The American Transportation Research Institute (ATRI), Marietta, Ga., unveiled its annual Top Industry Issues report, which includes the list of the Top 10 critical issues facing the North American trucking industry. For the third year in a row, driver shortage is the top-ranked issue for trucking fleets, as they struggle to recruit and retain qualified drivers. 

The Hours-of-Service (HOS) rules held on to the No. 2 issue in the survey for a second consecutive year, reflecting the industry’s call for additional flexibility in the rules. 

Two new issues appeared on this year’s list for the first time ever, ones that also impact the industry’s ability to recruit and retain qualified drivers.

Driver compensation ranked third overall and represents two sides to a complex issue—motor carriers who have raised driver pay significantly over the past year in response to the driver shortage and drivers concerned that their pay has not kept pace with inflation. 

Driver detention at customer facilities, making its debut at No. 4 on this year’s list, reflects growing concern over excessive delays that create impacts for drivers’ hours-of-service compliance, compensation and ability to find safe, available truck parking.

The lack of available truck parking rounds out the Top 5 issues on this year’s list, but ranks third among commercial driver respondents after compensation and HOS rules.

The survey generated more than 2,000 responses from motor carriers and commercial drivers.

“While 2018 was an incredible year for trucking, we’ve seen some challenges in 2019, and certainly finding and retaining qualified drivers remains at the top of the list for our industry,” says Barry Pottle, chairman of American Trucking Associations, Arlington, Va., and president and CEO of Pottle’s Transportation, Hermon, Maine. “ATRI’s analysis reveals the interconnectedness of these top issues, and provides a roadmap for how motor carriers and professional drivers believe we should move forward as an industry.”