CTA’s request to provincial ministers

The Canadian Trucking Alliance (CTA) wrote to each provincial transportation minister, urgently requesting them to endorse the ELD mandate for provincially-regulated carriers.

In remembrance of the Humboldt Bronco bus crash on April 6, 2018 when sixteen people were killed and thirteen people injured due to a semi truck traveling 60 MPH who failed to yield at a flashing stop sign. In support with Transport Canada’s announcement last month regarding the rules covering federal regulated carriers. The CTA is requesting that all jurisdictions in Canada have ELD rules set for provincial carriers as well so that both federal and provincial carriers transition from paper-based compliance to an electronic one. 

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In the letter to each provincial transportation minister, the CTA wrote, “Non-compliant behaviour that leads to road safety risks knows no boundaries and certainly does not distinguish between provincially and federally regulated carriers when it comes to hours of service regulations,” the letter continues to say, “the events and timeframes in the days prior to the Humboldt collision would have been much more transparent under an ELD regime.  We must end the opportunities for this egregious and unsafe behaviour regardless of whether the trucking company crosses provincial/territorial boundaries or offers services within a jurisdiction.” 

The CTA president Stephen Laskowski stated that now is the time to make the compliance regulations more efficient and improve overall safety. Carriers should be in compliance no matter what territory they’re in or traveling to.

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FMCSA Survey on Harassment and Assault on Female Drivers

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) plans on administering a survey to better understand the harassment and assault of minority and female truck drivers. The agency stated it needs to better understand the, “prevalence, seriousness, and nature of the problem of harassment and assaults against minority and female truckers.” As well as why these crimes are underreported.

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The FMCSA currently doesn’t provide training to truckers on how to protect themselves from being stalked, harassed, assaulted or robbed. Before any preventative solution can be established the FMCSA must analyze all aspects of these crimes and ways drivers can protect themselves. 

The proposed study will require a maximum 440 female truck drivers and 440 minority truck drivers. The study will conduct a combination of in-person interviews and online surveys. Eligible participants must be a female or minority professional truck driver in the past two years. Eligible respondents who complete both the interview and survey will receive a $25 incentive.  

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Ellen Voie

President of Women in Trucking, Ellen Voie, said her members have been working with the FMCSA for the past 18 months. Voie told Transport topics, “You see lawsuits popping up every once in while, especially with trainers and trainees,” Voie added, “We want to know where is it happening, how often is it happening and what can we do to stop it.” Voie explained that because there’s a shortage of truck drivers by addressing these issues head on, could draw more truck drivers from these groups to alleviate the shortage. 

The FMCSA is currently seeking public comment ending on September 23.

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FMCSA Denies ELD Exemption For Small Carriers

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The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) denied the request from the Small Business in Transportation Coalition (SBTC) to exempt trucking companies with fewer than 50 employees from the electronic logging mandate. The SBTC also wanted owner operators to be exempt from the electronic logging mandate. 

SBTC stated in their request the ELD regulation “is merely a tool to determine compliance with an existing rule that regulates over-the-road drivers’ driving and on-duty time,” and concluded that the regulation isn’t for safety. 

The FMCSA denied the request as the application didn’t meet regulatory standards for an exemption. The application failed to provide “the name of the individual or motor

Source: https://www.fmcsa.dot.gov/regulations/notices/2019-15206

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Extended Comment Period For FMCSA Younger Driver Pilot Program

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) announced that they will be extending the comment period for the potential pilot program that would allow non-military 18-21 year old drivers to operate CMVs in interstate commerce.

The FMCSA stated the American Trucking Association (ATA) requested an extension to adequately gather safety data and other relevant information to fully address the present issues that will best aid the FMCSA.

The original comment period ended on July 15, with the extension, the comment period will now end August 14. The FMCSA is requesting feedback on the following:

  • Training
  • Qualifications
  • Driving limitations
  • Vehicle Safety Systems

All of which need to be taken into consideration when potentially developing a second pilot program for drivers under 21 without military experience. 

If you’d like to leave a comment, click here before the extended period ends on August 14. 

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New Bill will make it harder to get and keep a CDL

Today, July 19, Governor Charlie Baker of Massachusetts introduced a bill that if passed will significantly increased the requirements to obtain and maintain a commercial drivers license (CDL). 

The bill is called, “An Act To Promote Commercial Driver Safety,” which it’s primary focus is to increase CDL requirements in the state of Massachusetts. Following a crash last month when 23 year old Volodymyr Zhukovskyy drove through a group of motorcyclists killing seven of them. Governor Baker, in reaction to this accident, proposed this law to prevent accidents like this from happening again. 

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Apparently, Connecticut officials had warned Massachusetts Registry of Motor Vehicles multiple times of Zhukovskyy’s alcohol offences which should have resulted in the state revoking his CDL. However, Massachusetts officials failed to act on those warnings. Baker’s efforts are to reduce the chance of this happening again. 

Here are the measures that Baker proposes:

  • CDL applicants must have a history of good driving and are ineligible for a CDL if they have been suspended or disqualified from driving in the past three years.
  • CDL holders who commit two serious traffic violations in a three year period would face an increase in minimum suspension time from 60 days to 120 days.
  • CDL holders who commit three serious traffic violations in a three year period would face an increase in minimum suspension time from 120 days to 240 days.
  • CDL holders would be required to inform both employers and the Massachusetts Registry of Motor Vehicle the next day if they are convicted of violating any state or local motor vehicle traffic law. Failing to do so would result in a penalty.
  • Employers who hire CDL drivers would be required to sign up for a state driver verification system, which provides automatic notification to employers if and employee’s drivers license status changes.
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LME, Inc: Drivers laid off may wait months for a final paycheck

On July 11, 2019 LME Inc., a Minnesota based company, closed down without warning to their hundreds of employees. LME also said that their former employees should expect to wait months to see their final paychecks earned. 

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With no notice over 40 terminals were abruptly shut down and roughly 600 employees, mostly drivers, were laid off. In a message LME Inc sent to all employees, they stated, “Unfortunately our lender is in control of all finances. The lender must be paid all monies owed to the lender first before payment can be made to the employees. This process will take at least 90 days if not longer.” The former employees said this is because of the pay structure and they’re missing at least three weeks of pay. 

LME closed down shortly after an announcement that the company was ordered to pay over $1 million in back pay to 89 union workers laid off in 2016 by Lakeville Motor Express, which was the name LME previously operated under. In fact, Lakeville Motor Express filed bankruptcy just after they laid off 95 union workers without notice. According to past employees, they relocated, changed the name of their company and staffed LME with lower paid non-union employees from Lakeville Motor Express. 

The fleet is under investigation by the state of Minnesota and the National Labor Relations Board for allegedly reopening as Chameleon Carrier, or a different name, once again. In addition, LME didn’t file a WARN notice as required by law to provide workers 60 day notice of mass layoffs. 

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Union Pacific will fine truckers who are late or miss appointments

Union Pacific, the railroad company, will start issuing fines in September of 2019 to truck drivers and trucking companies who miss their intermodal deliveries at six of their west coast terminals. In addition, Union Pacific is also cracking down on the timely removal of containers by imposing new penalties to the drivers who fall short.

Earlier this month Union Pacific issued a customer announcement of their plans to increase efficiency by introducing and implementing a new digital Intermodal Terminal Reservation System (ITR). The ITR will be effective August 6, 2019 replacing their existing Gate Reservation System (GRS) at those six terminals.

The new system will fine drivers $25 for canceling a reservation less than 24 hours prior to the gate cutoff and fine $50 for missing an appointment. However, Union Pacific will also provide a $100 credit for on-time drop offs that don’t depart on the scheduled train. The credit can be used to offset any fines the driver may have inquired. 

The ITR system will be at the following terminals: East Los Angeles, LATC, City of Industry, Lathrop, Brooklyn, and TacSim. Fines will be issued to drivers in less than one month after the system goes into effect, on September 3, 2019. 

Union Pacific also plans to implement the ITR System at other U.S terminals in the future.

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Driver Involved in a Deadly Crash Tells Judge It Was Another Drivers Fault

On April 25, 23 year old truck driver Rogel Aguilera-Mederos caused a fatal chain reaction crash on I-70 near, Lakewood Colorado, involving 24 passenger vehicles and 4 semi trucks. The crash resulted in four fatalities and two people were seriously injured. 

Aguilera-Mederos appeared in Jefferson County Court, yesterday, in Colorado for a preliminary hearing on his role in the crash. Aguilera-Mederos defence attorney originally blamed the crash on faulty brakes. Then he later tried to blame another truck driver.

Rob Corry, Aguilera-Mederos attorney, stated during the hearing that another truck driver that was parked on the shoulder of I-70 is actually to blame for the accident. Corry continued to claim the other driver was to blame, “he parked his semi on the shoulder of the road, thereby blocking the safe route through this stop-and-go accident and really was the proximate cause of the accident but is not charged with any traffic offense and it’s illegal to park on the shoulder.” However, the counterargument stated that Aguilera-Mederos was seen traveling I-70 in similar traffic at least three times as he chose not to take the safe route before. 

Aguilera-Mederos is currently facing 41 charges, including vehicular homicide and remains free on bond. 

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Semi-Truck Caught Fire Severely Burning Driver

A semi truck caught fire late last night in Utah on I-80 near the town of Aragonite in Tooele County.

Investigators say the driver was pulled over off exit 56, and resting in the sleeper berth, when the engine of the truck caught fire. However, the underlying cause is still unknown to police. The driver was transporting plastic pallets, which cause the fire to spread rapidly. The cab was destroyed by the flames and most of the trailer was consumed. 

The driver, whose identity hasn’t been released, was transported by helicopter to the nearest hospital after sustaining life-threatening second-and third-degree burns.

According to the Utah Highway Patrol, the driver had to maneuver through the flames in order to escape the semi-truck.

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Truckers Warn of An Economic Downfall

The economy is healthy, in fact it seems to be thriving and while there are no signs of recession, this year has been bumpy for the $800 billion trucking industry. According to the Cass Freight Index, the past two years retailers and manufacturers are transporting less. 

In an interview with Business Insider, Christopher Powell claims that his pay has decreased from $3,500 to $5,000 a week. Powell isn’t the only driver suffering from decreased pay. In fact, large well known companies like Knight-Swift and Schneider both cut their annual outlooks. FedEz, UPS, and J.B Hunt have been affected too. UPS’s first-quarter bottom line was below last year’s revenue, including their earnings which were below what they expected. 

Many factors come to play, there was exceptionally bad weather in February and international airfreight sank to a three year low. In addition, the potential tariffs that were supposed to go into effect March 1st. Vice President of J.B Hunt stated that goods shipped is down 20%.

On the contrary, this is normal for the trucking industry to see fluctuation. Despite the fact that more companies are going bankrupt or downsizing, the trucking industry has generated almost 12,000 jobs in 2019. At this point only time will tell.

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