This year will end strong for the transportation industry, but can truck drivers expect to see the same growth in 2019? First, let’s take a look back. 2018 was booming – the economy is healthy and there are more and more trucks on the road. Most truckers have finally transitioned to the new electronic logging devices. Driver salaries are slowly climbing to where they need to be. Looking ahead, industry experts are predicting a slowdown in the economy for 2019 – not recession-style lows, but not as prosperous as 2018. However, they see truck drivers benefiting from more options for a work-life balance, and a supreme court case could potentially improve their rights when it comes to disagreements with employers. Across the industry, we’ll see more data collection and technology improvements. These advancements will make transportation safer and more efficient for everyone. With that said, let’s delve into the details of trucking trends for 2019.
Top Five Trucking Trends for 2019 That Drivers Should Watch
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AllTruckJobs sat down with several industry experts, from lawyers to VPs. Here’s what they said are the top five trucking trends for 2019!
1. New Prime Inc. Vs. Oliveira supreme court case
The supreme court recently heard a case involving a driver and a trucking company. The original dispute is that driver Dominic Oliveira wasn’t being paid fairly by his company, so he tried to take them to court. However, the company said he wasn’t allowed to take them to court, based on some fine print in his contract. Now, they are debating whether or not this driver even has the right to stick up for himself and sue his employer. The argument made it all the way to the supreme court. The final decision could really impact how much power drivers have moving forward. Although it can be a little confusing, listen below to Oliveira’s attorney, Jennifer Bennett from Public Justice, explain the ins and outs of this court case!
“That’s the thing I think is really important about this case and this kind of case – it allows drivers to band together. I think in general, both in court and we’ve seen… there’s recently been attempts to pass legislation that would be harmful to truck drivers… and truck drivers and others banded together to fight it. I think it shows the importance of the power that drivers have when they band together and how hard some companies are fighting to prevent them from doing that.” – Jennifer Bennet
2. ELDs and data collection
Now that most drivers are using the ELDs, we’ll start to see how the data the devices collect will help the trucking industry. Dean Croke, chief insight officer of FreightWaves, explains how he expects the information from ELDs will help to make the trucking industry more efficient going forward. For example, companies will be able to see which roads make better time, where they’re losing time, and make changes accordingly.
“ELDs, they’re a very rich data source. If you said what was going to be the one big trend next year with ELDs, beyond the need to be compliant with the regulations for the old devices, I think it will be a lot of the people that have these devices will find ways to generate more insight from the data that comes off them. I think that’s going to be the big change next year.” – Dean Croke
3. More developments in autonomous technology
Although Ben Schill, vice president of Paper Transport, Inc. doesn’t expect autonomous trucks driving themselves around in 2019, he does expect to see more movement when it comes to autonomous features in trucks. He thinks the industry will see improvements in autonomous technology, similar to the locomotive industry. This will make both truckers and other drivers on the road safer.
“I truly believe that we’re going to start moving in the direction of other industries, such as you know, the airline industry or the locomotive industry, where there’s more automation around certain aspects that ultimately leads to a safer work environment for our professional drivers and the motoring public.” – Ben Schill
4. Economic forecast
Although the economy was really strong this year, Croke predicts that this trend won’t trickle into 2019. Based on what he’s seeing, he expects a bit of a slowdown in the goods that need to be transported. There are several reasons for this – from fuel prices to tariff increases between the United States and China. Listen below to get his full economic forecast for 2019!
“There’s no question that there are some signs of a global slow down. We’re looking at decreasing oil prices, the container shipping rates all around the world are decreasing, there is geopolitical activity in the middle east that’s pointing towards a slowdown in oil production. So, I just think generally, I don’t know that 2018 will be a year that I would say will continue next year.” – Dean Croke
5. Work-life balance for drivers
The final of the five trucking trends for 2019 is more work-life balance for truckers. This is good news for drivers, especially millennials. Many younger generations want to get into the trucking industry but are intimidated by the long-haul, over-the-road lifestyle. Schill predicts that companies will create more and more home daily jobs to make a healthy work-life balance available to drivers who want it.
“What I believe is probably going to be one of the biggest changes that professional drivers are going to start to see is an accelerated shift toward more frequent home time. Whether it’s home daily or home multiple times a week.” – Ben Schill
PODCAST! Hear from the experts about the trucking trends for 2019
What big changes do you think 2019 will bring to the trucking industry? Share with us in the comments below!