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Trucks.com | History Proves Trucking Industry Adapts to Regulatory Hurdles

08.29.17 | Clarissa Hawes, Trucks.com

Truckers are threatening to quit the industry when a federal mandate requiring digital tracking of driving hours with electronic logging devices starts in December. The history of past regulatory changes demonstrates that most will remain in the business.

Truckers voiced similar threats when confronted with previous regulatory changes, including a new hours-of-service rule in 2013 and sweeping diesel emissions regulations from the Environmental Protection Agency dating back to the 1980s, but they kept driving.

“In none of these cases was there a major effect on transportation,” said Noël Perry, an analyst at FTR Transportation Intelligence.

Some in the industry believe the mandate to install so-called ELDs in trucks will shrink the number of drivers and the trucks available to haul goods across the U.S.

“There is no evidence whatsoever that truckers have left the industry because of regulations,” Perry said.

While the hours-of-service rule has been a shock to the trucking industry, Allyson Hay, a driver from Searcy, Ark., said like everything else, truckers “do adapt” to change.

“I know exactly what time I will be shutting down,” she said.

The industry also has adjusted to increasingly stringent environmental requirements.

“Complying with EPA regulations has caused the cost of maintaining a motor to go bonkers,” said Brian West, president of M&M American Logistics, a Mason, Ohio, trucking company. “We have found we are rebuilding motors a lot sooner than anticipated, but we know what to expect now.”

There were also benefits to the new rules.

“Now people are buying new engines and getting 8 mpg and they are happy,” Perry told Trucks.com.

In preparation for the ELD mandate, West said his company anticipates that the monitoring will reduce the number of miles truckers can drive.

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