Louisiana companies Triple G Express and Southeastern Motor Freight. “The data ATRI provides maps a course for the industry to speak with a collective voice on our most important issues.”

The survey results will be released Oct. 27 as part of ATA’s Management Conference & Exhibition, which will be held in a virtual format this year.

Questions presented in the survey ask where a participant is based and what role he or she plays in the industry, such as a driver, carrier executive, dispatcher, equipment supplier, trainer, law enforcement officer or government representative.

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Participants also are asked to rank the top three issues they think are most pressing for the industry. The list of issues to choose from is extensive, and includes topics such as detention at customer facilities, automated truck technology, the driver shortage, training standards, the electronic logging device mandate, hours of service, truck parking and the COVID-19 pandemic.

“This year has been like no other we’ve seen and understanding how the COVID-19 pandemic has impacted all of the trucking industry’s top issues will be a key feature of this year’s analysis,” ATRI Senior Vice President Dan Murray said.

ATRI Senior Vice President Dan Murray

Murray

Earlier in 2020, ATRI conducted a separate study on the pandemic’s impact on the trucking industry. Released April 22, the analysis examined freight activity from Feb. 9 through April 18 across California, Florida, Illinois, New York, Pennsylvania and Washington. ATRI also teamed with the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association Foundation to survey industry representatives on how COVID-19 has impacted them. The survey results, released May 5, revealed participants encountered lighter traffic congestion and shorter hauls.

The same concerns tend to lead the Top Industry Issues report each year. The industrywide driver shortage has ranked No. 1 on the list for the past three years in a row. According to a forecast from 2019, ATA estimated the industry was lacking 60,800 drivers at the end of 2018. ATA also found that the industry could be short more than 100,000 drivers in five years if conditions don’t change.

Other issues that generally rank high on the list include hours-of-service rules and the industry’s calls for increased flexibility, driver retention, the ELD mandate and the lack of available truck parking.

ATRI’s survey gauging top industry concerns will remain open at truckingresearch.org through Oct. 16.

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