Safety & Compliance

The Pounding of All the Rules

November 2015, - WebXclusive

by David Cullen, Executive Editor - Also by this author

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Annette Sandberg Photo: TransSafe Consulting
Annette Sandberg Photo: TransSafe Consulting

It won’t so much be a single new safety regulation headed trucking’s way over the next two years that will negatively impact industry capacity, according to Annette Sandberg, CEO of TransSafe Consulting LLC and a former administrator of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration.

What will dent capacity is the “compounding effect” of having so many rules to carry out “pounding the smaller carrier’s ability to comply,” she said Tuesday during a live-feed online conference hosted by research and forecasting firm FTR.

“This year into early next year, FMCSA will be working to complete several key regulations,” Sandberg pointed out, with “the Obama administration having nothing to lose by pushing regulations to the end of the line as the president’s term concludes.”

Sandberg said that among the most critical actions in the works are:

  • The rulemaking on minimum insurance levels for motor carriers and a separate one that could prevent carriers from self-insuring.
  • The rule on speed limiters, which she expects will be out this summer.
  • The electronic logging device (ELD) mandate as well as a rule against coercing drivers regarding electronic logs, which she said will both come out in September. Sandberg noted that the anti-coercion measure will also apply to shippers and brokers; however for them the rule will be enforced by OSHA.

As Sandberg sees it, despite the ELD rule being a “game-changer” in terms of increasing safety compliance, what remains is “the open question as to whether any litigation [initiated after the rule is released] will be resolved or dismissed by the agency before the two-year period ends before implementation begins.”

In her estimation, once they are implemented the ELD and minimum-insurance rules will have the most impact on smaller motor carriers.

“Carriers that have implemented electronic logs [by then] won’t be the problem,” Sandberg said. “But any carrier [stands to] lose 10 percent or more of their drivers when they convert.

"I would suspect some of those drivers will completely exit the business, especially older ones, and that will only exacerbate the shortage [for the industry]," she continued. "And some smaller carriers may exit, too, or be purchased by larger carriers that can make the conversion [easily].”

As for increasing the insurance minimum, Sandberg said that’s being watched closely as “it will take out a lot of the smaller carriers that cannot afford the higher rates. The larger carriers already have that coverage.”

Sandberg also observed that as surface-transportation reauthorization proceeds on Capitol Hill, “Members of Congress are signaling to FMCSA that they are concerned about the CSA program and its data.”

She explained that their concern is focused on the Safety Fitness Determination in terms of “how a rating can be created if the underlying system has problems [with its data].”


  1. 1. Jean [ April 08, 2015 @ 04:02AM ]

    No matter what you come up with, you just can't get it right.

  2. 2. jim [ April 08, 2015 @ 04:20AM ]

    For the life of me I don't understand why anyone would want to go into the trucking business. I have been in the business 40 years with all the new regs coming out from people that was never behind the wheel of a truck is rediculous

  3. 3. BarbRRB [ April 08, 2015 @ 06:16AM ]

    "negatively impact industry capacity" I read, I see and I believe Ms. Sandburg is correct. I always did like her when she was in FMCSA. I will dispute the numbers of drivers and small carriers on their way out. I believe there will be a greater impact on the industry in a negitive way. I rember reading a childrens book to my oldest son; "To Much Birthday" from the Bearstines collection. I truly believe that "To Much Government" is exactly where we are at. The Government is killing the small business with Corporate executives in their back pockets handing out money. I may not use your "scientific studies" as a key to the future, they always change the outcome every few years anyway. I use common sense, God gave it to me, and I use it.(some have none) Do not have to be a rocket scientist to figure this out and I have not been wrong yet.

  4. 4. Sal [ April 08, 2015 @ 07:49AM ]

    The unfortunate problem is that ultimately, too much government in trucking is simply destroying the industry. It amounts to pushing the little guy out, and most of these larger companies cannot do the work that the owner/operator with 8 or less trucks can do. Filling in the gaps and covering the little niches in the business that need to be covered. So continue on with your regulations and more government, and continue to destroy the little guy. If you can sit down and do the math, basically $2.80/gallon averaging nationwide and freight rates from 10 years ago at today's diesel cost, for sure, it will continue to create a larger turnover rate in the industry where there's always a shortage of drivers and in the near future, there will be an even greater one. For those of you who've never driven a truck, you go out as a company driver or an owner/operator, drive from coast to coast with the more stringent regulations that are coming up, and live in a box with 10 wheels under it, abide by all the regulations, and explain to me in layman's terms, how can you possibly support a family? So, definitely the answer is not more government regulations.

  5. 5. mike szajna [ April 08, 2015 @ 07:54AM ]

    Another blatant example of the inability of the federal government to explore the unintended consequences of their actions. What would happen to the trucking industry if the fed's would forget the trucking industry exists ? Nothing as bad as whats going to happen to it as a result of all this regulation. It would be nice if our worthless,hapless congress would stand up for the people they represent and, shut this tyrannical president down !!!!!

  6. 6. Tom S. [ April 08, 2015 @ 07:55AM ]

    ELDs will have a major impact. Half of our current road drivers are of an age where they just are not willing to learn a new technology for an industry they've been a part of their whole life. It's not worth it to them. Unfortunately they are not easily replaced. Losing their experience will be a major blow to the company.

  7. 7. Tim C [ April 08, 2015 @ 08:29AM ]

    Great part of that order which reigns among mankind is not the effect of government. It has its origin in the principles of society and the natural constitution of man. It existed prior to government, and would exist if the formality of government was abolished. The mutual dependence and reciprocal interest which man has upon man, and all the parts of civilized community upon each other, create that great chain of connection which holds it together. The landholder, the farmer, the manufacturer, the merchant, the tradesman, and every occupation, prospers by the aid which each receives from the other, and from the whole. Common interest regulates their concerns, and forms their law; and the laws which common usage ordains, have a greater influence than the laws of government. In fine, society performs for itself almost everything which is ascribed to government. Thomas Paine

  8. 8. Paul [ April 08, 2015 @ 11:10AM ]

    To put it in the words of someone who has done more to damage the trucking industry (especially small owner operators) Mary Nichols, head of the California. air resources board, if all our new emission standards kill off the small trucking companies, it's o.k. Because a handful of giant trucking companies would be easier to keep track of than thousands of small ones. There you have's always about control from trucking regs to's all about control. Ca. Is a lost cause. As long as the liberals control the state we are doomed.

  9. 9. Sunny [ April 08, 2015 @ 11:23AM ]

    I agree that these changes will hurt the industry, but take it a step further .Something that these law makers didn't think about, the cost of goods will go way up for the consumer. That may cause another down turn of economy due to the fact that they will once again buy less. ELD spells safety but at what cost. It will affect everyone. CA air board they have done a lot of damage and continue to make changes that will continue to destroy CA economy. But like everyone said, This is about CONTROL and I believe that.

  10. 10. Paul [ April 08, 2015 @ 05:24PM ]

    Here is one more thought. I am out on the road everyday with oversize and from what I can see we are in a vicious circle. More laws and b.s. from the federal govt. forces more of the good drivers out of the industry because of the micromanagement...this in turn brings us a lower quality of driver which leads to more accidents, which leads to...guess what...more laws and babysitter rules. So...maybe if the Feds stayed the hell out of the trucking industry, we would have better drivers and...voila....let accidents. It ain't rocket science.

  11. 11. JL [ April 09, 2015 @ 04:26AM ]

    If she can see this, so can the lawmakers and the FMCSA. they only ask for our comments and input as a way to placate us and make us think they're looking out for "our" best interests. No, this isn't rocket science. They know what's going to happen and they don't care.

  12. 12. john paull [ April 09, 2015 @ 08:15AM ]


  13. 13. Dana M Foley [ April 09, 2015 @ 12:39PM ]

    Ref: ELDs. I disagree. My drivers have moved over with ease to ELD. It actually reduces their paperwork and all the IFTA tracking fuel etc. No more illegible logs all they do is push the button. They don't have to keep track of times as the display tells them what they have left. Just like looking at a clock on the radio. This gives them more time to look over the rig and correct the problems before they get hit with a ticket. If you can work a cell phone you can work a EDL. It has also worked great for maintenance and tracking of time and miles for your billing too! These units can be purchased for less the $150 and monitoring for around $35 a month.

  14. 14. Justin [ April 09, 2015 @ 06:22PM ]

    Useless rules,regs,and ELDs.If all of the people in the trucking industry were responsible,respectful individuals there would not be half of the bullspit put out that we have to comply with.The verbal pukage comoing out of the FMCSA and Congress is actually quite painful to just listen to.
    I am a 25 year owner-operator.I went from running three trucks to just one in my local area.As I pay attention to what is coming by way of new things to abide by,I am developing my exit strategy.
    I am going to shut down,scrap all three trucks,seven trailers,and go flip burgers at the local joint.If the mega-carriers think that by running the small guy out of business will fill their truck seats,they are even more niave than the FMCSA and President One Big Ass Mistake Amarica.

  15. 15. Michael Galorath [ April 11, 2015 @ 08:39AM ]

    Here's an idea. We get someone to put together a letter that can be address and forwarded onto or law makers. We may or may not be able to make a difference. Instead of all the efforts here of complaining we can let the law makers know how it will effect your or ours jobs and the industry.

  16. 16. Frank [ April 11, 2015 @ 03:01PM ]

    Hey Dana put a ELD in your car and race with time everyday for 11 hours good luck. My friend just got a speeding ticket for trying to beat the clock then got a vilation because he move his truck at the place we unloaded at on his 30 min break after his 8 hr rule but he had too he was so mad . ELD are Dangerous where I was relax after untarping he was rushing to beat the clock and about to have a heart attack. I had rather draw a line and keep my Freedom . 34 years Owner operator don't need a box to run or ruin my Life.

  17. 17. J David Stanley [ April 12, 2015 @ 12:45PM ]

    Let's face the facts the federal government has never had an interest in solving the safety issue They focus on one class of vehicles and ignore all others if you are a trucker in the usa you are now a criminal
    Nothing the individual trucker does is good enough for the Feds I've done everything I can in my career as an owner op to be safe
    Recently purchased a new tractor to comply with new epa regs only to see the administration and the epa change the standards again Now I need a black box to tell me when to drive and when to stop
    Last time I looked Elds are not able to detect weather conditions that determine the safety of my operation

  18. 18. Dana M Foley [ April 21, 2015 @ 09:56AM ]

    I have personally ran the devices. It sounds like your friend needs a company that plans better so that he isn't set up for failure. True truck drivers are professionals and are paid to be just that. They are also paid to follow the law and take pride in doing so. If they can't then they don't need to be in a truck. They should close their doors, sell their truck and work somewhere else. I have cut too many dead people out of vehicles to think these regulations aren't written in blood. I also know that the current state prior to ELD allows for a fudge factor and isn't really effective.There is no excuse to run over (HOS) as the dispatchers should have real time data of what the driver is doing and where they are at in terms of HOS. If the need is there someone will be glad to open up, follow the law and fill the void. A lot of oilfield operators are hungry for the work right now.

  19. 19. Doug Smith [ April 30, 2015 @ 07:50AM ]

    Dana lives in a world of bright colors and little people. Frank and Stanley offer a glimpse of real world effects of ELBs. Crash numbers will go up. Write that on a rock. Dispatchers won't have to be told not to harass drivers, the ELD box will do it all for them. If you don't want to fall a day behind, you'll whip your hoss to the finish line.

  20. 20. Brian [ May 12, 2015 @ 04:11PM ]

    Why can't these so called safety minded desk drivers enforce some old fashioned common sense, you get tired just pull over if u can find a safe place to park and go to sleep

  21. 21. Easter Plato [ March 31, 2016 @ 02:03PM ]

    Eobr's are also evidence of a lack of trust.  Having an impeccable service record and then being blindsided by the uber control inherent in eobr's, is a loud and clear put down.  This  lack of trust is a real feather ruffler.   
    Stephen Covey offers clear evidence of this truth regarding trust and it's importance, in quoting a business school study done over 10 years which found that for 1200 contracts written with outside suppliers, "those relationships which relied on trust as the primary driver, versus relying on the stringent....agreements written into the contracts, out performed the value of their contracts by 20 to 40 per cent" 
    Alan Greenspan said, "Rules cannot take the place of character"  "Though there is a movement to revitalize the ethics and spirit of free enterprise, attracting millions,"  says Patricia Aburdene, author of Megatrend, a  problem that has arisen now, is that ethics is now the focus rather than character, which is the basis of it all.  And the  solutions offered to revitalize business and society have mostly mandated blind compliance to any new or petty rule to come down the pike rather than rewarding personal integrity and character.


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