Most Americans see big rigs driving down major highways. But, not all Americans understand the behind-the-scenes of the trucking industry. And now, especially, the trucking industry is evolving and changing. As technology moves forward and the industry recovers from the recent recession… there are new things on the horizon.
So, what will the trucking industry look like in the new year? Here is a quick look at some of the big changes for the big rigs… and some things that are still the same.
For one, despite the recession, the trucking industry is growing. As the economy grows, the industry grows with it. But… large trucks reportedly traveled less mile-wise in the last couple of years than they did over 10 years ago. 2007 was just before the US fell into the Great Recession.
That year, big rigs traveled over 300 million miles. In 2016, they traveled just under 290 million miles. What does this say for 2019? Will the numbers crawl back up again? Maybe not, if drivers are still in demand. Trucking companies are struggling to find qualified drivers. Over the next ten years, the industry estimates that it will need almost 900,000 new drivers.
But, perhaps new drivers will be enticed by the way technology has changed the trucking industry. While some changes can be frustrating, technology is making trucks a bit safer. Driver assist technology made a big difference over the last few years. Data shows a decline in fatal crashes involving big rig trucks. Apparently, from 2007 to 2016, there has been a 2.7 percent decline.
In addition to driver safety, the technology helps with tracking hours. Now, Electronic Logging Devices keep track of the number of hours on the road. This helps ensure that federal regulations are met, and that drivers are getting the proper rest they need.
Finally… despite issues with parking problems in big rigs, technology is helping with that too. Now, electronic signs along roadways let drivers know how many spots are available at upcoming rest areas. This makes it a bit easier – and safer – to know when it is safe to go off the road.
So, while the recession impacts are still felt in the industry and drivers are in demand, some of the changes seem positive for the trucking industry. Will we see more changes for the better in 2019?