The Economy: The number of trucks on the road has declined significantly. Many drivers and entire carrier companies have disappeared from the system, decreasing the overall availability of trucks in the industry. During the recession, 4,493 trucking companies failed, and 174,000 trucks were taken off the road. Many experts see driver shortage as becoming the trucking industry’s biggest problem.
La Niña: Drivers in the PNW are being warned to be prepared for potentially severe winter driving conditions with the arrival of what is predicted to be one of the strongest la Niña winters since 1955. Drivers are also being warned that the mountain passes in particular will be severe; so remember, preparedness will be key!
Broker Legislation: Many carrier companies have been left with outstanding balances from unscrupulous brokers who continually take advantage of small business truckers. There has been proposed legislation sent to the US Senate to increase the broker bond from $10,000 to $100,000, a proposition UWC fully supports. However, the issue still exists as the legislation is not to go before the senate until Spring 2011.
CARB Regulations: Excessive restrictions and regulations are a continual bane for the trucking industry, and that’s particularly true in California, where the California Air Resources Board recently postponed its requirement for upgraded trailer refrigeration units; these regulations, however, have not been taken off the table. Stay tuned for more on this issue.
Entry into US Ports: It has been difficult for companies that service the ports to hire new drivers because of tougher screening of operators, who must have a Transportation Worker Identification Credential issued by the Transportation Security Administration. Driving records, criminal records and legal residency problems have made securing a card difficult for some drivers.
CSA 2010: Increased monitoring of individual drivers and carrier companies. The BASICs that are measured: Fatigued Driving (HOS), Vehicle Maintenance, Cargo-Related, Crash Indicator, Unsafe Driving, Driver Fitness, Controlled Substances. CSA 2010 will put further pressure on carrier companies to follow regulations as the penalties for non-compliance are severe, a problem that is intensified by the lack of qualified drivers under this new system.