The American domestic freight market has seen significant expansion over the past 18 months. As a result, Bloomberg notes that the country has been sourcing truck drivers from around the world, and there are more vehicles on the road than ever before. With this change has come a lot of pressure for the wider traffic ecosystem, from the rate of injuries being seen on the road through to the impact on the vehicles sales and the manufacturing industry. Big change is afoot, and the roads will have a different look for it.
Fewer miles, higher rates
Despite fewer miles being driven overall – the share of road usage is increasing significantly for commercial drivers, but not necessarily everyone else – there has been a surge in road fatalities. Reuters report that road deaths have now risen to a high not seen since 2007, and this is at least partly related to the need for more prompt overnight deliveries. It’s important that drivers retain the use of a commercial vehicle lawyer to help ensure that they are employed in a legal and safe manner and that their driving patterns and habits are both lawful and safe. This level of legal assurance will help the new fleet of drivers on American roads to stay safe and keep within legally accepted bounds.
The electric change
Innovation is meeting the demand of commercial drivers. CNBC reports that GMs electric truck will soon be on the roads, and efforts by Tesla to meet similar demands are also experiencing a high rate of interest from the commercial driver market. This will again change the demands placed on drivers and change the wider feel of the professional driving profession. This is good news for consumers, but perhaps an interesting time for road users. The way that driving is undertaken, the inherent risks of driving, and how vehicles are even maintained is going to significantly change.
All of this is feeding into a huge surge in production. Manufacturing analysts McKinsey have found a huge surge in manufacturing levels throughout the industry, with investment to match – $300 billion has been spent in autonomous, connectivity, electrification, and smart, shared-mobility (ACES) research fields alone. With more vehicles rolling off the production line, that’s leading to more sales across the country. Furthermore, as more drivers start to see the benefits of working in the convenience-led economy, where anyone with a suitable vehicle can start to pick up parcels and get them distributed for a bit of extra cash, vehicles and new sales will increase to help meet the demand of an ever-more-hungry consumer market.
This is going to create some busy roads. In the immediate future, drivers and businesses must look for ways to improve safety across the board and ensure that they are sticking to the rules. Long-term, with automation and smart vehicles on the horizon, this need will hopefully be reduced.