An Interstate Commerce Commission staff task force yesterday provided the agency with 39 recommendations for regulatory changes to make it easier and less expensive for the small businessman to enter the trucking industry.

The report does not contain sweeping proposals for major deregulation, but details a variety of steps the ICC could take - from simplifying the application process to exempting more commodities and services from ICC regulations.

The report was requested last month by chairman Daniel O'Neal, who said he wanted the agency to move on its own to reduce regulation of motor carriers rather than have it accomplished through legislation.

One of the principal staff recommendations to O'Neal was noted separately in the introduction to the report. In order to get as many good ideas for regulatory change as possible, the study recommends legislative-type hearings or local town meetings with "those who work in or are familiar with our national transportation system."

The report also recommends speeding up the process for review of unopposed applications, the consideration of cost and price evidence in applications where the rates to be charged do not appear to match the costs, the development of procedures to identify and deal with areas where there is inadequate competition or poor service, and the encouragement of price competition.

In a recent speech to lawyers who practice before the ICC, O'Neal said the commission "is waging war on bureaucratic lag and is determined to ensure that the imperative of due process for all does not get translated into red tape for many."

The task force report apparently is one of the first steps in O'Neal's "war."

In anticipation of future legislation to reduce trucking regulation, the Senate Commerce Committee last week authorized a study of the impact various modifications of the current regulatory system would have on small communities.

The $175,000 study awarded to Policy and Management Associates will profile 20 to 50 small communities, their trucking needs and services and hypothetical impact certain changes would have on their transportation system.