Trucking in 2023 is no bed of roses.
And, drivers are not shy about saying so.
In this installment of our series, What Drivers Want, we take a look at what drivers said about those issues that most bother them about trucking in general.
We asked drivers, “What is your biggest problem as a driver that’s not related to your current employer/leasing fleet?”
To which they replied:
Finding parking 45%
Delays from traffic congestion 32%
Detention time 15%
Slightly more leased owner-operators – 48% – than company drivers – 44% – cited parking as the leading problem they face.
But it was younger drivers (under 34 years old) who most felt parking was the leading problem they faced. Fully 64% ranked it first. That compares to 45% of those 35 to 54 years old and 44% of those drivers over the age of 55.
It was also drivers in the youngest age category – 27% – who felt detention time was the leading problem. Seventeen percent of drivers in the middle age group cited detention time as the biggest issue, while it was cited by just 14% of drivers 55 and older.
Oddly, no driver in the 34 and under contingent thought traffic congestion was an area of concern for them. However, congestion was the biggest problem for the 55 and older group – 34% – and 28% of those in the middle group (35 to 54 years old) chose it as their leading problem.
Truck parking is getting some recognition outside the industry these days. A bill was introduced in the U.S. Senate that would allocate $700 million to build new truck parking, and the issue was the subject of a story on NPR recently.
And, for the first time, parking was the number one issue of concern cited by truckers in the annual survey by the American Transportation Research Institute this year.
Who responded to our survey
A total of 812 drivers responded to our survey; 566 company drivers and 246 leased owner-operators. Most – 53% – are over-the-road long-haul drivers.
These are mostly veteran drivers, part of the mature cadre of truckers many in the industry worry will soon begin entertaining thoughts of retirement. Fully 72% of respondents are 55 years old or older; 27% are between the ages of 35 and 54 while just 2% are 34 and younger.
Respondents are also drivers who have spent much of their lives on the road: 69% said they have driven for 20 years or more; 8% have driven 16 to 20 years; 6% for 11 to 15 years; 8% 6 to 10 years; and 7% for 5 years or less.
They are also serious road warriors with the miles to prove it. Twenty-six percent said they drive between 100,001 and 125,000 miles a year and the same number typically log from 75,001 to 100,000 miles. Another 17% drove between 125,001 and 150,000 miles and 8% logged over 150,00.
And, what did they get for all those miles?
Slightly more than half – 53% – said they earned a net income of over $75,001 in the last year; 31% earned $75,001 and $100,000 and 22% said they earned $100,000 or more.