Regulations Put Trucking Industry in Peril
By Patrick Cavanaugh, Editor
The trucking industry, moving California agricultural crops from processors to distributors around the country, is facing many uphill challenges.
Tejinder Singh Mehta, also known as TJ, owns InTrade Industries based in Fresno. His company only focuses on a refrigerated fleet handling sensitive perishable commodities, and other refrigerated cargo from California, across the states, and also backhauls.
“The trucking industry is going through a lot of problems. The biggest problem that we are facing now is the extreme shortage of drivers, noted Mehta. “Even if we get drivers, they are not qualified enough to take the challenge, which includes safety regulations and timely deliveries. So that is the biggest issue right now
There is also AB5, which restricts independent contractors in California. “AB5 is affecting the trucking industry in a big way, because earlier small operators, could be hired by midsize fleet companies for outsourcing some freight jobs,” said Mehta. “Because if you have some business that needs to be taken care of, some contracts to be taken care of, you cannot hire independent contractors. They’re so hard to find. In the given situation, we cannot add on to more trucks on our own.”
“Because of the shortage of drivers, if we cannot hire independent contractors, it’s going to affect the industry in a big way,” he noted. “And since California has more trucks, it gets struck by these regulations, which can affect the whole nation in a big way.”
Another significant regulation is the Electronic Logging Device (ELD), which restricts drivers operating more than eight hours.
What happens is that a driver gets close to a destination, and his eight hours restrict any more driving time. The driver cannot continue for even 10 minutes or 15 minutes to go and deliver the load. “This is affecting the efficiency of the job. This is going to affect the actual time for the driver. This impacts the entire trucking industry across the nation, including shippers and receivers,” Mehta said.
Mehta said that the California trucking industry needs a good dialogue between the regulatory authorities, with the truckers at the table, and take on these problems head-on “before they snowball and paralyze the whole industry,” he said.