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10/24/2016 4:00:00 AM Write a Letter to the Editor Write a letter to the Editor

Opinion: The Real Cost of Regulations for Small Carriers

This Opinion piece appears in the Oct. 24 print edition of Transport Topics. Click here to subscribe today.

By Barb Delles


Colorado Motor Express

Economists often speak of a “regulatory drag” on our economy related to the costs associated with the many regulations passed over the years. Recent estimates of this regulatory burden on the U.S. economy range upward of $2 trillion per year, or more than 10% of our gross domestic product, or GDP. Few of these economists, though, have actually experienced the effects of this onslaught of regulations firsthand, as many of us who operate small businesses have.

For me and other small businesses the effects of this blitz of regulations are more than increased costs of doing business. They also create great anxiety and concern. While I am trying to run a profitable trucking company, at the same time, I must seek to interpret all of the various new regulations and then determine how to comply with them. A slight mix-up with even one can lead to a major fine, penalty or even lawsuit. In some cases, an inadvertent lapse or misunderstanding can result in the demise of a business.

Being that there are so many federal and state agencies, all of whom could be passing a regulation that is unbeknownst to me but could affect my company and its employees, it makes for many a sleepless night. Like other small businesses, I do my best to stay on top of these changes, but the pace and sheer magnitude of new regulations or interpretations of old ones makes it impossible.

The concept and concern of excessive regulation is not one that is unknown to our elected officials. Every new state and federal administration promises when they take office to “streamline and cut regulations” — but none deliver. While these elected officials may be sincere in seeking such change, in almost all cases the regulatory burden on businesses is greater than when they assumed office.

In the trucking industry in the upcoming year, the federal government, alone, is looking at three major new regulations that will affect all trucking companies. One involves a requirement for electronic logging devices, or ELDs, to more accurately track the driving hours and rest periods for truck drivers.

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