As 2022 winds down, Blue Eagle is taking a look at this year’s top driver concerns according to ATRI and making some predictions for next year’s list.
The top 10 Driver concerns of 2022 according to ATRI are as follows:
- Driver shortage
- Driver compensation
- Truck parking
- Compliance, safety and accountability
- Insurance availability and cost
- Driver retention
- Tort reform
- The economy
- Driver detention
- Hours of service
It’s an interesting list for sure. We’re going to take a dive into it and make predictions for this upcoming year’s top concerns:
Number One: Driver Shortage
- Nobody is surprised that the top concern is the driver shortage. The labor shortage is everywhere and the lack of drivers is a story is getting a weathered feel to it as it continues to trend in the news cycle. Blue Eagle Predicts that the difficulty in finding drivers remains unchanged as the top driver concern for 2023.
Number Two: Driver Pay
- We’re going to say that driver compensation rules in the second spot again in 2023 as well: With inflation at a forty year high, resulting in the average American burning through $443 more a month, we don’t think that horse is going to slow its pace in the race for top driver concern.
Number Three: Truck Parking
- We think this issue shifts gears in 2023: There’s been major legislation geared towards increasing truck parking across the nation. Blue Eagle ran an article on it a few months ago detailing the hundreds of millions of dollars that are allocated to helping to ease this issue. While lack of parking won’t get resolved overnight, we’re hopeful that the media attention and funding this has received will ease some of the inherent issues in this debacle.
Number Four: Compliance, Safety, and Accountability
- Anecdotally, this is an interesting issue: Drivers have shared with this reporter that they are concerned about electric trucks complying with the same laws that they have to abide by. Blue Eagle is going to nod to the legislation we mentioned in Number Three and say the government never gets involved without painting the scene with the red tape. Trust this issue to remain on the leaderboard for 2023.
Number Five: Insurance Availability and Cost
- This issue is like watching seven seasons of trucking reality tv if it was directed by the team behind The Sopranos. Hit men, mafia, organized Southern crime rings, staged accidents, this issue has it all. Top government officials out of the most active (and corrupt) political machine in the nation Chicago, were pushing for even stronger legal support that incentivizes staged accidents and drives insurance up. Blue Eagle actually reached out to the representative introducing this legislation who did not return our emails for comment. We are very hopeful that with a Republican led House that piece of legislation will get the cement shoes it deserves.
Number Six: Driver Retention
- For those in the know, retention might be the shadow issue behind almost every item on this list. On average, it costs 8,000 dollars to replace a driver with a trainee. Solving for retention means resolving a lot of issues from Safe Parking to fuel prices. We would love to hear that this has moved off the list during 2023.
Number Seven: Truck Shortage
- Here is where we go off script: Instead of Tort Reform, we are going to predict that waves in the current oil market will drive Chinese aggression against the Taiwanese. The Taiwanese are responsible for the vast majority of the Chips that run our tech-centric trucks, and we believe that will put pressure on production. Diesel Mechanics are already in short order, so we think that the trucking industry is going to push this issue up the list for 2023.
Number Eight: The Economy
- This is the only item on the list that wasn’t there for 2021. It’s also the only non-trucking-specific concern. We’re interested to see how the Fed’s rate hikes impact the economy over the next year. Sixty percent of American households are living paycheck to paycheck, whatever their income level. But we’re hoping that with rate hikes, we’ll see the housing market adjust in a way that encourages the labor force to contract. That ripple effect should help stabilize the economy, but there will be pain across all sectors as this ship weathers the inflationary storm. In short, for next year at least we don’t think this issue is going anywhere.
Number Nine: Human Safety Drivers
- So, Human Safety Drivers have never been on a list at any time for drivers… but that’s because it’s a brand new issue. With Kodiak, Gatik, and Tesla (along with several others) making promising strides in the driverless truck sphere there is growing demand for Human Safety Drivers that act as monitors or babysitters for this brand new autonomous trucking technology. All three will have autonomous trucks on the road this year, with Kodiak running a driverless truck pretty regularly already from Florida to Texas. Watch this issue next year as it develops. If we were looking at 2024 predictions, we would move this way up the list.
Number Ten: Hours of Service
- This is such an interesting issue. Blue Eagle really works hard to keep our drivers in a healthy work-life balance. It’s one of the things that attracts and retains drivers for our fleet. But for the broader industry the transition to E-logs ended the 18+ hour runs that drivers did on a regular basis. As a company that supports driver health, we hope that drivers industry-wide can achieve better pay, while working reasonable, sustainable hours.
Cheers to 2023! Blue Eagle is excited to see the trucking industry and the broader economy hopefully find some balance by the end of next year.