One of the most regulated industries in the United States is over-the-road trucking. Nearly anything you have in your house, from light bulbs, to toilet paper, to your flat-screen television, was delivered to where you bought it by truck – indeed, 70 percent of all goods travel by truck. And every year, more regulations are piled on top of one of the key industries for the American economy.
In a “dispatch from the road” from AJC, Western HiWays Trucking Safety Director Doug Grove said he recently spent two weeks dealing with a paperwork foul-up between different regulatory agencies:
This is where it’s really messed up because it had to go to Washington to get straightened out. … That was a hectic two weeks.
The extra paperwork and nearly $10,500-per-employee compliance costs are far from the only regulatory hurdles Western HiWays and other companies have to overcome in order to compete. Regulations which are often written by people with no idea of the realities of the road — not one sitting congressman has ever been an OTR truck driver — are often impractical at best.
AJC noted the Obama administration has 4,225 new federal regulations in the pipeline, 219 of which carry an annual cost of $100 million or more. All of which will fall most heavily on the small businesses least equipped to handle them – and, just as damaging, on consumers. Businesses are forced to pass on compliance costs, and they generally add a small “fudge factor” to make sure they’ve covered all costs.