April 21st, 2021

Truckers Should Take The Infrastructure Debate Into Their Own Hands

There’s a dire need to improve the nation’s infrastructure. It might be the only topic of conversation with unanimous support these days. Everyone can agree traffic jams and potholes are bad, and result in more vehicle maintenance and lower fuel efficiency.

Experts have been warning for years that doing nothing is a far more costly option than doing something to tackle this growing crisis. That’s why infrastructure is a popular topic for lawmakers, especially in the early months of new presidential administrations. That’s again the case in 2021, leaving freight transportation supporters hopeful that President Biden and Congress could reach an infrastructure spending agreement in the coming months.

There had been similar optimism during prior administrations, but the inability to agree on a long-term funding mechanism has proved to be the sticking point. Federal fuel taxes have not been increased since 1993, and other ideas such as a vehicle miles tax (VMT) or increased tolling on interstates have met resistance. As a result of this inaction, the trucking industry – and country at large – continues to suffer.

How Bad Is It?

The 2021 report card from the American Society of Civil Engineers gave the U.S. infrastructure a grade of “C-minus.” That was an improvement from the 2017 grade of “D-plus” and the highest rating in two decades.[1]

Despite the improved grade, the group noted the long-term investment gap has risen from $2.1 trillion over 10 years to $2.59 trillion over 10 years. The nation’s crumbling infrastructure threatens the just-in-time delivery model that is so critical across the supply chain, and could jeopardize the competitiveness of the United States in global markets.

In 2016, truckers experienced nearly 1.2 billion hours of delays on the highway system. That is equivalent of 425,533 drivers sitting idle for a full working year. This congestion wasted 6.87 billion gallons of fuel — 13% of truckers’ total fuel consumption— resulting in 67.3 million metric tons of excess carbon dioxide emissions being released into the atmosphere.[2]

Poor infrastructure also results in individual truckers spending $5,000 annually on repairs to damaged vehicles caused by poor road conditions, according to a survey conducted by the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association (OOIDA).[3]

A separate study from National Retail Systems Inc. discovered that 60% of truckers believe roads are in worse condition than ever before.[4] A majority of drivers also said they lose time at least a few times each week due to the deteriorating roads. These conditions cause excessive road vibration, which leads to an increase in tire wear and blowouts. That results in more emergency roadside calls, as well as premature tire replacement.

What Can Fleets Do?

Even if there is a breakthrough on infrastructure funding, it will still take time before any major improvements or highway expansions will truly make any difference. So the best advice for truckers is to listen to those experts on infrastructure funding: doing nothing is a far more costly option than doing something.

Fleets are already spending tens of thousands of dollars a year purchasing new tires and installing them on vehicles. Unfortunately, tires are among the most frequent maintenance and problem areas responsible for emergency and unplanned repairs. And underinflation, the number one cause of premature tire removal, is blamed for up to 95% of tire failures.
However, a tool like Halo Connect from Aperia Technologies offers automatic tire inflation and predictive tire management in one package.

Halo Connect extends the lifespan of tires by reducing wear and tear from underinflation. It immediately spots and fixes any pressure lost by striking potholes or driving along miles of rough road, and minimizes the costly servicing of tires to when it is most convenient and economical.

Halo Connect uses algorithms leveraging a billion miles to deliver the tire management system. The platform categorizes tire-related issues by severity and provides maintenance recommendations, enabling fleets to prevent failures due to leaks, underinflation, and wear by streamlining communication and tire maintenance. It can help fleet reduce more than 90% of tire-related emergency roadside service.

Utilizing Halo Connect cannot solve the nation’s long-standing infrastructure woes. It can, however, provide your fleet with a powerful tool to maximize uptime and transition to preventative maintenance, no matter what happens with the infrastructure debate in 2021.

To learn more about Aperia and Halo Connect contact us at info@aperiatech.com.

[1] Infrastructure Report Card

[2] ATRI Cost of Congestion to the Trucking Industry

[3] Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association Survey

[4] National Retail Systems Inc. Survey

#Infrastructure #OwnerOperator #IndependentDrivers #ATRI