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Who's Really Winning in the Trucking Industry? A Closer Look at Recent Policy Changes

The trucking industry has experienced several policy changes over the years, and while some have been beneficial for carriers, recent policies have seemed to benefit carrier managers more than carriers. In this blog post, we will discuss how recent policies in the trucking industry have favored carrier managers over carriers.

Electronic Logging Device (ELD)

One of the most significant policy changes in the trucking industry was the implementation of the electronic logging device (ELD) mandate in 2017. The ELD mandate requires truck drivers to use electronic devices, rather than paper logs to record their driving hours. The mandate was put in place to improve safety by ensuring that drivers comply with hours-of-service rules. While the ELD mandate benefits both carriers and carrier managers by improving safety and reducing paperwork, initial rules lacked the flexibility for carriers to comply while dealing with rule interferences, such as parking shortages and facility detention. Moreover, truckers point to privacy concerns given their belief in the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s (FMCSA’s) failure to address ELD’s shortcomings and security risks.

Higher Insurance Premium MandateIncrease in Premiums

Another policy change that has favored carrier managers is the recent increase in insurance premiums. In 2019, insurance premiums increased by up to 30% for carriers due to a rise in the number of accidents involving commercial trucks. While this increase has affected carriers negatively, carrier managers have benefited from it. Carrier managers can now negotiate better insurance rates with insurance companies because they can provide evidence of better safety records than carriers.

Compliance, Safety and Accountability Program (CSA)

The implementation of the Compliance, Safety, and Accountability (CSA) program in 2010 was another policy change that favored carrier managers over carriers. The CSA program was implemented to improve safety on the roads by identifying carriers with poor safety records. The program uses data from inspections, crashes, and other safety violations to assign safety scores to carriers. The program has given carrier managers more control over their drivers and allowed them to avoid hiring carriers with poor safety records.

California’s AB5 Law

California’s Assembly Bill 5 (AB5) Law codified a new system for determining a truck driver’s classification as an employee or an independent contractor. Establishing a system that makes it harder for truck drivers to maintain their independence and autonomy of their business is a direct threat to the independent trucker business model. As a result, this forces many truck drivers to work as employees, benefitting carrier managers, and thereby minimizing truck drivers’ entrepreneurial opportunities.

In conclusion, recent policies in the trucking industry have favored carrier managers more than carriers. The ELD mandate, increase in insurance premiums, CSA program, HOS regulations, and truck driver turnover have given carrier managers more control over their drivers and allowed them to reduce costs. Carriers must adapt to these changes to stay competitive in the industry. Carriers can negotiate better contracts, implement better safety measures, and improve working conditions to retain drivers and remain competitive.

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