2016 was a lackluster year in the transportation industry. Soft demand, driver shortages and looming federal regulation set an uneasy tone for the market. Encouragingly, analysts predict a more positive 2017 albeit in the 3rd and 4th quarters.
Regulation in the coming year
Increased Training for Truck Drivers
Safety remains a concern throughout the industry, and in response, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration has proposed an increase in training for truck drivers. Although quality employee training provides many benefits, including helping to retain employees, it comes at a price. The FMCSA reports the implementation and compliance of the proposed rule could cost up to $5.6 billion over the course of a ten-year period, including expenses, such as tuition and compliance audits. In-house training programs could be required, which would leave many companies scrambling for resources to comply.
Electronic Logging Devices
Even larger regulations are on the horizon with a mandate for implementation of Electronic Logging Devices (ELD). The ELD mandate will transform the way truck drivers maintain driving logs through automation. Although the mandate is not effective until December 2017, companies need to be preparing for the change now. Companies that have already implemented ELD systems should ensure their existing ELD systems comply with the regulation by December 2019.
Implementing an ELD system is not without its burdens. The obvious one is the cost of purchasing ELD equipment initially. Another easily overlooked obstacle, however, is the challenge of not only implementing the technology, but also developing sufficient controls to ensure the ELD does not cause disruption in operations.
The proposed hours-of-service rule, limiting drivers to 73-hour, 7-day work weeks, can easily be tracked through ELDs and works in tandem with the ELD mandate. The accountability of drive time that is tracked through an ELD system will leave trucking companies with only one option...compliance.
The proposed limit on hours driven can dramatically affect a company’s bottom line, especially when considering the challenges the driver shortage already presents. Drive time includes more than just hours spent on the road. Idle time waiting to be dispatched, loading and unloading, inspecting and servicing trucks all count toward drive time. Therefore, efficiency in all operations is more vital than ever before. Compliance with regulations is imperative for trucking companies. In the midst of continuous changes, companies need to have a plan in place to adapt quickly to upcoming regulations.
Perhaps now is the time to enlist the guidance of a professional 3PL service to help navigate these regulations and manage their affect on your supply chain. Click the button below for expert advice.