Official results: how COVID-19 has impacted the trucking industry

Official results: how COVID-19 has impacted the trucking industry
May 5, 2020


The American Transportation Research Institute (ATRI) and the Owner-Operator Independent Driver Association Foundation (OOIDA) have completed research, and released a full report on, the impacts that COVID-19 has had on the trucking industry.

Key findings

  • Nearly 80% of owner-operators and small fleets have no plan for managing operations during natural disasters—but 70% of large fleets do.
  • Nearly 70% of specialized and tank truck operations have been negatively impacted, with smaller fleets being more effected than larger fleets.
  • Truck traffic to transport essential goods such as medical devices, perishable food and paper products rose.
  • Outside of transporting essential goods, nearly 50% of respondents saw decreased truck traffic.
  • Local trips under 100 miles have increased by more than 100%.
  • Long-hauls trips are significantly down due to port closures.
  • More than 40% of respondents stated that truck parking hasn’t worsened, but that closed rest areas were a difficulty.
  • Those with larger fleets indicated that trucking parking has been more difficult to find.
  • Driver detention hasn’t changed, but owner-operators and small fleets experienced worse detention delays that larger fleets.

In general, the trucking industry views the federal response to the pandemic more favorably that states’, but the attitude toward both remains favorable. However, the industry’s perception about the economy over the next several months seems slightly pessimistic. The general feeling is that “freight levels will decline or stay the same” but the report also states that “the large majority of the pessimistic respondents indicate that it will only get ‘somewhat worse’ (vs ‘much worse’).”

Addressing a lack of preparedness

Given the percentage of small fleets and owner-operators who lack any preparedness plan, stepping up to help them prepare is going to be key moving forward. According to the report, “One important role for both government and industry associations is to improve industry preparedness for owner-operators and small to medium fleets.”

Access the full report for:

  • additional findings
  • actions taken at the state and federal levels
  • the survey used to gather the data
  • open-ended responses to specific questions
  • official press release

Most importantly, see recommendations and guidance to be ready for another disaster. Download the full report.

About Zonar

Founded in 2001, Zonar has pioneered smart fleet management solutions throughout trucking and vocational industries. Zonar helps fleets of all sizes maximize the use of their assets with technology solutions dedicated to improving compliance, efficiency, maintenance, safety, and tracking. Cloud-based services with open APIs drive Zonar’s smart fleet solutions by making it easy for fleet owners and managers to stay connected to their fleets and operators to dispatch. Headquartered in Seattle and part of the Continental AG family—a global leader in automotive technology—Zonar also has a Technology Development Center in downtown Seattle, a regional office in Cincinnati and a distribution center outside of Atlanta.

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