Professional Driver Agency releases Q1 data on truck driver concerns

The Professional Driver Agency (PDA), Brentwood TN, recently released a report compiled through more than 30,000 phone calls with professional drivers during the first quarter of 2020. The data was compiled during PDA's efforts to help trucking companies curb turnover while providing them accurate and actionable data to help them address driver concerns.

Data shows that the top two most mentioned concerns were equipment issues and compensation issues. Nearly 30% of drivers had problems with equipment, while 28% of drivers talked about compensation.

"Issues with equipment are continuing a trend that we began to see late last year," said Scott Dismuke, PDA director of operations. "Once we dig into the data, we see that the equipment issues break down into two main problems, issues with the tractor and then the condition of the equipment at the time of assignment."

Dismuke noted that the equipment assignment issues are what should be most concerning to trucking companies.

"Breakdowns are part of the industry," he said. "You cannot avoid them. However, the condition of a truck at the time of assignment is something a company can control. When a company assigns a truck to a driver, they need to remember they are assigning an office and home to that driver.

So, the condition of a truck at assignment is one of the most important first impressions they can make on a driver.

"If a truck is dirty, hasn't been detailed, hasn't been properly inspected, and immediately has to go into the shop, then a company is already behind the eight ball with a driver."

While equipment issues were the top issue in quarter one, compensation issues were a very close second.  Data suggests that these two issues could be linked.

"On compensation, the top issue for driver wasn't pay rate; it was inconsistent miles," Dismuke said. "Historically, we have seen that equipment issues almost always have a cascading effect. It usually manifests into a home time problem or a compensation problem. When drivers are stuck in the shop it usually results in either missed/delayed home time or a lack of miles that shows in a future paycheck."

As it relates to ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, PDA began collecting data on COVID-19 in March. Early data suggests that it will be one of the top issues of the 2nd Quarter. In only a few weeks, COVID-19 related concerns went from a non-data point to almost cracking the top 10 issues in PDA's quarter one data breakdown. COVID-19 was already the second biggest concern of drivers in the last four weeks, which included the first two weeks of April.

"Drivers are worried about their health and their family," Dismuke said. "We've talked to drivers who are forgoing home time out of fear of potentially exposing family and neighbors since some drivers have been delivering to COVID-19 hotspots. Other drivers are turning down loads that go into hotspots out of fear of being exposed. Second quarter data on COVID-19 is going to be very telling as we can already see it in the first few weeks of data in April."

Scott Dismuke, PDA director of operationsPDA

Dismuke noted that communication with drivers during this time is key.

"I would tell companies that communicating with drivers right now is extremely important," Dismuke added. "Not just about moving freight, but the drivers need to have an outlet to express their fear and anxiety about the COVID-19 pandemic."

Issues breakdown as follows for the first quarter of 2020:

  • Equipment 29%
  • Compensation 28%
  • Operations 15%
  • Home Time 9%
  • Personal Issues 8%
  • Company Issues 5%
  • Orientation/Training 4%
  • Teaming Problems 2%

FourKites, a real-time supply chain visibility platform, has rolled out a live Network Congestion Map that tracks cross-border freight movements across North America, Mexico, and Europe; port delays for more than 230 ports globally and interstate transit metrics.

As supply chains continue to feel the strain of the COVID-19 outbreak, the free interactive map provides new visibility into delays so companies can act proactively to plan and optimize their supply chain operations. The interactive map, which details average wait times for trucks and ships, can be found at  live.fourkites.com/border-crossing.

"FourKites' Network Congestion Map is a great way to understand current impacts and potential risks for the global supply networks that rely on ocean freight," said Sergiy Yablonskiy, senior product manager for Transportation at Nestle. "We are grateful to FourKites for their responsiveness and for providing this visibility so quickly."

The map--which is being updated continually and will include data covering cities and states throughout the United States, as well as Latin America, in the coming weeks--will help state governments more accurately understand the flow of goods into their region and enable them to reroute supply convoys to address product shortages.

In addition, organizations will be able to use the map to understand when port congestion overseas is clearing, allowing them to more accurately estimate how long supplies will take to reach international shores.

"This is a difficult time for all of us as global citizens," said Vivek Vaid, chief technology officer at FourKites. "FourKites' goal is to deliver insights from our data platform to help everyone who moves goods to do so quickly across borders and through ports.

Armed with this information, companies can keep close tabs on their shipments and make any necessary adjustments to keep goods moving.

Now, more than ever, we all need to stand together and work as a global community."

FourKites will continue to update its map as the impact of COVID-19 on global supply chains continues to unfold in the weeks ahead. 

Visit fourkites.com to learn more.

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