Bill seeks to lessen effect of regulations on small businesses

By David Tanner, Land Line senior editor | Monday, February 02, 2015

OOIDA has issued a Call-to-Action in support of a bill in Congress that would rein in the cumulative effects of regulations on small-businesses. The bill is HR527, the Small Business Regulatory Flexibility Improvements Act of 2015. It would require regulators to do a complete analysis on potential effects of their rules on small businesses.

Regulations, separately and together, add up to steep costs and disincentives for small-business truckers.

HR527 is not specifically a trucking bill, but it would certainly benefit small-business truckers and owner-operators, OOIDA Executive Vice President Todd Spencer says.

“Trucking may well be the best example of the need for this legislation,” Spencer told Land Line. “The overwhelming majority of trucking is small business, yet the many agencies that have regulatory over trucking seem oblivious of this fact!”

In a letter of support sent to lawmakers, Spencer points out that half of the 500,000 for-hire motor carriers are identified as one-truck owner-operator businesses and that 90 percent of all truck fleets in the U.S. are made up of 20 or fewer trucks.

“Given the nature of trucking, it is critical that any rulemaking action fully evaluate the impacts to small businesses,” he wrote.

“Unfortunately, the history of trucking-related regulations issued by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) and others is filled with examples where the small-business impacts of a proposal were not fully evaluated or that evaluation used improper methodology,” Spencer said.

“For instance, a study recently issued to form the basis for justifying and calculating the safety benefits for a regulation examined only eleven motor carriers. Of those carriers, nine possessed over 1,000 trucks while the remaining two operated between 100 and 500 trucks. This is hardly representative of the trucking industry.”

HR527 was introduced by U.S. Rep. Steve Chabot, R-Ohio, and seven co-sponsors on Jan. 27. Chabot is chairman of the House Small Business Committee, which approved the bill and sent it to the floor of the House of Representatives for vote.

The House is scheduled to take up the bill Thursday morning, Feb. 5.

OOIDA’s Call-to-Action urges truckers to call their lawmakers and ask for a “yes” vote on HR527.

OOIDA says many regulations are evaluated in isolation from other rulemakings – even those underway within a single agency – while ignoring the cumulative effect.

“No one is stopping to ask if all this regulatory action happening at the same time is having the wrong impact on highway safety and the environment,” Spencer wrote.

He says HR527 would make commonsense improvements to the regulatory process to ensure that regulators take the big picture into account.

“With these changes, the concerns of small-business truckers outlined above, along with others, will begin to be addressed,” Spencer stated. “We urge all members of Congress to support this legislation.”

Click here to read HR527 as it was introduced.

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