New trucking regulations concern small companies

Small local trucking companies are concerned a new federal regulation could have a negative effect on their business.

A federal regulator says the goal is highway safety.

The new regulation was enacted by the Federal Motor Carriers Safety Administration in 2015, but its implementation was delayed for two years. It becomes effective Dec. 18 when truckers must equip their trucks with electronic logging devices (ELDs) for recording hours on the road.

In the past only big trucking companies used the devices, and smaller trucking companies were allowed to use paper logs.

Paul Studer, Beattie, Studer Truck Line co-owner, said the larger trucking companies have been pushing for this technology to be used in all commercial trucks.

“In their words, this will ‘even the playing field,’” he said. “What will more likely happen is smaller trucking companies will either quit or cut back on their longer hauls, which will put more freight in the hands of the bigger companies and cause rates to go up.

“This cost will be passed on to the consumer.”

Studer said the motor carriers administration has a program that rates the performance safety of carriers in seven categories.

“If carriers maintain a good safety record, they should not have to use ELDs,” he said. “This was how it was initially proposed to be. For carriers who didn’t meet these standards, they would have to use ELDs. There are a lot of small carriers who have good safety records.”

LJM Trucking owner John Darrah, Axtell, said he is considering closing his business because of the stress from numerous federal regulations including the new electronic logging requirement.

“Somebody made these laws who doesn’t know a thing about trucking,” Darrah said.

He voiced his concerns to U.S. Sen. Jerry Moran, Kansas Republican, at a November town hall meeting in Frankfort, and Darrah has been in contact with Moran’s office about a congressional bill under consideration to nullify the ELD requirement by withholding funds for the mandate’s enforcement.

Read more of this The Marysville Advocate article by Paul Kessinger by clicking here.