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Small-businesses in transportation testify at hearing seeking regulatory relief

By Contributing Writer
Posted Nov 29th 2017 12:14PM

House Committee hears how regulations stifle competition with no safety benefits

(Grain Valley, Mo., Nov. 29, 2017) The Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association applauds the remarks of several small-businesses in the transportation industry as they testified before the U.S. House Committee on Small Business on Wednesday, Nov. 29.

The hearing, dubbed “Highway to Headache: Federal Regulations on the Small Trucking Industry,” was an opportunity to provide input on the vital role small businesses play in the overall economy and highway safety.

“Small-business truckers and other businesses that rely on large trucks for their business models must contend with the same restrictive regulations as large businesses,” said Todd Spencer, executive vice president of OOIDA. “Providing regulatory relief would be good for the economy and for highway safety as many regulations have no benefits for either. Small trucking businesses are the safest operators on the road, with millions of safe miles, and we should be helping them to thrive instead of putting them out of business with over-regulation.”

Numerous concerns were cited in testimony from OOIDA, represented by board of directors member Monte Wiederhold, an owner-operator with a small fleet of seven trucks in Ohio. Some of those same concerns were echoed by other witnesses sharing insights about regulations such as the electronic logging device mandate, hours-of-service, EPA emissions standards and minimum insurance requirements.

The committee heard about how the ELD mandate is estimated to cost impacted stakeholders more than $2 billion, making it one of the most expensive federal transportation rulemakings over the last decade.

“The mandate provides no safety, economic, or productivity benefits for most ensnared by the mandate,” said Spencer. “

A chief concern is the self-certification of the devices that businesses will be required to purchase to comply with the mandate. At present, none of the 193 devices listed on the FMCSA website have been validated by the agency or any unbiased, third-party testing program.

“Most small-businesses can ill afford to make these purchases only to learn later that the ELD is non-compliant. Yet they are required to do so or risk violation,” said Spencer.

Wiederhold also shared with the committee concerns about federal policies such as the Unified Carrier Registration System as well as the issue of high driver turnover among mega carriers that is often purported as a driver shortage.

“Big trucking uses the myth of a driver shortage as a means to advance priorities that would actually harm drivers and undermine highway safety,” said Spencer. “The real problem is high turnover, which the large carriers rely upon to keep wages low and satisfy Wall Street investors. While pleading for help from Washington to address the mythical shortage, corporate motor carriers routinely blame the overcapacity of trucks within their own fleets for lower than expected earnings. Clearly, there are more trucks on the road than freight to haul.”

The Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association is the only national trade association representing the interests of small-business trucking professionals and professional truck drivers. The Association currently has more than 160,000 members nationwide. OOIDA was established in 1973 and is headquartered in the Greater Kansas City, Mo., area.

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