As I’m sure you’re aware, the trucking and logistics industry is one of the most regulated industries in the United States. Almost everything a trucking company does is governed by regulations, and complying with regulations is sometimes daunting and often frustrating. Ignoring applicable laws, however, can lead to heavy fines and losses in revenue.
We’ve been talking within the industry for some time about new regulations, some of which are just coming into play now. I’d like to recap four of the most important proposed or newly enacted regulations that will affect your business in the coming months.
- Increased Training for Truck Drivers
Safety remains a concern throughout the industry, and in response, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration has proposed an increase in training for truck drivers. Although quality employee training provides many benefits, including helping to retain employees, it comes at a price. The FMCSA reports the implementation and compliance of the proposed rule could cost up to $5.6 billion over the course of a ten-year period, including expenses such as tuition and compliance audits. In-house training programs could be required, which would leave many companies scrambling for resources to comply.
- Environmental Regulations
The Environmental Protection Agency and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration have recently released new environmental regulations that could lead to a hefty burden on the trucking industry. New regulations are aimed at decreasing greenhouse gas emissions and improving overall fuel economy. Trucking companies can expect an increase in the cost of tractors and trailers, as manufacturers work to meet new standards. The EPA, however, claims that companies can recoup the extra expense with fuels savings within two years. Additionally, fuel-saving benefits could ultimately be passed to consumers through reduced transportation cost. Trucking companies need make plans to track fuel savings to ensure they are recovering their costs and capitalizing on the benefits for operations.
- Electronic Logging Devices
Even larger regulations are on the horizon with a mandate for implementation of Electronic Logging Devices. The ELD mandate will transform the way truck drivers maintain driving logs through automation. Although the mandate is not effective until December 2017, companies need to be preparing for the change now. Companies that have already implemented ELD systems should ensure their existing ELD systems comply with the regulation by December 2019.
Implementing an ELD system is not without its burdens. The obvious one is the cost of purchasing ELD equipment initially. Another easily overlooked obstacle, however, is the challenge of not only implementing the technology but also developing sufficient controls to ensure the ELD does not cause disruption in operations.
- Hours-of-Service Rule
The proposed hours-of-service rule, limiting drivers to 73-hour 7-day work weeks, can easily be tracked through ELDs and works in tandem with the ELD mandate. The accountability of drive time that is tracked through an ELD system will leave trucking companies with only one option—compliance.
The proposed limit on hours driven can dramatically affect a company’s bottom line, especially when considering the challenges the driver shortage already presents. Drive time includes more than just hours spent on the road. Idle time waiting to be dispatched, loading and unloading, inspecting and servicing trucks all count toward drive time. Therefore, efficiency in all operations is more vital than ever before.
Compliance with regulations is imperative for trucking companies. In the mists of continuous changes, companies need to have a plan in place to adapt quickly to upcoming regulations. Let HORNE help you craft a plan for implementation and compliance.
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