Trucking Regulations Affect More Than Just Trucking Companies

By: Rhett Davis, Region 6 Advocate

Trucking regulations implemented by the federal government in recent years have had an adverse effect on one suburban Baton Rouge firm, and the company doesn’t even own a fleet of trucks.

“The problem is not a shortage of trucks. It’s a shortage of truck drivers,” said the owner of a small business that manufactures lubricants and drilling fluids. “My fix would be to go back to the old rules of service and to have some flexibility,” he said.

New burdens put on small truckers by federal rules adopted during the past decade have contributed to a nationwide shortage of truck drivers, increasing costs and delivery time, he said.

“I’ve heard things as extreme as someone being a half hour from home and pulling over, having to take a ten hour break. There’s got to be some flexibility.”

The small business owner, who has operated his successful firm for 33 years, said the new rules have shown no measurable positive outcomes.

“There is no significant difference between the safety numbers from before and after they adopted them,” he said. “It’s stretched our lead time out. Instead of ordering product for delivery in 3 or 4 days, we’re ordering it for delivery in 12-14 days. And my inventory is almost double what it was this time last year. We have to stockpile items so we don’t run out.”

He added that some of the unforeseen burdens on small businesses are now beginning to surface.

“We had to add 5,000 square feet of warehouse because of this. We have twice as much money tied up in inventory,” he said. “When we renew our insurance, our premiums will increase because we’re insuring more inventory.”

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