Sam Tucker is the founder and CEO of Carrier Risk Solutions, Inc., an Atlanta, Georgia based transportation risk management startup. Prior to this venture, Sam spent 13 years underwriting trucking and logistics accounts at some of the most well known insurance companies. He holds degrees in Business Economics and Finance/Risk Management as well as multiple professional insurance designations. Carrier Risk Solutions' innovative safety management platform can be found online at www.MySafetyManager.com. Reach Sam by email at STucker@CarrierRiskSolutions.com.
The trucking industry hasn't experienced this many major regulatory changes since the industry was deregulated in 1980!
Let's review a bit. Over the last year, we have seen the finalization of the Electronic Logging mandate, the passage of the FAST Act and a new major multi-year transportation bill.
The FMCSA then kicked off the new year with a bang by introducing a totally re-designed Safety Fitness Determination methodology and implemented the new driver coercion mandatesoon thereafter.
The FDA added to the pile when they released the finalized Sanitary Food Transport provisions of the Food Safety Modernization Act in late April.
Over the next few weeks, we will see the final versions of the long awaited speed limiter mandate and the Drug and Alcohol Driver Clearinghouse.
Next on the docket are regulations around drivers with Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA), formal new driver training regulations and the implementation of the Unified Registration System (URS).
While some of the larger carriers will take each of these new changes in stride and eventually try to pass the increased cost of regulatory compliance onto their customers (and ultimately the US Consumer), many smaller trucking firms will continue to struggle with these new regulations.
The worst part is that there really isn't any relief in sight.
Combining these increased regulations with the shortage of qualified drivers and lackluster freight demand, motor carriers of all sizes will continue to feel the adverse effects of these changes.
What can trucking companies do about it?
1) Educate themselves as much as possible about each new change and how it will potentially impact their operations.
2) Develop a plan to effectively deal with those operational changes, including the roles and responsibilities of each of their team members across the organization.
3) Implement the plan well ahead of proposed compliance mandate effective dates to ensure that you are compliant as soon as the new regulations apply to your business. (this is especially true when dealing with potentially complex implementation projects like outfitting your fleet with an ELD Solution)
4) Monitor the plan implementation and operational changes that have been planned for to ensure that your regulatory compliance goals are being met. This can be as simple as monitoring your CSA scores more closely or as complex as measuring the productivity impact on limiting your truck's speed to 65 mph.
5) Make changes and take corrective action as needed in order to ensure that the financial impact of the increased compliance requirements are minimized and the operational impacts are mitigated as much as possible.
6) Hold on tight and hope that you can effectively comply with the next round of intervention.