Freight News Friday: Brake Safety Week, Fuel Efficiency, & More

Did You Know?

There are 3.5 million truckers in the U.S. and 2.2 million people that work with truckers to get goods transported. That’s a total of 7.7 million jobs! That means 5% of the workforce handles 70% of transported consumer goods in the U.S.

Trucking Tip of the Week

The Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance is conducting Brake Safety Week Sept. 16-22. Don’t forget to tune your brakes!

Technology in Trucking

Studies regarding the potential loss of jobs brought about by autonomous trucking will continue until the trucks are on the road. With each new study, the timeline seems to lengthen while the number of job losses shrinks. The latest indicates certain transportation sectors could actually grow the need for jobs, while also demonstrating that long-haul truckers will be the most impacted. One fact remains, autonomous trucking will create job loss. The Wall Street Journal quoted a research piece stating as many as 300,000 jobs could be lost, but the amount of time it will take to lose those jobs has changed. Early studies reported as little as five years, and rarely more than 15 years, to lose those jobs. That number is now pushed out 25 to 30 years.

Fuel Efficiency

In July, we raised the likelihood that fuel prices will go up. While troubling, we’re also seeing an increase in big rig fuel efficiency. The increased use of trailer skirts and winglets is helping. In 2017, we witnessed an increase in fuel efficiency by as much as 2% in the carriers that were studied. As fuel prices go up, it’s important that drivers do what they can to increase their fuel efficiency. Driving technique is a big contributor, so more and more companies are rewarding drivers who are champions of fuel efficiency.

General News

Due to a rebound in the economy and an increase in U.S.-based manufacturing, the ATA forecasts the transportation industry will grow by 4.2% by year’s end. But the rise in prices for drivers due to increased loads and the ongoing capacity crunch is hurting other industries like farmers and food processing groups. Combined, these two things could lead to higher prices at the grocery store by the end of the year, if not sooner.

Regulatory Affairs Analyst Jeremy Feucht follows the latest political and legislative processes along with their potential effects on the trucking industry. He has worked in the U.S. Senate and has served as a member of Planning and Zoning, City Council, and Urban Renewal boards.