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Trucking Woes to Gains: Capacity & Driver Shortage

By Brad PenneauFebruary 2, 2020
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It’s no secret that commercial truck drivers face myriad daily challenges on the road. From the recent ELD mandate implementation—and impending hard enforcement—to the growing driver shortage, many trucking companies are fighting an uphill battle.

Providing drivers with the very best navigation and e-log tools is critical to making their lives less stressful and a primary reason many businesses implement a GPS tracking solution. But there’s much more to the technology than just fleet tracking and navigation. It’s time to invest in a solution that understands the challenges drivers face, from staying compliant with ever-changing industry mandates to keeping costs low and encouraging safe driving. Let’s examine some current obstacles that trucking companies are facing and explore how the right technology can help.

Current Industry Challenges

Truckload capacity is seeing a real crunch in 2018. According to the Journal of Commerce, “Trucking capacity is tightening faster than anticipated in the electronic logging area, as a messy start to the electronic logging device (ELD) mandate is making a bad situation worse for shippers, forcing the latter to pay more, speed up loading and unloading, and dig deeper into routing guides to find capacity.”

Additionally, a number of winter storms in January and February of 2018 exacerbated the effect of the ELD mandate, taking additional capacity off the road and causing headaches for drivers. And to top it all off, the grace period for the ELD mandate ended on April 1, when full enforcement begins.1

The driver shortage is also making matters worse for many trucking companies. According to NPR, “America needs more truck drivers. The trucking industry is facing a growing shortage of drivers that is pushing some retailers to delay nonessential shipments or pay high prices to get their goods delivered on time.” The American Trucking Associations recently estimated that the national shortage of truck drivers was set to reach 50,000 by the end of 2017 and could grow to more than 174,000 by 2026, causing major industry concerns.2

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For smaller companies already struggling to enhance daily productivity after the ELD mandate went into full effect, the driver shortage could hit especially hard. So, what can these companies do to survive and thrive in this challenging industry?

The Role of Telematics: Reduce Compliance Headaches

Commercial trucking fleets need to maintain up-to-date with rapidly changing legislation, from Hours of Service (HOS) tracking, including the new ELD requirement, to DVIR and IFTA reports and size or load route restrictions, there is so much for small trucking businesses to keep up with. That’s where streamlining and automation can help, making complex regulations so much simpler and removing the bulk of the paperwork burden from drivers. And making drivers’ lives easier helps trucking companies retain their workforce and attract new talent among the growing shortage.

With e-logs now mandatory for drivers who record HOS, it’s more important than ever to use fleet compliance software that keeps mistakes to a minimum and helps reduce the stress of completing a daily HOS log. The right compliance software for your business allows drivers to use a mobile device to make easy work of DVIRs and keep track of their hours to meet strict HOS standards. It also provides spoken turn-by-turn directions following truck legal routes, providing guidance that uses the most accurate map, weather, road and event data available. Accurate IFTA reports can then be prepared using the GPS tracking data generated by the fleet.

Say Goodbye to High Fuel Costs

When capacity is tight and fuel prices are rising, every percent of fuel saved is a big deal to small businesses. And there is good news: a GPS tracking solution commonly saves trucking fleets an average of up to 25% on their annual fuel spend.3 Utilizing the right tools and actionable data when it comes to fuel can allow an entire fleet to:

  • Secure fuel card integration – access to network discounts
  • Fuel card fraud protection to prevent theft
  • Report on a vehicle’s MPG to identify fuel waste
  • Coach drivers to be smart about fuel use
  • Minimize unnecessary idling
  • Reduce out-of-route miles or unauthorized use
  • Provide accurate last-mile navigation, right to the loading dock.

Efficiency, Safety and Productivity = A Win for Drivers

Commercial drivers face challenges on the job every day, and it’s all too important for them get to their destination safely and more efficiently than ever before. Supported by verified feedback from hundreds of thousands of commercial operators and government agencies, telematics can allow for enhanced safety, productivity and efficiency, giving drivers the peace of mind they want and giving companies the retention and recruitment boost they need.

1507090772 brad penneau
Brad Penneau

With a career in transportation safety spanning 30 years, Penneau’s experience includes progressively responsible safety, regulatory compliance, and training in (and in support of) the trucking industry.

Tags: ELD & Compliance