Maintain flexibility amid regulatory changes with transportation software

Investing in freight management software is a smart way for the owners of small and medium-sized commercial carriers to stay organized amid changing state laws and regulations.

Businesses in the transportation industry are often held to multiple standards within both state and federal jurisdictions. For example, the U.S. Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) is known to carry out random vehicle inspections at traffic stops to make sure firms are compliant with specific rules aimed at reducing the number of accidents on highways and roads, according to Fleet Owner. In other cases, fleet managers must keep track of several state guidelines governing anything from employment, pollution control and highway speed.

New York carriers face new regulatory requirements
Recent adjustments to the legal framework in New York have especially positioned commercial shipping companies operating within the state to benefit from automated tools that enhance overall efficiency. According to Commercial Carrier Journal, Gov. Andrew Cuomo recently signed into a law a measure that establishes new criteria for classifying drivers of private ground transportation companies. The New York Commercial Goods Transportation Industry Fair Play Act was approved by state lawmakers in 2013 as a way to protect employees responsible for driving heavy-duty vehicles over long distances.

A recent article in the legal news publication Mondaq said businesses in New York are currently allowed to hire drivers as independent contractors. However, once the new law comes into effect on March 11, these organizations will essentially be required to treat these individuals as full-time employees. Similarly, managers must meet three specific criteria to be able to classify any of their workers as contractors: the employee is contractually free from control while on the job, the service provided is distinct from what other full-time drivers offer, and the contractor has previous familiarity with the trade in another capacity. The law also increases the fines for violating these guidelines. On first violation, Mondaq reported that commercial carriers will have to pay a penalty of $1,500.

Automated logistics software can be a useful tool for companies that must quickly adapt to changing state and federal regulations. Specifically, the ability to assign work more evenly for staff members will reduce some of the steep costs associated with hiring full-time workers. Salaries and benefits can add up for organizations that already struggle to make ends meet. However, reducing spending in other ways, such as the dispatch process, has the potential to make any firm more flexible to any changes that may arise in the future.

Organization is crucial as freight industry experiences growth
After years of unpredictable business activity, commercial transportation organizations are experiencing a major rebound. A separate article from CCJ said the for-hire trucking industry shipped 1.2 percent more freight in November compared to October. This growth sent the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics' (BLS) Freight Transportation Services Index to an all-time high. With the right technology, fleet managers can prevent regulatory issues from standing in the way of long-term success.