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Tuesday, May 28 2019
The Many Faces of Truck Driver Shortage

ORLANDO, Fla.—Trucking contributes enormously to our economy. Seventy percent of freight, over 10 billion tons annually, ships via trucks. Our modern economy could not exist without reliable truck transportation; any uncertainty would render just-in-time production impractical.

The truck driver shortage has been reported for years noting trucking companies’ struggles to hire drivers. Many immigrants have taken advantage of these available jobs, and to be honest, we need to thank them for their commitment and for helping our economy to continue to grow. 

Recently, a mechanical engineering student who supported himself by driving a truck faces deportation from Canada to India for working more hours than his study permit allowed.  The driver was pulled over during a routine traffic stop in 2017. The police officer, after reviewing his log book, discovered that he had worked more than 20 hours – above the weekly limit under his permit to study in Canada, and is required to leave by June 15. In light of that, the Ontario Trucking Association has called on Canada to bring in more foreign truckers to address a driver shortage. 

Truckers create tremendous value, but the demands of the job heavily burden people. Long hours and extensive travel constitute a more significant limit. Days on the road make having a life, and particularly a family, difficult. Truckers must be paid extra to accept these undesirable working conditions. Economists expect that prices or salaries will rise to quickly eliminate shortages and fall to eliminate surpluses.

Fast Facts About Truck Driving Careers

  • The trucking industry today employs 7.7 million people, which includes 3.5 million drivers.
  • Currently, it’s estimated that only 200,000 drivers are women, which accounts for only 5.8% of drivers.
  • The number of trucking jobs is expected to grow by 6% by 2026.
  • About 1.7 million truck drivers are heavy and tractor-trailer drivers.
  • Approximately 40.6% of drivers are minorities.
  • As of May 2017, the median pay for heavy and tractor-trailer drivers was $42,480 per year.
  • In 2019, truck driver wages are expected to rise by up to 10%.
  • Truck drivers can work up to 65 hours a week.

Although some economic experts predict that 2019 will see a decrease in general economic growth — and, by extension, a dip in the growth of the trucking industry — the sector still serves as a big source of revenue in the U.S. Furthermore, as e-commerce continues to grow, the demand for trucks continues to rise alongside it, although this will probably prove to be more of a boon to LTL trucking companies than any others.

On the other side, self-driving technology could be a boon to truckers. Experts suggest that the technology will be operational on rural interstates long before for urban driving. If so, trucks could drive autonomously between cities, with truckers driving across urban areas. A trucker driving rigs across Birmingham all day could go home every night. Autonomous trucks may not initially reduce the number of drivers, rather change driving arrangements.

According to a recent report from New York research firm CB Insights, investors have poured $2 billion into trucking tech startups through May 21. Hyeri Kim from CB noted that the $2 billion figure encompassed 27 deals. For all of 2018, investment in the sector reached $3.6 billion. Investment in trucking tech has been so strong that it is poised to begin setting records not by a little, but by a lot. 

According to CB Insights, funding activity for truck tech startups jumped from 34 deals resulting in $114 million in 2014 to 78 deals resulting in $3.6 billion in 2018.

Posted by: AT 08:39 pm   |  Permalink   |  Email
Monday, May 06 2019
Truck Weights in Florida

ORLANDO, Fla. — The Florida Forestry Association is an advocate of federal issues, and after the devastation created by Hurricane Michael, additional resources are needed to recover the Florida Panhandle forests. This vital resource provides healthy watersheds and is critically important in retaining jobs, especially in the hardest hit counties who rely heavily on this industry.

The Association supports legislation to allow trucks operating at the maximum allowable state road truck weight limit to travel at that weight on that state’s portion of the federal interstate highway system.  The bill, known as the Right To Haul Act, would apply only to trucks carrying agricultural commodities, including raw logs.—{The Right to Haul Act of 2014 exempts certain agricultural loads traveling on federal highways from federal vehicle weight limitations. Makes individual state weight limitations for agricultural commodities on state highways applicable to federal highways within the state's borders.} —This is a sensible approach to a problem that confronts loggers and farmers looking to trim delivery times and improve efficiency.

According to the Association, increasing allowable gross vehicle weights on the Federal Interstate Highway system will:

  • Conserve fuel.
  • Reduce total emissions, including carbon.
  • Increase the productivity of forest products transport and wood supply management.
  • Enhance safety and reduce traffic congestion by reducing the volume of trucks now forced to use state roads as primary hauling arteries, due to their exclusion from the interstate system.
  • Reduce congestion and accident-exposure on local roads.
  • Improve the U.S. forest industry’s global competitiveness.

“The current federal vehicle weight limit, according to them, is outdated and out of touch with today’s engineering advancements and consumer needs.”  

The 80,000-pound arbitrary truck weight restriction on Federal Interstate Highways has introduced unnecessary costs and inefficiencies to raw material suppliers and finished product shippers that depend on our roadways every day. In many states, the allowable weight limit for state roads is higher than the limit imposed on federal highways.  As a matter fact, this evident disparity has created a number of unforeseen issues, including forcing loggers to travel longer distances on state roads and through small towns instead of safer, more direct routes on the federal interstate.  

In the forest products sector, moving harvested trees from the forest to facility may comprise 30% of a product’s delivered cost, despite the fact that the entire forest product supply chain has worked tirelessly to wring every cent out of the system through innovation and technology.

With respect to trucks operating on the NHS in Florida, several provisions in State law allow trucks to exceed some elements of Federal limits:

State law allows up to 40,000 lbs on a tandem axle.

State law includes a 10 percent weight allowance for axle weight limits.

Summary of Florida Truck Weight Limits for Vehicles in Regular Operations

Single Axle

20,000 lbs. (22,000 lbs. with 10 percent tolerance)

Tandem Axle

40,000 lbs. (44,000 lbs. with 10 percent tolerance)

Tridem Axle


Gross Weight

80,000 lbs.


10 percent scale tolerance*

Regarding perishable food crops: The Governor may declare an emergency when there is a breakdown in the normal public transportation facilities necessary in moving perishable food crops grown in Florida. 

During such emergency, the Department of Transportation is authorized to set new weight limits and designate routes, excluding Interstate highways, to facilitate the transportation of perishable food crops (Fla. Stat. Ann. §316.565).

Posted by: AT 12:31 pm   |  Permalink   |  Email
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