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Poor Roads Aggravating Driver Shortage?

A new survey conducted by third party logistics company National Retail Systems (NRS) indicates that the worsening roadway conditioning may be contributing to the ongoing driver shortage, largely as delays due to road construction and repairs are affecting truck driver earnings.

As reported by Fleet Owner:

“One of the more surprising things we found is that 31% of the drivers we surveyed are held up every day due to road construction,” Chris Saville, NRS’s marketing director, told Fleet Owner. “On top of that, over 50% said they are held up every week due to those [road work] conditions. We were not expecting numbers like that.”

He added that NRS thinks experiencing delays of that magnitude may be aggravating the driver shortage, since delays reduce mileage and lead to higher fuel consumption.

“There’s a lot of frustration resulting from road conditions and not just for company drivers,” Saville said. “It’s particularly felt among owner-operators. That’s why we think it’s another factor fueling the driver shortage.”

Indeed, since owner-operators own and operate their own vehicle, their profit margins are affected by delays and higher fuel expenditures, making it too expensive to stay in business, Saville said.

The survey found that 93% of drivers polled rated local and city roads poor, unsatisfactory, or just OK, with only 7% of truck drivers describing road conditions as good or excellent.

“Local and city roads are in desperate need of pothole repair, resurfacing, leveling, and rutting and cracking repairs to ensure safe, reliable mobility,” NRS noted in its survey. “These roads are said to be costing truckers a lot of extra money in additional vehicle operating costs such as fuel consumption, tire wear, and deterioration.”

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