The trucking industry is a crucial part of the worldwide transportation ecosystem. Increasing demand for reliable trucking services means that good drivers always have a job which also means the technology used in truck driving is continually evolving to meet keep up with the demand.
It is crucial for over the road truck drivers to stay informed about the latest trucking industry trends. Here are a few to watch for:
The E-logging mandate helps drivers spend less time handling paperwork Electronic logging devices, or ELDs, are tools that record engine hours, miles driven, vehicle motion status, and a variety of other useful data. They help to make drivers’ jobs more convenient by replacing tedious paper logs and reports. More importantly, though, ELDS keep the roads safer by helping drivers get the federally-required rest periods they need and deserve, thereby reducing fatigued driving.
ELDs will save $570 million each year in crash reductions alone. Carriers with other approved electronic devices installed have until December 18, 2019, to implement the necessary upgrades to their technology.
Spot rates continue to rise, which is excellent news for owner-operators in the US
As carriers rush to get their freight delivered, demand for reliable and safe drivers increases. Spot rates rose steadily throughout 2017 and 2018, and analysts expect that trend to continue. While some shippers may switch to rail freight in an effort to cut transportation costs, the trucking industry shows zero signs of slowing down.
As long-time drivers retire, demand for new drivers increases
While autonomous driving continues to be the subject of much speculation in the trucking industry, the need for truck drivers is on the rise. It is unlikely that autonomous trucks will have an effect on drivers’ job prospects anytime soon. Tesla has an electric semi-truck with a 500-mile range, but a lack of widespread charging stations and a high price tag keeps the technology from taking over the industry. Moves toward electric and autonomous vehicles will only make the job safer and easier.
Truck platooning gains acceptance
Truck platooning is a sure-fire way for companies to increase fuel efficiency while decreasing tailpipe emissions and aerodynamic drag. Only ten states currently allow the practice of digitally tethered semi-trucks with automatic braking to travel at highway speeds, but platooning is quickly gaining popularity.
Advisors for the trucking industry are working with legislators to create exemptions to the 300-foot-rule. They estimate that it will take five years for all states to adopt platooning as a viable and safe way to increase efficiency in the transportation industry.
Automated technology improves efficiency in trucking operations
Trucking firms use automated back-office systems to increase their ability to serve customers and take care of their drivers. Automation improves the bottom line, and frees up employees to handle problems quickly. Over the road truckers need a robust support network, and back-office systems make getting the load to the customer on time much easier.
The cost to hire a new driver continues to rise
It is becoming more expensive for transportation companies to find and hire dependable drivers with a good safety record. In fact, it costs about $7,000 to hire just one truck driver. Turnover is a real problem in the industry; most drivers quit within just a few months of starting a new job.
Increased safety practices, technological advances, improved communication, more home-time, and better pay help companies attract and retain good drivers. As an over the road driver, you have many opportunities to work for a new company, and your services are more valuable than ever.
Driver pay increasingly connected to productivity
Transportation companies often tie driver bonuses and incentive pay to productivity. Some companies use apps to assist drivers. Co-Pilot Live Truck plans the fastest route, updating results to include obstacles like low clearance and weight restrictions. Gas Buddy helps drivers find the closest fuel station with the lowest price on diesel fuel. Xata Turnpike keeps track of driver productivity, speed, hours of service, and fuel use, and shares the information with the driver’s employer.
The physical health and wellbeing of truck drivers is a priority
As a truck driver, it can be difficult to find opportunities to exercise and eat well while on the road. However, solutions are being developed to help alleviate this problem. Larger truck stops sometimes have a fitness center to help truckers get the physical activity they need. Fast food restaurants offer healthy alternatives to run-of-the-mill burgers and fries. Some companies even offer incentives for their truckers to exercise and eat well while on the road.
Over the road truck drivers who would like to work for a trucking company in Arkansas can apply to join the RCX Solutions team online. We offer our company drivers pay-per-day or pay-per-mile compensation. All drivers are eligible to receive ongoing safety bonuses. Our owner-operators receive mileage pay or percentage pay as well as a regular safety bonus.