Asset Tracking Trends in the Face of the Driver Shortage
The trucking industry is facing a driver shortage. According to the American Trucking Association, despite the national unemployment rate being over 7%, the industry struggles to find enough qualified drivers. The current shortage of roughly 25,000 is due to many reasons, including demographic, regulatory, and the fact that drivers are away from home for long periods of time, among other factors.
Against those odds, the trucking economy has recovered well since 2010 according to economist Noel Perry at the 2015 ALK Technology Summit, who forecasts 3.2 percent growth through 2016, but warned a global debt crisis carries a major risk of drawing the U.S. economy into recession within the next five years.
Enforcement of the electronic logging device mandate will create a long-term driver shortage of 80,000 and structural change in the way drivers are compensated and managed, said Perry, who described himself as “the guy in the industry that quantifies the intangibles.”
Perry also quantified the savings of GPS tracking technology and other advancements – all of which he believes will be in play by 2020 – for motor carriers. The total savings from increased productivity, fuel efficiency, safety, and driver costs of these technologies will be more than $1 per mile according to his calculations.
Autonomous trucks will certainly help combat the driver shortage, but autonomous trucks aren’t truly autonomous. They still require human operators for regulatory and functional reasons.
Further benefits of GPS tracking technology advances include:
Will these asset tracking trends be enough to save the industry despite the driver shortage? Only time will tell.