National Truck Driver Appreciation Week is coming up on Sept. 12-18 so it’s a good time to remind employees, customers, receivers and the public to show some love for the drivers who keep America rolling.
“The COVID-19 pandemic did a lot to change the way the public looks at trucking, trucks and truck drivers,” Mike Roeth, director of the North American Council for Freight Efficiency, wrote in Fleet Owner this month. “But a lot of Americans have short memories. Now that things have settled down—excluding the shortage of some key materials—it is a safe bet that folks may forgot about how important truck drivers are.”
There are 3.6 million truck drivers in the U.S. and total industry employment is 7.8 million, or one out of every 16 working people. More than 80% of U.S. communities depend solely on trucking for delivery of their goods and commodities. Drivers continue to work through various obstacles during the pandemic to see that grocery stores are stocked, hospitals and other essential businesses have the PPE supplies they need and that vaccines are getting to the right distribution points.
National Truck Driver Appreciation Week is one way to show respect for the professional men and women who deliver our goods safely, securely and on time while also keeping our highways safe. To learn more, visit ATA’s National Driver Appreciation Week hub.
It’s been a busy year for truckers. But enforcement officials say it’s time to pump the brakes.
The Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance will hold its annual Brake Safety Week from Aug. 22-28 to encourage motor carriers, drivers and technicians to check their vehicles’ brakes for mechanical fitness and compliance.
Last year’s Brake Safety Week resulted in 12% of the 43,565 inspected commercial motor vehicles being placed out of service. Vehicles are not allowed on the road until they can pass inspection.
Brake Safety Week comes at the heels of the release of results from CVSA’s 72-hour International Roadcheck event in May.
Officers conducted nearly 40,000 motor vehicle inspections and removed 6,710 trucks and trailers from the roadway during Roadcheck, a 16.5% vehicle out-of-service rate. Brakes were the most-cited vehicle out-of-service violation, accounting for 26.5% of all infractions.
It’s not unusual for truckers to take time off during CVSA events. Expect capacity to tighten and spot truckload rates to tick higher as carriers adjust their schedules to avoid delays at weigh scales and other inspection sites.
If you’re ordering a new truck or trailer today don’t expect delivery until next year at the earliest, said ACT Research, which provides vehicle sales data and industry analysis for commercial transportation markets.
Production capacity has been limited by supply chain constraints and a shortage of workers as OEMs convert the swell of orders during the last nine months into finished vehicles. “Medium-duty, heavy-duty and trailer backlogs are essentially filled through 2021 and well into 2022,” said Kenny Vieth, ACT’s president and senior analyst.
Even if new trucks were delivered tomorrow, it’s unclear whether carriers would have enough drivers to fill them. In the meantime, Vieth said, a full freight pipeline filled, tight commercial vehicle capacity and seasonal considerations should keep carrier profitability “should continue rising into year’s end and start 2022 on a very strong footing.”