President Biden offered new details on his Trucking Action Plan on Monday, April 4, and a new report was posted on the White House’s website detailing the administration’s accomplishments for trucking and their goals for the future.
Overall, the report acknowledged many issues that harm drivers and hurt the trucking industry in general, but recognition and government studies don’t solve material issues. Federal dollars do.
How much actual funding will be allocated to trucking remains to be seen. Let’s dive in further to the report and what was promised.
The Acknowledgments of Trucking Issues
The good news is that the White House did acknowledge many issues raised by truck drivers. The White House mentioned unpaid detention time, poor working conditions, lack of parking, and other issues that harm many drivers.
This section from the report shows that at least some people in government understand the critical role that trucking plays in our economy:
“Trucking moves 72 percent of goods in America and is a lynchpin in our goods movement supply chain. Trucking costs grew more than 20 percent last year as a surge in demand for goods caused by the pandemic confronted a decline in trucking employment that preceded the pandemic. The low supply of drivers is driven by high turnover and low job quality. Turnover in trucking routinely averages 90 percent for some carriers and drivers spend about 40 percent of their workday waiting to load and unload goods – hours that are typically unpaid.“
The Future for Trucking Issues
The White House touted its Driving Good Jobs plan, which will be implemented by both the Department of Labor (DOL) and Department of Transportation (DOT). Through this plan, the Biden Administration said it has held listening sessions and spoken with drivers, unions, and other industry leaders and advocates
Through this plan, the Administration has pledged to help improve the industry in the following areas:
Increase Truck Parking – The recent Bipartisan Infrastructure Law has several programs which can provide funding for state and local jurisdictions to increase the amount of safe parking for truck drivers. The Administration also promises to further study this issue and see where states need assistance most for parking.
Help End Predatory Lease Deals – The prospect of owning your own truck is attractive, and unfortunately many truck drivers get trapped in predatory lease agreements. This can result in drivers getting inundated with debt. The DOL, DOT, and Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) have set up a new Task Force to explore ways to make these deals more fair and transparent for drivers.
Detention Time and Compensation Studies – The DOT has announced a new set of studies on the effect of unpaid loading and unloading time on drivers’ safety and compensation. No specifics on how this will be corrected, however.
Worker Rights – The Administration has pledge to improve whistleblower protections and protections against coercion, to increase education about labor rights and worker safety issues, and address other challenges such as worker misclassification.
Increase Women in Trucking – The Driving Good Jobs plan has established a new Women of Trucking Advisory Board which will report on specific issues that women drivers must deal with. The board pledges to increase mentorship and training opportunities while improving on-the-job safety. The Administration further announced a Day of Action which will call attention to preventing sexual assault and harassment in the trucking industry.
The Accomplishments for Trucking Issues
The White House also claimed the following accomplishments for the trucking industry.
- 2021 saw the most employment growth for trucking since 1994.
- 2021 saw frontline truckers’ real wages grow this year despite elevated inflation. No numbers were provided for this, though.
- The DOT provided states with new tools to process CDL license, and states issues more than 876,000 new CDLs since January 2021.
- The Administration worked with Veterans Service Organizations to help veterans get work in trucking.