Annual Review & Outlook 2013: Transplace

Thomas K. SandersonWe must fight the regulatory war on business. Now that the election is behind us, we know there will be no voluntary slowdown in the regulatory war on business. The supply chain industries are no exception, and we need to pursue multiple strategies to prevent unwarranted economic damage to our industry while continuing our success in improving highway safety and driving supply chain efficiency.

The Compliance Safety and Accountability initiative brands more than half of the carriers it measures as somehow deficient in safety while reporting publicly on only 91,000 of more than 500,000 carriers. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration continues to equivocate on its obligation to be the sole determinant of which carriers are fit to operate on our highways. Several excellent studies have shown beyond reasonable doubt that Safety Measurement System scores have no correlation to individual carrier accident frequency and that the scores are subject to numerous data collection flaws. Two House hearings in 2012 showed bipartisan skepticism regarding the CSA based on testimony presented by industry leaders. Studies are coming from the Inspector General and the General Accounting Office. The Alliance for Safe, Efficient, and Competitive Truck Transportation has filed a lawsuit in the U.S. Court of Appeals challenging the CSA program.

The hours-of-service restart provisions are due to be implemented in July. The American Trucking Associations is suing to prevent this and has been joined by numerous shipper-related groups and other industry participants. Public Citizen and others also have sued and favor reducing driving hours in addition to the restart provisions. There is no evidence that either change will improve highway safety, but we know the changes will mean more trucks on the road for Monday rush-hour traffic and more inexperienced drivers. That will not lead to fewer accidents.

We also face sleep apnea rules, higher truck tolls, more stringent environmental regulations on engines, wage and hour rules, and no relief on sensible increases in size and weight limits.

We must engage in fighting this regulatory war on business. Educate yourself on the issues. Share information within your company. Speak at industry conferences and write articles for industry publications. Participate in industry trade groups. Communicate with your federal and state elected officials. When all else fails, be prepared to seek justice through the courts. That costs money, but not as much as harmful regulations will cost our industry and your company.

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