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Change is one of the most constant things to beware of when planning for your business, career, or future investments. It’s already clear that 2017 is in no way an exception to this rule. With 3.5 million truckers on the road as we speak, the changes this industry is seeing has a significant effect on nearly every aspect of the American economy and way of life. Not surprisingly, some of the trucking trends that move drivers forward will also be those that present new challenges and opportunities for such a vital industry as commercial driving.

2017 Trucking Trends

More Industry Interdependence

Many people are struggling with challenges posed by the current driver shortage, something that increases the costs of operation each year. With all the hard work you put in and the time it takes to partner with the best vendors for your business, it’s possible there are some extra benefits to be had with these industry relationships. Many industry professionals will have valuable industry experience that you could tap into for advice. This can lend itself to gaining insight that you may not have come to on your own.

Additionally, talking with vendors as a trucking company is a great way that you can stay up-to-date on the latest regarding compliance. It’s much more likely that you’ll lose more money if you’re caught out of compliance with DOT and other safety regulations, so it’s best to be up-to-date and safe before the fact.

Finding Ways to Increase Efficiencies

Although many aspects do continually change in the trucking industry, there are still age-old trends that remain relevant and present consistent challenges to trucking companies. One such trend is the need to be as compact as possible with shipments, combine these shipments where possible, and find cost-effective technology to increase your efficiencies. Obvious solutions are to make use of GPS and other smart technology to help organize your fleets and to learn where your vehicles are at any given moment. Considering that the development of new technologies won’t be slowing anytime soon, it’s better to be up-to-date on what the next most significant tool will be for trucking companies and their related industries.

Meeting Government Regulations and Laws

If nothing else, you can be sure that your company will continually be required to stay up-to-date on the most recent laws and regulations being introduced, changed, or done away with by any combination of local, state, or federal governing bodies. Whether it’s regulations on sleep apnea, the use of electronic logbooks, overtime laws, or just simply the methods of tracking business and safety regulations, these trucking trends are constant and ever-important. Actively checking in with websites like the FMCSA will be sure to provide whatever official news you’ll need beyond hearing about things from friends, colleagues, or clients.

Self-Driving Vehicles and Automation

It’s something we may have laughed at ten years ago, but now the ever-encroaching reality of introducing self-driving, automated vehicles to public roadways is closer than ever. With companies like Nikola and Tesla, as well as Google, Uber, and even Amazon experimenting with the prospect of robotic deliveries, it’s clear that there is money behind this big dream (or nightmare). While these vehicles have the potential to make things considerably safer for current drivers and pedestrians, the downside is likely to be a loss of trucking jobs. Sure they may not take over the industry entirely, but the introduction of automated vehicles is undoubtedly going to shake things up a bit in the world of public transportation. Not to mention the drones ready to deliver packages directly to your doorstep! Whether you’re shipping freight or consumer packages, the automated future is dawning now!

Serving Drivers Young and Old

Finally, a trend that just won’t seem to go away is the current driver shortage. From now until 2020, the trucking industry will be hard pressed to find quality candidates to fill current positions and future recruits to take the place of drivers who’ll be retiring. That said, part of hiring new drivers is going to be about attracting new drivers, all while retaining those who may be considering leaving the industry. This can be a tricky balancing act considering you’re trying to serve two very different groups of people, and yet it can come down to some fundamental factors. People want to get the pay they deserve, balance their work and their personal lives, and know that a company is looking out for their best interests. Still, part of the difficulty in maintaining a strong workforce in the transportation industry is overcoming the fact that many candidates are unqualified and there’s a dire need for quality trucking leads on a daily basis.

However you plan to overcome these challenges, it’s important to stay up-to-date on the latest trucking trends and conversations throughout the industry. Better to be early than late to the game, even if that means you’re waiting around for the race to the next big thing has yet to begin!