ATRI President, COO Rebecca Brewster. Photo: Evan Lockridge

ATRI President, COO Rebecca Brewster. Photo: Evan Lockridge

SAN DIEGO -- The American Transportation Research Institute on Monday unveiled its list of the top ten critical issues facing the North American trucking industry, during the American Trucking Associations’ Management Conference & Exhibition in San Diego.

Operational impacts being experienced across the supply chain from the changes to the hours-of-service rules that went into effect in 2013 once again propelled the regulations to the top of the list in ATRI’s annual survey of more than 4,000 trucking industry stakeholders. The survey was made up of approximately 70% of people with truck fleets and about 30% drivers.

Coming in a close second to the hours-of-service rules in terms of industry concern is the growing driver shortage, which replaced the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s Compliance, Safety, Accountability, more commonly known as CSA, as the number two issue. However, a number of challenges still exist with CSA, which ranked third overall on the 2014 list.

Related to the driver shortage, driver retention moved to fourth place from seventh place in 2013 as trucking fleets work to retain their most experienced and qualified drivers. Finally, industry concern over the timing and specifics of the pending FMCSA final rule on electronic logging devices caused this issue to round out the top five industry issues of 2014.

“I really was surprised that the hours of service rules eclipsed the driver shortage,” said ATRI President and COO Rebecca Brewster.

The state of the nation’s economy, which first appeared on the top industry list in 2008 and held the number one spot from 2009 through 2011, dropped to number nine on this year’s list.

The 2014 list also has a first-time issue, driver distraction, which debuted in 10th place amid industry concern over the safety impacts of car driver use of cell phones while driving.

The ATA-commissioned survey will be used by the federation to focus its advocacy role, according to ATRI.

The full survey can be found on the ATRI website.