If you come to think about it, one of the most important things for the survival of Americans today is the truck. Trucks are the main reason for our comfort when it comes to food, clothes, furniture, and pretty much everything else around us. The truth is that every single thing around you has probably seen the inside of a truck either as a final product or as raw material. And it if hadn’t, you wouldn’t be where you are today. God bless the truck.
The Trucking Industry in the US
The U.S. economy depends on trucks to deliver ten billion tons of virtually every commodity consumed—over 80 percent of all freight transported annually in the U.S. In the U.S. alone. According to the American Trucking Association, this accounts for $700.4 billion worth of goods moved by truck. This is more cargo than the amounts trains, ships or planes handle.
Trucks are essential for the first stages of the supply chains in many industries. They transport raw materials from local suppliers, such as mines, quarries, farms, and loggers, to factories that need materials to turn them into products. Finished goods then travel on trucks to wholesalers and retailers. No other type of transportation can deliver such a large variety and quantity of goods in such short times.
Recent trends in strategic management in logistics make trucks the most significant actor for the flawless process chain. If an accident occurs while the truck is on the way to the logistics center, it not only gets delayed with the delivery, but it also slows down the whole production process. Sometimes such delays are so bad that entire factories have to shut down. Such was the case with quite a few manufacturing plants when the 9/11 attack took place. The delays on the roads caused plants to go out of business because they couldn’t deliver the just-in-time parts.
This is why safety on the roads is of highest importance for truckers and the whole performance of the trucking industry. Yet, safety on the road is not a factor truckers can affect solely. It depends on all drivers and their consciousness, on federal regulations and road conditions, on the training of the truck driver and the working conditions he has to endure.
The Job of a Truck Driver
While some people dream of becoming singers and actors when they grow up, others wish to be truckers. Sometimes even from early ages, you would see how a kid constantly plays with his favorite toy truck, and you would know that he will one day be the ruler of a big rig.
Becoming a truck driver might seem like an easy task at first. And quite exciting indeed:
- Getting to work without supervision;
- Spending your time driving long distances, getting to know people.
- Enjoying your own company for long stretches of time.
Pretty much heaven for those who don’t like the office atmosphere. But once you gather some information, you will see that job comes with quite a list of responsibilities.
Putting One’s Own Safety at Risk
When you imagine a trucker, you probably see someone calmly sitting behind the wheel of a big hauler. Not thinking of anything. Peacefully enjoying the ride. Yes, probably. But what you don’t see is the high risk truckers are facing every day. Especially when it comes to safety. Although the number of large trucks and buses involved in fatal cases has declined in recent years, the injury crashes continue to increase. Every year about 5,000 people are killed in accidents involving semis. In 2014, the injury accidents had increased by 21 percent from the previous year. In 2015, it increased with additional 8 percent from the year before.
The recent trend of hiring younger and less experienced drivers is not contributing positively to these numbers either. More and more people enter the industry without having proper training. In addition to that, other drivers on the roads become more distracted, too. With the new technologies that vehicles have in their high-performance systems, drivers think less and less when they are on the road. This puts all people on the road in danger and truckers, in their big heavy rigs, are no more protected than others.
Dealing with Infrastructure Problems
Infrastructure is such a big problem in the U.S. that it is even surprising how we haven’t mentioned it earlier. The trucking industry is suffering more than probably any other economic sector in the country. Two major problems affect truckers and the transportation of goods and services.
The lack of safety on the roads is only one of the problems drivers have to deal with. Parking shortage, for example, has been ranked as the third top important issue in the industry in 2016. The available legal spots for truck parking are simply not enough. This causes truckers to look for alternative places to park and rest. And usually, such places are not designed or accommodated for truckers to take a break. Today in more than half of the states in the country, truckers have no other choice but to park on ramps and shoulders.
With forecasts on the expansion of freight transportation in the years to come, parking becomes a real nightmare. The lack of parking causes truckers to continue driving when they are supposed to be resting. This builds up the fatigue and body tiredness, which eventually leads to permanent exhaustion and increases chances for accidents.
Yes, traffic jams do not skip anyone, even the big rigs. It’s even a little ironic how something as big as an 18-wheeler can be subject to the same problem as a tiny VW Beetle, for example. But what can you do, really?
Recent solutions to traffic congestion suggest the reinvention of toll lanes. Maybe there could be one just for trucks of all sizes, similar to the bus lanes in the big cities. Or maybe we could dedicate the first of Elon Musk’s boring tunnels to trucks? Whatever the approach, there must be a solution soon, as millions of goods and raw materials get spoiled while stuck in traffic.
To put it in numbers, traffic congestion costs the trucking industry nearly $50 billion. A study conducted by the American Transportation Research Institute found that traffic congestion took 728 million hours in delivery time from truckers in 2014. Infrastructure problems are at the heart of this loss of revenue and time.
Enduring Tough Working Conditions
Working conditions of long-haul truck drivers have worsened in the past years. The reasons for this are directly linked to the previously mentioned hardships of the profession. Yet, mistreatment from management is another factor that only adds up to the problems. It is already causing many drivers to leave the industry. What is it that we are doing wrong?
To be honest, the main problem is hidden in the essence of the job itself. Traveling as a job can become quite hard for drivers. In the end, waiting becomes their most practiced activity. Sitting motionless behind the wheel. This affects not only truck operators’ safety but also their mental and emotional health. Long-haul truckers have higher rates of obesity, diabetes, anxiety, depression, cardiovascular disease, divorce, and drug abuse than the average Americans… But this comes with the choice truckers make when they enter the industry.
From then on, it is management’s duty to try to decrease these effects as much as possible. Fatigue should be taken care of by providing enough breaks without compromising on the driver’s compensation. Safety should be a priority not only on the road but also during breaks. Enough time should be given to drivers to go home and see their families.
Despite the unfair conditions and the hardships of the job, however, the demand for job positions has significantly increased in the past years. Today, about 9 million people work in the trucking industry.
The Truck – Advanced or Vulnerable?
There are many improvements that authorities and trucking companies are striving to make regarding the problems truckers face. Some of them are related directly to the truck itself. Technological companies keep coming up with software and hardware innovations that offer solutions to these problems. And we see how the trucking industry enters the era of connectivity.
- One of the most debated topics in the industry recently has been the ELD mandate – electronic logging devices that will keep track of drivers’ activities and their hours of service. This will help truckers but could be an issue for fleet owners. They will need to plan in advance how to get certified ELDs in time without disturbing their operations processes.
- Intelligent transportation systems (ITS) will eliminate many issues on the roads. They will connect traffic cameras with GPS systems in the trucks to control and advise on traffic flow.
- New speed limiters will be installed inside trucks to set a maximum speed rate. To some, this might be a problem, but others see it as a way of slowing down the big rigs and protecting both the truck, its tires and the drivers themselves.
- Self-driving cars are already a fact, but we are yet to see trucks without drivers, too. This will have a huge effect on the workforce, and the new skills employees would need to have to remain in the industry.
With all new technologies, there comes a new issue – cybersecurity. Systems become much more vulnerable, and it is entirely possible for anyone to find a way to control trucks, public buses or ships from the internet. The good news is that officials are already investing substantial amounts in cyber research and protection.
Shipping a Truck
With the increasing importance of trucks and the higher number of shipping companies, the demand for new or used trucks also increases. And considering the exhaustion of drivers, it sometimes becomes easier to ship a truck from one location to another instead of driving it across the country. You can get quite overwhelmed if you have to ship not one but a whole fleet of trucks. Trucks of different types and sizes, including their trailers. How do you organize such a complicated plan and shipping process?
It is always easier for you to hire an auto transport management company to help you with that. The process can be quite simple if you find the right logistics partner who has both the recommendations and the experience. Corsia Logistics already has done shipments of trucks across the U.S., and we can tell you all about the process and the conditions.
The Shipping Process
It is important to remember that shipping a truck costs more than shipping a car. When it comes to pricing weight and size are key factors determining the cost. There will be a big difference between transporting a small pickup, an F-150 or 350, and let’s say a waste management truck or a cement mixer truck. The major difference in price is due to the different truck’s dimensions and tonnage. Different sizes usually require specialized equipment usually based the size and the type of trailer needed. Some examples of the types of trailers used for truck transportation are flatbeds, hotshots, single or double-drop and step-deck.
You can contact us and request a truck shipping quote online or call (818) 850-5258. Once you schedule your shipment with an agent, you can choose first available pick-up date. Before the date, make sure you have your truck set up and ready for shipping. You have to remove all personal belongings from the vehicle and make sure nothing detachable is hanging from it. You might be tempted to use the space your truck offers to transport goods or personal items you need at the new location, but this is not allowed by the DOT and transportation companies can get fined for letting customers load items inside vehicles that are being transported.
At pick-up, perform vehicle inspection with the car carrier driver. Keep track of the truck’s condition before and after the shipment. In the unlikely event of any type of damage to the truck during transport, it will be your responsibility to provide proof that the truck was not loaded in the same condition. This is important especially when you are shipping a truck that is a company’s asset or someone else possession.
At delivery, inspect the vehicle again, sign the Bill of Lading and pay the remaining balance. The price would usually depend on the type of truck being transported and the distance traveled.
At Corsia Logistics, we are always open about our procedures, policies, and prices. We believe in building long-lasting relationships with our clients and we set your satisfaction with the process as our main priority.