2024 is on the horizon, so let's highlight some trends and changes to keep an eye on in the coming year. Today, we’ll cover infrastructure and environmental updates, as well as industry projections and more.
In recent years, the parking problem has only gotten worse for truck drivers. Today, there is only 1 parking space for every 11 trucks on the road. When truckers can’t find parking spaces they are forced to park on either the side of the road or in unsafe spaces like abandoned gas stations. Not only is this unsafe, but it has financial ramifications as well. The American Transportation Research Institute conducted a study that found that truckers sacrifice an average of 56 minutes a day to find parking. Not only is this non-billable time for truckers, but it also introduces inefficiencies into a system that is the backbone of America’s economy.
The good news is that there is federal funding available for parking infrastructure. The American Trucking Association Federation has partnered with Secretary Pete Buttigieg to remind the governors of all 50 states that there is funding available for states that need and apply for it. It’s also possible that there’s more on the way. If approved, the Truck Parking Safety Improvement Act would authorize another $755 million in grant funding for truck parking.
There’s been a general trend towards stricter emissions requirements, but California has taken it one step further. Beginning January 1, 2024, all drayage trucks that operate in California will be required to be registered with the California Air Resources Board, and starting on the first, only zero-emissions trucks will be allowed to register. This means for trucks with non-zero emissions to be “legacied in” they must be registered before the new year.
It will be telling if other states follow California’s lead on their stricter emissions standards in the upcoming year
Legislation in California has changed how fleets must manage their relationships with owner-operators. Fleets must now treat owner-operators as employees rather than independent contractors. To avoid paying benefits and overtime, some fleets have stopped working with owner-operators. This has forced owner-operators to face the decision of whether to avoid California or restructure how they operate their business, something that can be costly.
The federal government has played around with the idea of labor reforms that mirror California’s, but because of the potential for far-reaching implications, it will be some time before we hear about any decisions.
Retention has historically been an issue in the trucking industry. To combat that, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration is conducting surveys to gather insight into how different compensation factors affect retention. The hope is that with the information gathered from these surveys, the government will be able to develop driver compensation reform and increase retention.
2024 Overall Outlook
Several metrics, including spot rates and ACT’s volume index, seem to indicate that the industry has “bottomed out,” and will be rebounding in early-to-mid 2024. With that in mind, now might be a good time to work on your business! Be sure you’re prepared for a new season of growth with the proper insurance policies. Click the image below to download our Transportation Insurance Checklist and evaluate your current policies for free!