NEW ORLEANS --- The American Transportation Research Institute (ATRI), the trucking industry's research group, today unveiled its list of the top ten critical issues facing U.S. truckers. The cost of fuel and the nation's economy top the list in ATRI's survey of more than 5,000 trucking industry executives.

The complete results were released in New Orleans at the 2008 Management Conference and Exhibition of the American Trucking Associations (ATA), the nation's largest gathering of motor carrier executives. ATRI also solicited and tabulated strategies for addressing each issue.

Aside from fuel costs and the economy, other top 10 issues include driver shortage and retention, government regulation, commercial driver hours-of-service, congestion and tolls and highway funding, among others.

The ATA-commissioned survey results and proposed strategies will be used by the ATA to better focus its advocacy role on behalf of the U.S. trucking industry and ATA Federation stakeholders.

"The annual ATRI survey proves invaluable in helping us chart a course of action for the future," said incoming ATA Chairman Charles "Shorty" Whittington (Grammer Industries, Grammer, IN) "and as ATA chairman I will work to see that the industry-identified strategies are implemented."

"On every legislative and regulatory topic, issues come and go so quickly today," said Bill Graves, ATA president and CEO. "If we're not at the table with sound, science-based information and a common-sense plan of action, then we're going to get left behind and saddled with solutions that have no bearing on moving America's freight safely and efficiently."