Jul 25, 2016



It’s understandable if you haven’t been able to keep up with all the happenings in the trucking industry this month; July is both a very busy month and a time when lots of people take off on vacation, leaving more for those still at the office.

So here’s a rundown of some of the top industry news stories from the month.

Truck Safety Comes at a Huge Cost

The trucking industry spends at least $9.5 billion every year on safety. That calculation comes from the American Trucking Association.

“We now can put a dollar figure on that investment and that figure is significant,” said Dave Osiecki, an executive with the ATA.

More than a third (about 36 percent) of that $9.5 billion goes to driver safety training – both the initial and recurring variety. That includes instructor and consultant wages and fees, driver coaching and even training for handling and hauling hazardous materials.

Another portion of that $9.5 billion goes for on-board technology that has safety enhancement as its only purpose or as one of its primary purposes. That includes installation and maintenance of collision avoidance technology, blind spot warning systems, stability control, video cameras and recorders used for safety training and legal protection, and electronic logging devices, which help to make sure that both trucks and drivers are operating within their prescribed limits.

Some of the safety spend also goes to paying out rewards and bonuses to drivers, technicians and others for meeting safety performance goals. And a healthy share goes to cover safety and regulatory compliance costs that include driver and truck record checks, drug and alcohol testing and safety audits.

Trucking Industry Employment Continues to Sag

For-hire trucking employment fell by 6,300 jobs in the month of June, according to a preliminary report this month from the U.S. Department of Labor. It was the fifth consecutive month that the industry’s employment totals fell. 

Trucking employment is headed in the opposite direction of employment overall in the United States. The nation added about 300,000 jobs in June, creating an official unemployment rate of 4.9 percent. The trucking industry had a total number of 1.45 million workers in June, according to the Labor Department’s report. The broader transportation and warehousing sector, of which trucking is one component, lost 9,400 workers last month.

Technology, Safety and Driver Satisfaction are Driving a Major Change in Truck Buying

Writing for AutomotiveWorld.com and Automotive Megatrends Magazine, the global vice president of market research with consulting firm Frost & Sullivan, Sandeep Kar, noted that truck manufacturers are beginning to see those buying their trucks not as customers, but rather as clients. Instead of making their profit solely through sales or leasing, manufacturers are beginning to focus on making money over the useful life of their trucks by providing follow-on services.

“We are now entering a phase in commercial vehicle sales where an OEM’s relationship with its customer does not end when the truck is sold, but in fact begins at that point,” Kar writes. “Thereafter, ‘soft’ technologies, for example advanced electronics and connectivity-enabled technologies, will offer OEMs, suppliers and service providers with monthly or annual revenue streams. This will position OEMs in a new territory, where their value proposition will transform from being product manufacturers and sellers to service providers.” 

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