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Congestion bleeds trucking industry $63.4 billion per annum

by Anna Mischke | May 25, 2017

052517 customerTraffic congestion on U.S. highways is a point of frustration for truck drivers; it’s also a multi-billion dollar problem affecting all aspects of trucking which is getting more attention as losses increase.

$63.4 billion in operating expenses was lost in 2015, a $13.9 billion increase from 2014 according to recently released research by the American Transportation Research Institute (ATRI). Data from the Federal Highway Administration and GPA contributed to the study and ultimately the report. “Cost of Congestion to the Trucking Industry: 2017 Update,” showed more than 996 million hours of delays last year- that is the equivalent of 362,245 drivers not working for an entire year.

An increase in crashes from 2014 to 2015 contributed to the escalation of congestion, including a 3.8 percent increase in police-reported crashes and a 7.2 percent in crash fatalities.  Weather also had a large impact on congestion. 91 percent of the nation’s congestion costs originated from metropolitan areas- Florida accounting for more than $5.3 billion- rural areas were only responsible for $5.8 billion.

“You start to really understand what a drain this is on the trucking industry certainly, but it has consequences for the entire supply chain for the entire U.S. economy,” said Rebecca Brewster, president of ATRI.

The trucking community has loudly voiced its distress and offered solutions including bypasses for truckers to travel around congested areas without off-ramps. After his meeting with the American Trucking Association (ATA), President Trump offered the approach of raising fuel taxes to help pay for infrastructure improvements, telling Bloomberg news in the Oval Office, “it’s something that I would certainly consider.” However, Trump’s press secretary stressed that these comments did not support this strategy; he is bearing in mind options “out of respect” for the trucking industry’s interests. 

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