Introducing DriverReach Chats | Featuring Rebecca Brewster, ATRI

If the past few years have signaled a new era of CDL driver recruiting, the first few months of 2020 have proved that the only thing constant is change.

As the trucking industry has shifted to adopt new technologies to manage more of the recruiting process, along with navigating the rigorous guidelines for the health and safety of drivers, changes are coming fast and frequent for recruiters.

During this time of rapid change and uncertainty, DriverReach is excited to launch our DriverReach Chats series to help provide some context and insight on some of the industry’s biggest topics. 

DriverReach Founder and CEO Jeremy Reymer will sit down with thought leaders from throughout the industry to have short, candid chats about the current issues facing CDL drivers, recruiters, and carriers. 

The best part? All of the DriverReach Chats will be easily accessible on our YouTube page (click here to subscribe so you’re notified every time we post a new Chat!).

In the first installment of DriverReach Chats, Jeremy spoke virtually with Rebecca Brewster, President and COO of ATRI. ATRI is the trucking industry’s not for profit research organization that strives to improve the trucking industry’s safety and productivity through research. 

The organization is made up of a diversified group of trucking industry stakeholders (motor carriers, suppliers, driver groups, law enforcement, academia, training, etc.) that review different research proposals to decide which topics would be most beneficial to the industry. In addition to these selected projects, ATRI produces several annual reports, including the Top Trucking Industry Issues report and the Truck GPS Data Survey.

Watch the Chat Now

Rebecca shared many insights from ATRI’s research related to COVID-19, the top industry concerns of 2020, and the evolution of the trucking industry. Some highlights from their conversation include:

  • The driver shortage has been the number one issue for the last three years, but that doesn’t seem likely for this year. With the onset of COVID-19, there has been an incredible impact on the trucking industry and the concerns and changes it presents. With more people staying home under quarantine orders, the top four geographical bottlenecks saw significant higher truck speeds in the months of March and April. This meant that drivers could get where they needed to much faster.
  • There was an immediate spike in the demand for freight, but not all freight is created equal. ATRI was able to create a Truck Activity Index that started on Feb. 29, 2020 to measure statewide highway activity, and the team saw a consistent ramp-up in truck activity driven by increased demand in consumer goods. After a few weeks, however, there was a decline in this demand in states that have a large manufacturing footprint. This study really illustrates how truck activity is so dependent on both the demand for goods and the ability for consumers to actually purchase these goods.
  • There is good news on the horizon! As the country starts to open up, truck activity is projected to increase significantly. Over 70% of the nation’s freight is hauled by trucks. As non-essential businesses start to open back up and the national supply chain begins to right itself, the industry will start to see more activity and more drivers on the road.
  • Outside of COVID-19 research, ATRI also identified five additional projects to focus on this year:
    • The impact of small settlements on the trucking industry
    • Rethinking mileage-based safety metrics
    • The owner-operator/independent contractor model in the supply chain
    • Cost/benefit analysis of vehicle miles traveled taxes
    • The impact of rising insurance costs on industry operational costs

While the conversation around COVID-19 might be stealing the headlines, the ATRI board has already started working on these additional topics and plans to stick with these goals throughout the year. These priorities will either directly impact or be directly impacted by the larger conversation around COVID, making ATRI aligned with the larger industry picture at hand.

You can watch the entire Chat with Rebecca Brewster here, and make sure you click ‘Subscribe’ to be notified when new DriverReach Chats are posted! 

Watch the Chat Now

Stay up to date on CDL trucking trends! Be sure to check out the DriverReach blog or follow us on LinkedIn for other relevant articles and head over to our webinars page for an up-to-date list of upcoming events and on-demand recordings.

Interested in seeing DriverReach’s modern Recruiting and Compliance Management System in action? Take DriverReach for a test drive!


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