Regulations place additional burdens on transportation industry

Regulation is a growing problem for business owners in many industries, and trying to comply with all local and federal mandates can be a challenge. This is particularly true for entrepreneurs at small businesses that may lack the resources necessary to dedicate to compliance.

The challenges associated with compliance
Regulation was a main topic of discussion at the recent Great West Fleet Executive Conference. Mike Card, chairman of the American Trucking Associations, discussed the additional hoops small fleet operators are required to jump through in order to comply with a growing list of regulations.

Card detailed the importance of limited regulatory oversight in the industry by stressing that the "first generation" of today's transportation companies got their start after the deregulation movement that took place in the late 1970s and 1980s. The industry's current state doesn't leave fleet owners and operators with much room to exit the business - according to Card, owners will need to merge with other companies, sell their businesses or shut their doors, rather than achieve independent growth. Taxes, high fuel prices, hours-of-service changes, potential alterations in CSA scoring and a growing list of equipment requirements have made it more time consuming and costly to comply.

One solution to these issues, according to Card, is getting Congress more involved in the transportation industry rather than leaving major decisions up to federal regulators. A less controversial regulatory environment, coupled with politicians who are willing to make hard or unpopular decisions, could help carriers in the long run and improve national infrastructure.

Coping with regulatory burdens
As fleet owners and operators face more difficulties in light of ever-changing regulations and new rules, they must determine how they can better utilize available resources and make the most of their time and available funds while still complying with federally mandated guidelines.

By implementing route planning software, transportation companies can save valuable resources and dedicate additional time and money to compliance efforts. Route optimization software allows drivers to use less gas or diesel and take the shortest runs possible, which limits both time on the road and fuel consumption. Similarly, new technology has made it possible for managers to plan routes more quickly, allowing them to spend additional time focusing on compliance and growing their companies.