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Are "Piggyback" Trailers The Answer To Driver Shortage?

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Since the middle of 2010, the driver shortage crisis has been an ongoing problem in the trucking industry.

Although the industry has increased its workforce dramatically in the last two years, America is still short by well over 100,000 drivers. To combat the shortage, some carriers are planning new methods to meet demand and make deliveries on time. According to the recent survey Fleet Sentiment Report by CK Commercial Vehicle Research, roughly 70% of trucking companies’ surveyed plan to buy extra trailers to expand capacity. 

By attaching an additional trailer, truckers can “piggyback” on an existing tractor. The logic behind this is to allow carriers to keep the same number of tractors and the same number of drivers, yet increase productivity. This practice is not permitted in all states. However, the idea is gaining popularity. When a driver drops off a load, the next load is waiting in the second attached trailer.

The amount of money carriers can save upon changing the tractor to trailer ratio is debatable. Piggybacking trailers adds more weight, making the engine work harder and burn more fuel. The added weight can also increase wear and tear on the tractor, thus increasing maintenance costs. Yet, these projected added costs can be much less than fueling and maintaining two separate tractors.

If this added trailer plan materializes, keeping track of assets can become a challenge. Many carriers lose a great deal of money to wasted fuel, wasted time, theft, high maintenance fees, and insurance premiums.

By investing in a GPS tracking solution, carriers can be prepared to track their assets and keep costs down. With a complete solution that incorporates reporting features and comprehensive data analysis tools, reducing excessive idling and other behaviors that either waste fuel, risk accidents, or cause other costly repairs, can be tracked and prevented.

Additionally, carriers can reduce liability risk and costly insurance premiums with a GPS tracking risk management tool that offers visibility over unauthorized vehicle use and driver safety. This oversight opens opportunity to use driver scorecarding to implement safety and rewards programs to help retain drivers. Instant replay of safety events as they happen in real-time are also effective for improving training and driver coaching.

With efficient fleet management tools and comprehensive data analysis features, carriers can increase the productivity of their fleet and maintain a positive team of drivers, regardless of the number of trailers they own. 


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