One reason for the ongoing driver shortage may be the poor state of America’s roads. A survey conducted by logistics firm National Retail Systems reports almost a third of truck drivers are being held up by road construction every day. Half report delays at least every week. It’s enough to make a person want to quit the industry, and evidently, many do.
America’s transportation infrastructure is in bad shape, with a huge maintenance backlog and persistent traffic congestion. With many roads lacking a re-route path to handle increased traffic volume, such road construction and repair are making the problem worse by causing more serious delays.
A report by the Council of Economic Advisers (CEA) affirmed that poor infrastructure investments have cost American businesses around $27 billion each year in extra costs for freight transportation and shipping delays.
For truckers, most drivers get paid by the mile. Other drivers, including owner-operators, get paid by the load. Either way, sitting in traffic means money lost because time is going by, but the miles are not. Furthermore, as idling engines burn fuel, a carriers' operations and maintenance costs per vehicle rise. Not to mention the dangerous levels of greenhouse gas emissions produced from burning fuel. The American Trucking Associations' (ATA) estimates the industry is 30,000 drivers short, a number that could grow dramatically if trends continue.
Carriers not only must absorb added fuel and maintenance costs, but they must also cope with faster driver turnover.
There are many steps that trucking carriers as a whole can take to deal with the problem of roads, including supporting the rebuilding of America’s mass transit systems. But there are also things individual carriers can do to help support their drivers—one of the most straight-forward of these is to incorporate a GPS tracking solution.
With a GPS tracking system, drivers can easily communicate with dispatchers in case they need help routing to find a new way around a traffic jam. Or if a driver needs to notify dispatch about a change in schedule due to road conditions, drivers and fleet managers can stay connected with a two-way messaging system. A GPS tracking solution with a mobile tablet integration can also provide turn-by-turn directions for drivers so that there is a fast response to delivery locations and a reduction in fuel use.
Ultimately, as a country, we are going to have to take better care of our infrastructure. Reluctance to fund highway repair and true mass transit translates directly into economic losses every year. But until the root of the problem is fixed, carriers that can help their drivers avoid congested roads will at least come out ahead.