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Road Conditions Are Getting Worse Says Truck Driver Survey

Americans across the country are all bemoaning poor road conditions as well as the lack of funds to undertake much-needed repairs. Who best to accurately assess the state of US road conditions but truck drivers, who can see the disrepair and hazardous surroundings on a day-to-day basis?

Road Conditions Are Getting Worse Says Truck Driver Survey60% of truck driver respondents indicated that road conditions have gotten worse since they began driving.

Road Conditions Are Getting Worse Says 60% of Truck Drivers

“The condition of U.S. roads comes up frequently in conversation, particulalrly in the Spring when road conditions are at their worse. Who better than truck drivers to accurately assess the condition of our road network?,” says Chris Saville, Marketing Director of 3PL National Retail Systems, Inc.

In a July 2014 report titled “An Economic Analysis of Transportation Infrastructure Investment” from The Council of Economic Advisers, it was noted that: “The costs of inadequate infrastructure investment are exhibited all around us. American businesses pay $27 billion a year in extra freight transportation costs, increasing shipping delays and raising prices on everyday products.”

An Economic Analysis of Transportation Infrastructure Investment – The Council of Economic Advisers

  • Today there are more than 4 million miles of road, 600,000 bridges, and 3,000 transit providers in the U.S. And yet, over the past 20 years, total federal, state, and local investment in transportation has fallen as a share of GDP – while population, congestion, and maintenance backlogs have increased.
  • The U.S. lags behind many of its overseas competitors in transportation infrastructure investment. In the most recent World Economic Forum rankings, the U.S. had in less than a decade fallen from 7th to 18th overall in the quality of our roads.
  • 65 percent of America’s major roads are rated in less than good condition, one in four bridges require significant repair or cannot handle today’s traffic, and forty five percent of Americans lack access to transit.

Poor road conditions are another reason that the country is suffering through a truck driver shortage that’s likely to worsen in the coming years. The American Trucking Associations (ATA) estimates the U.S. is short 30,000 truck drivers — a number expected to surge to 239,000 by 2022.

With road conditions affecting major transportation companies in costly repairs it is not shocking to see the steady decline in owner operator drivers. Since owner operators are individuals who own and operate their own vehicle their profit margins are starting to diminish because maintenance is becoming too expensive to stay in business.

In a recent survey about the nation’s road conditions, National Retail Systems, Inc. (NRS) polled truck drivers nationwide in an effort to assess that condition of roads in the USA. Nearly half of the truck drivers that responded have been on the road more than 10 years.

Poor road conditions, say truck drivers, cost them money in time and related truck repairs to their vehicles. Of those polled, the majority said that they get held up by poor road conditions every day or a few times a week; only 1% of those who responded said that they never get held up. Sixty percent of those surveyed said that roads are in worse condition than ever before.

Local and city roads are in desperate need of pothole repair, resurfacing, leveling, and rutting and cracking repairs to ensure safe, reliable mobility. These roads are said to be costing truckers a lot of extra money in additional vehicle operating costs such as fuel consumption, tire wear, and deterioration.

When asked to rate the condition of local and city roads (with 1 equaling poor and 5 equaling excellent), 93% of respondents gave a rating of poor, unsatisfactory, or ok, with only 7% of truck drivers describing road conditions as good or excellent.

Bridges and tunnels are in need of restoration as well. In a 60 Minutes report last fall, it was noted that nearly 70,000 bridges in America — one out of every nine — is now considered to be structurally deficient with crumbling concrete and corroded steel.

The truck driver respondents did not see it exactly the same way. The condition of bridges and tunnels was not rated as poorly as the roads and highway system, according to the NRS road conditions survey. Using 1 as the worst and five as the best, more than half of the truck drivers gave a majority vote to a three and four with only 35% of drivers rating bridges and tunnels with a poor to unsatisfactory vote.

Truck Driver Road ConditionsTruck drivers own the day-to-day pulse of the nation’s highways. Perhaps they can give the best and most accurate reports on road conditions?

Highway conditions are deteriorating significantly causing an increasing number of bridges to close to heavy trucks, forcing lengthy detours that cost businesses time and money. Poor pavement quality is slowing traffic and leading to greater wear and tear on trucks.

When asked to rate the condition of highways, the majority said roads are just “ok” or “neutral” with the rest providing a rating of unsatisfactory to poor. These worsening conditions are increasing transportation user costs and ultimately hurt the nation’s economy.

A solid transportation system is needed to move goods efficiently to support the nation’s economic vitality and growth. Deteriorating roads and bridges cause major road blocks for truck drivers which ultimately affects the consumers.

While states and local governments send out patrols to periodically check its roadways, and television stations ask reporters to drive their streets to look for dilapidated roads, truck drivers own the day-to-day pulse of the nation’s highways. Perhaps they can give the best and most accurate reports on road conditions.

Road Conditions Survey Results

Are roads generally in better or worse condition than when you started driving?
Worse – 60%
The Same – 26%
Better – 14%

How often do you get held up by road repairs?
Every Day – 31%
Few Times a Week – 23%
Every Week – 15%
Few Times a Month – 14%
Hardly Ever – 16%
Never – 1%

How do you rate the condition of local and city roads?
Poor – 31%
Unsatisfactory – 28%
Ok – 34%
Good – 5%
Excellent – 2%

How do you rate the condition of bridges and tunnels?
Poor – 18%
Unsatisfactory – 17%
Ok – 32%
Good – 31%
Excellent – 2%

How do you rate the condition of highways?
Poor – 23%
Unsatisfactory – 27%
Ok – 28%
Good – 20%
Excellent – 2%

The Ultimate 3PL

National Retail Systems, Inc. (NRS) includes Keystone Freight Corp. & National Retail Transportation, Inc. (NRT). NRS is an asset based 3PL that has been providing logistics services for the World’s leading retail companies for 60+ years. Our hub locations include: New York & New Jersey; Los Angeles, CA; Inland Empire, CA; Savannah, GA; Columbus, OH; Greensboro, NC; and Baltimore, MD.