Limited changes in truck driver hours of service regulations make a severe trucking capacity shortage “much less likely” in 2012, FTR Associates said Tuesday.
However, other factors, including other safety regulations and rising costs, will keep truck capacity “modestly” tight and put pressure on rates, the research group said.
FTR’s Trucking Conditions Index rose slightly less than two points in November to 5.2. Any reading above zero indicates an adequate trucking environment.
“The conditions for the trucking industry will now turn on the fundamentals of supply and demand,” said Larry Gross, senior consultant at FTR.
Supply is tightening as demand rises, thanks to years of consolidation during the recession and rising equipment and operating costs for truck operators.
In a final rule released Dec. 22, The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration preserved the 11-hour daily driving limit while changing other provisions.
The FMCSA’s Compliance, Safety and Accountability program, or CSA, will affect truck capacity, Gross said. CSA is expected to gradually tighten the supply of drivers.