If you’ve been reading logistics trade publications, you’ve noticed that shipping freight by truck is getting more complicated all the time. And, since 70 percent of the cargo in the U.S. is moved on trucks, that means big changes for all of us.
Just last week, a new Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration regulation known as the “Driver Coercion” rule took effect. It prohibits carriers, shippers, receivers and transportation intermediaries from trying to make drivers violate federal regulations. Among the concerns the rule addresses is limits on hours of service.
This government rule comes on top of a push from inside the industry to promote risk management, including driver safety and the reduction of preventable crash rates that impact the cost of insurance.
Fleet tracking devices with GPS are being installed, even by smaller carriers, to ensure that drivers don’t speed, exceed their hours or stray from their routes. Drivers, carriers, shippers and receivers are being held more accountable than ever before.
Complicating these worthy efforts is the fact that there is a significant shortage of truck drivers in America, according to the American Trucking Association. That’s because the average age of the U.S. truck driver is rising, the job requires more skill than ever before and new regulations are making carriers more cautious and selective in hiring. During the next decade, the U.S. trucking industry will need to hire nearly 90,000 drivers per year, many of them to replace drivers who are retiring.
At ICAT Logistics Detroit, we are pleased by the fact that many of our trucking partners are taking swift action to ensure service quality does not decline. They promote professional driver training, pride themselves on the long tenure of their drivers, and continue to upgrade their equipment to ensure better productivity and less down time.
We fully support efforts to instill safety, transparency and accountability in the logistics and freight delivery business. While some aspects of the changes you see may cause an occasional inconvenience, we have learned that if you plan well, consider contingencies, and build a network of trusted shipping partners, the new rules only enhance your ability to give your customers great and safe service. And that is our ultimate goal.
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