ATRI, OOIDA want fast responses to survey on COVID-19 trucking impacts

COVID-19 survey

The American Transportation Research Institute (ATRI) and the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association (OOIDA) Foundation are fielding a fast-turn coronavirus pandemic survey, hoping to learn how the trucking industry is coping and what it would do differently next time.

The 20-question survey is the latest collaboration by two groups not generally known for working together.

“We realize people are going crazy out there” trying to get freight delivered, ATRI President Rebecca Brewster told FreightWaves. “We hope to get the bulk of responses in the next week.”

Survey says …

Survey questions range from general queries about fleet size to typical length and type of haul to coronavirus impacts on freight movement — from parking to future disaster planning. 

ATRI is looking for at least 600 responses from a mix of trucking stakeholders, with at least 30% from drivers, ATRI Senior Vice President Dan Murray said.

“I think we can top that pretty easily,” said Tom Weakley, director of the OOIDA Foundation, the nonprofit arm of the 160,000-member organization.

OOIDA is emailing the survey to members and posting a link on its website

“If [drivers] could ever stop running their rears off making critical deliveries, they could take a few minutes and fill out the survey,” Weakley told FreightWaves.

What about food?

The ATRI-OOIDA survey does not ask specifically about availability of food and other amenities on the road during the coronavirus crisis. Drivers no longer can eat in sit-down restaurants in most states because of concerns that the virus can be transmitted by close human contact, including by food servers and via self-serve options.

Fast-food franchiser McDonald’s Corp. this week began offering designated curbside pickup for truckers unable to use drive-thrus designed for passenger vehicles.

Texas Roadhouse Inc., the Louisville, Kentucky-based steakhouse chain, is operating restaurants in a full, limited, or to-go capacity depending on the store location.

“They are like, ‘If you can get into our parking lot, we can bring food to you,’” independent driver Stephen Halsted told FreightWaves. “I’m kind of baffled this has not gotten more attention.”

Long collaboration

The OOIDA and ATRI have worked together since 2001, in contrast to the antipathy between the OOIDA and the American Trucking Associations (ATA). The ATRI is independent but has several ATA members on its advisory committee that sets research priorities.

“It is mutually helpful,” Weakley said of OOIDA collaborations with ATRI, which has had an OOIDA representative on its research advisory committee since 2001.

“We have a lot more things in common than differences,” Weakley said. “They have the carriers; we have the drivers. We want a representative sampling [large] enough to be significant.”