Commercial Driving Trends: A Snapshot
If you read our previous article on trucking statistics and facts for fleet managers, you’ll already have an overview of current fleet driving trends in terms of industry size, revenue figures, and statistics for mileage and accidents, etc.
However, this alone does not help managers identify industry shifts and adapt to overcome them. The main factors that influenced commercial driver trends in 2021 were:
In 2021, the trucking industry supported more than 3.6 million drivers who logged more than 305 billion miles. If not for a nationwide shortage of drivers, these figures would be much higher. As we look to 2022, this is a factor that requires change if supply chains are to operate without further disruption.
“A shortage of drivers means that some truck journeys simply don't happen. This leads to delays in delivery of goods and can even lead to total loss of the cargo - for example with perishable goods.”
William Petty, Deputy Director at the Global Alliance for Trade.
Changing Buyer Behaviors
Reduced access to physical retail shops during the COVID-19 pandemic pushed many shoppers online. E-commerce spending jumped from 15.8% in 2019 to 21.3% in 2020, and 27% in 2021. Not surprisingly, this had a significant impact on fleet driver trends. Retail companies moved fewer goods from one place to another, meaning fewer trucking contracts.
Logistics and Pricing
The freight industry continued to boom in 2021. According to Statista, imports from Asia to the US increased by around 40%. Yet, freight and fuel rates also increased dramatically. This presented problems for trucking companies - both in sourcing an adequate driver base to fulfill contracts and preparing their customers for price increases.
4 Commercial Driving Trends for 2022
The industry is still traversing an era of uncertainty and change, and there’s no definitive way of knowing what may lie around the corner. That said, these are the factors we think could influence trucking company and commercial driver trends in 2022.
1. Tackling the Driver Shortage
It’s impossible to discuss fleet driving trends for 2022 without mentioning the continued commercial driver shortage. Attracting and retaining drivers is still a top priority among fleets nationwide. One of the best ways to ensure driver retention is to foster an environment where drivers feel empowered and rewarded for their performance.
A fleet safety solution utilizing fleet dash cams can provide tools for drivers to self-correct poor driving habits while also engaging with management through streamlined coaching workflows. Improved performance can be rewarded, benefiting both enterprise and drivers alike.
2. Company Relocation
In line with industry-wide transportation and freight industry trends, many trucking companies may look to set up in alternative locations where they can service their existing contracts and tap into new markets at a lower cost by reducing mileage.
Over the past few years, wide-scale urbanization has led to significant infrastructure development, making many areas much easier to traverse by truck than before, thus providing new opportunities for trucking companies to centralize their operations.
3. Fuel Management
Fuel costs are one of the biggest expenses for any trucking company. While the US Energy Information Administration expects fuel prices to fall in 2022, many businesses have already begun looking into alternative fuel and electric trucks. Many fleet managers have turned to fuel management systems to lower fuel costs substantially and ensure fuel efficiency.
As the shortage of drivers is predicted to continue, the future of trucking may also include using more tools to maximize efficiency.
4. A Focus on Data
Adopting the best software can significantly reduce the bottom line for trucking businesses. Fleet management tools have been at the forefront of commercial driving trends for many years, and this is unlikely to change. The best solutions combine fleet tracking with onboard dash cams to provide real-time fleet utilization metrics that help with:
- Customer service
- Collision prevention and management
Whatever lies in the future, one thing is for certain: the trucking and commercial driving industry will continue to be increasingly data driven. Those that adopt smart connected solutions for fleet management will gain significant competitive advantages.
Our fleet management software helps you manage fuel consumption, servicing, and scheduled maintenance. GPS fleet tracking can help optimize routing, and our driver-centric fleet safety tools help to improve road safety.