How the government shutdown impacts the transportation industry

There's been much talk about the government shutdown in recent weeks. While many assumed lawmakers would come to an agreement and avoid a shutdown entirely, this has proven to be false. Battles between Republicans and Democrats haven't yielded positive results thus far, making it uncertain when the government will be up and running fully once more.

What's been closed and what is still functioning?
The shutdown has impacted a vast array of agencies, departments and projects. Essential services, such as those responsible for sending out federal benefits, approving farm loans and processing immigration paperwork, will remain open. The U.S. Postal Service (USPS) will also be unaffected.

One other agency that will remain open is the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA). The agency, which directs federal money to highways in need of repair, is still operational. But this isn't the case for all agencies that deal with the transportation industry. The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) has been seriously impacted by the shutdown, according to NBC News, and its investigators have been furloughed.

Because the investigators have not been coming in to work, the agency has been unable look into a serious bus crash that killed eight people and injured 14 more in Tennessee. Instead the Tennessee Highway Patrol will spearhead the investigation and try to determine its cause.

"In this particular case I think it's highly likely that we would have responded to it, but again, with our investigators furloughed, it's impossible to do that," said Sharon Bryson, deputy director of communications for the NTSB, according to NBC News.

While investigations will be put off during the shutdown, so will new data regarding employment in the transportation industry. The Department of Labor will not release its monthly jobs report until the issue has been resolved, nor will the Bureau of Labor Statistics collect information pertaining to employment numbers.

While there have not been reports signaling specific transportation industries have been significantly impacted by the shutdown, they may need to be prepared to employ as many cost savings solutions as possible in the event is does. By relying more heavily on logistics software, carriers can ensure their drivers are using as little fuel as possible, thus slashing spending on gas or diesel, and taking the most efficient routes, thereby enabling them to make more pickups and deliveries for customers.