Latest Industry News Brief Courtesy of PMTA
ATA Thanks Department of Transportation for Acting to Ease Burdens on Drivers - Industry Appreciates New Guidance to Truckers on Impacts of COVID-19
Arlington, VA… The American Trucking Associations thanked the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration and the Department of Transportation for issuing a temporary waiver for some commercial vehicle drivers to address disruptions in licensing and other requirements as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“While America’s truck drivers are out delivering the essential medical supplies, food and other goods we need to combat this virus, FMCSA has taken an important step to let drivers and carriers know how to address things like expired commercial drivers’ licenses or medical cards,” said ATA Vice President of Safety Policy Dan Horvath. “With state governments moving to remote work and shuttering offices, drivers will need assistance to continue moving critical goods safely and today’s guidance is a step toward ensuring those trucks keep moving.”
The announcement includes a “Notice of Enforcement Policy” and “Waiver” regarding expiring driver’s licenses and medical examiner’s certificates – for drivers who had current credentials as of March 1 – allowing FMCSA to exercise its enforcement discretion to not take enforcement action in certain cases when a commercial learners’ permit, CDL or Medical Certificate is expired. This is not a blanket exemption from the CLP, CDL and/or Medical Certificate requirements, and drivers and carriers should review the details of the waiver to ensure their operations qualify.
“ATA will remain in close contact with FMCSA and other agencies to address other issues, such as availability of drug and alcohol testing for new drivers, as they arise,” Horvath said. “We share FMCSA’s goal of ensuring not only that our hospitals and markets are well-supplied, but that our highways are safe and we will continue to work with them to achieve both goals during this crisis.”
ATA Truck Tonnage Index Rose 1.8% in February Index 2.6% Higher than February 2019
Arlington, VA… American Trucking Associations’ advanced seasonally adjusted (SA) For-Hire Truck Tonnage Index rose 1.8% in February after falling 0.3% in January. In February, the index equaled 119.1 (2015=100) compared with 116.9 in January.
“Before any impacts from COVID-19, truck tonnage had a solid month in February,” said ATA Chief Economist Bob Costello. “Last month, solid housing starts, high levels of retail sales, and even a modest improvement in manufacturing activity all helped freight volumes.
“With truck tonnage up nicely from a year earlier in February, the trucking industry was in a fairly good place before economic impacts hit from the health crisis. Trucking volumes, early in the COVID-19 emergency, will be positive for consumer staples and other commodities before we see a slowdown as the economy contracts in the second quarter,” he said.
ATA recently revised January’s index down from the initial reading in our press release on February 18, 2020.
Compared with February 2019, the SA index rose 2.6%, which was preceded by a 0.4% year-over-year gain in January. During the first two months of the year, the index rose 1.5% compared with the same two months last year. In 2019, the index was 3.3% above 2018.
The not seasonally adjusted index, which represents the change in tonnage actually hauled by the fleets before any seasonal adjustment, equaled 108.2 in February, 5.2% below the January level (114.1). In calculating the index, 100 represents 2015.
Trucking serves as a barometer of the U.S. economy, representing 71.4% of tonnage carried by all modes of domestic freight transportation, including manufactured and retail goods. Trucks hauled 11.49 billion tons of freight in 2018. Motor carriers collected $796.7 billion, or 80.3% of total revenue earned by all transport modes.
ATA calculates the tonnage index based on surveys from its membership and has been doing so since the 1970s. This is a preliminary figure and subject to change in the final report issued around the 5th day of each month. The report includes month-to-month and year-over-year results, relevant economic comparisons, and key financial indicators.
Business and Community Leaders Urge FHWA to Keep Off-Highway Food Open for Truck Drivers
Alexandria, VA… A coalition of groups representing cities and communities across America, tens of thousands of off-highway foodservice businesses including truck stops and travel centers, and blind merchants that manage vending machines at Interstate rest areas, urged the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) to help keep off-highway food establishments open for truck drivers.
Off-highway restaurants and foodservice operations are struggling to remain open, with sales generally down 50 percent or more. If these businesses are unable to remain open, it will exacerbate the trucking community's concerns with respect to convenient access to food options as they heroically deliver essential supplies during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The coalition acknowledged FHWA’s recent decision to temporarily not enforce the longstanding ban on commercial activities at Interstate rest areas with respect to food trucks. FHWA has said this decision will only remain in place during the Presidentially declared emergency in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. The coalition did not ask the FHWA to withdraw the non-enforcement notice, but did urge that food trucks operate at rest areas where there are no other nearby options for truck drivers.
“Although some state rest areas have closed during the pandemic, private trucktop and travel plazas remain open and are committed to serving truck drivers,” said Lisa Mullings, President and CEO of NATSO. “If there are places where truck drivers are finding it difficult to find something to eat, we don’t oppose food trucks at rest areas. This is a national emergency, and we need to explore unconventional solutions. But if food trucks at a rest area hurt local businesses that are already struggling to remain open, professional drivers ultimately will have even more difficulty finding places to eat. They will have fewer food choices if these businesses close, and they will struggle to find showers and parking, too.”
“Blind merchants, many of whose sole source of income is through vending machines at rest areas, are struggling to remain afloat,” said Nicholas Gacos, President, National Association of Blind Merchants. “We strongly urge federal, state, and local government officials to keep this in mind as they consider the advisability of permitting food trucks to compete with us at Interstate rest areas.”
The coalition members said that they would like to be collaborative partners with FHWA so that off-highway businesses can remain open during the pandemic and continue serving millions of truck drivers every week. The best way to ensure this can occur, the coalition wrote, is to help those businesses survive and stay open during this pandemic.
The coalition includes the National Restaurant Association, the International Franchise Association, the National League of Cities, the National Association of Convenience Stores, and the National Federation of the Blind, the National Automatic Merchandising Association; National Franchisee Association; National Retail Federation; Petroleum Marketers Association of America; and the Society of Independent Gasoline Marketers of America.
Enforcement on Emissions Tampering Beginning to Show Results
The Government of Ontario’s focus on tackling the use of delete kits and emissions tampering in heavy-duty trucks, as well as those who install, manufacture and sell tampering devices is showing results. The Ministry of Environment, Conservation and Parks’ (MECP) enforcement efforts are yielding a number of charges and convictions, illustrating the growing issue of emissions tampering within the province.
Between January 1, 2019 and December 31, 2019, the MECP issued repair orders for over 200 trucks to have deficiencies corrected in their emissions systems. The average repair value of these actions is estimated at over $12,000 per vehicle, or a total repair bill of over $2.23 million.
From April 1, 2019 to December 31, 2019, when new legislation for tackling emissions tampering and the use of delete kits was announced by the province, enforcement of regulations regarding tampering led to the following actions by MECP enforcement:
•Over 2500 vehicles/operators assessed for environmental compliance;
•The issuing of 620 tickets for vehicle emissions contraventions in Ontario;
•Conviction of two individuals under Part III of the Provincial Offences Act with fines of $5000 and $20,000, with one additional inspection referred for investigation;
•Completion of 12 fleet inspections and 16 garage inspections, with MECP in the process of assessing fleet/site compliance;
•Over 150 inspections on heavy-duty vehicles with an out-of-province licence plate. Nearly 60 per cent of these trucks were found to be non-compliant and subject to fines, abatement or other enforcement action.
“MECP is doing a fantastic job with their current resources and enforcement mechanisms. We look forward to seeing the results of additional efforts to ensure we have clean air and fair competition in the province,” says Ontario Trucking Association chair David Carruth. “Many carriers are bearing the cost of maintaining emission control equipment that is making the air we breathe better for all Ontarians. OTA congratulates Minister Yurek and Minister Mulroney for their environmental stewardship and ensuring environmental non-compliance has real consequences.”
To further aid in identifying emissions tampering in Ontario, MECP has also announced the introduction of a public reporting function for polluting vehicles. If a smoking vehicle is observed, a report can be filled out here, or you can notify the Emissions Test Contact Centre by calling 1-888-758-2999. A reporting form for businesses/technicians or garages that are suspected of vehicle tampering will be available in the coming weeks.
“OTA encourages the industry to utilize this newly-developed method to target government enforcement on garages and carriers engaged in the practice of delete kits,” added Carruth. “Targeted enforcement can be swift and efficient if the compliant industry bands together to highlight those who need to be reminded that environmental compliance is not a business option, but a requirement.”
Last year, MECP and the Ministry of Transportation (MTO) announced the development of a newly enhanced emissions testing program targeting commercial trucks that are non-compliant with environmental regulations, and integrating the new program with the existing annual safety Motor Vehicle Inspection Station program in 2021.
MECP is also in the process of transferring responsibility for vehicle emission inspections and enforcement to the MTO for the future integrated program, drastically increasing its enforcement capabilities with hundreds of officers being trained to identify emissions tampering in the future.
“The Government of Ontario is taking meaningful action to improve air quality and reduce environmental non-compliance in our sector,” said OTA’s director of Policy, Lak Shoan. “We look forward to working with MECP and MTO on introducing regulations to further prohibit tampering and increase the scope of enforcement.”
Canadian Third-Party Certification for ELDs Expected Soon
There has been a lot of action behind the scenes to get the ELD regime ready for primetime since Federal Transport Minister Marc Garneau’s announcement this past June that Canada is on pace toward introducing third-party certified electronic logging devices (ELD).
The industry caught a glimpse of the progress in late February when Transport Canada issued a note to ELD suppliers signaling the logistics of the certification regime is close to being completed and a final review of the ELD test plan will wrap up in a few weeks. This morning, additional information was posted by Transport Canada to its website with respect to general ELD information, the accreditation process for certification bodies and what ELD manufacturers / suppliers need to know at this stage.
The Gazette II notice issued by Transport Canada laid out a 12 month-time frame for addressing the complex certification process and then another 12-months for the rollout of the certified ELD software.
A preliminary draft of the test procedures was circulated immediately following the June announcement to a number of ELD suppliers who have been involved in the Canadian regulatory development since day-one and the most recent document sent to a wider group outlines detailed step-by-step testing requirements by which certification bodies will test devices and verify compliance with the ELD technical standard. The consultation package will also include suggested testing protocols (simulation, benchtop, in-vehicle, etc).
“The Canadian Trucking Alliance welcomes the news that Transport Canada is getting closer to opening up the certification process and sending a message to the industry that we are making progress and moving forward,” said CTA’s Senior VP, Policy Geoff Wood.
While governments have been hard at work on the technical standard, CTA has been working with the ELD supplier community on a communication strategy to promote early preparedness of the ELD mandate so ELD vendors can reassure carriers they will be ready with approved equipment and technical support. The focus of this strategy is that carriers work with their ELD vendors to secure a commitment stating the suppliers fully intend to have their ELD product offerings in Canada third-party certified to the Canadian regime. The commitment is key for carriers to understand their ELD suppliers will support them as the industry transitions to this important technology.
“By working with ELD suppliers that are committed to the Canadian process, carriers don’t need to wait until the last minute to address electronic HOS compliance,” said Wood. “They can begin working with suppliers now to install equipment, which can be updated when the hours-of-service software is certified, and begin training their staff to raise awareness with their shipping customers on the impact ELDs will have on the supply chain.”
Once the ELD rule goes into effect across Canada in June of 2021, only devices certified and subsequently listed on TC’s website will be deemed compliant for use by federally-regulated motor carriers and their drivers in Canada.
The government also delivered on another CTA request by establishing a Certification Stakeholder Advisory Committee to ensure the technical standard can be reviewed on an evergreen basis to keep pace with the ever-changing world of electronics and to ensure any future non-compliant ELD designs are addressed. This group will provide an open and transparent venue for stakeholders to provide input to the certification regime.
An article published in the Commercial Carrier Journal (CCJ) over the summer highlighted the impact the third-party mandate in Canada will have on ELD suppliers and potential issues that could test the credibility of some self-certified ELDs in the U.S.
“The FMCSA registry currently has 430 devices listed. Each is “self-certified” by the developer to be in compliance with the specifications of the ELD rule. Some ELD providers have registered multiple devices to meet the different needs in segments of the trucking industry, from fleets to owner-operators. At present, the market share of ELD providers in the United States is primarily concentrated among 14 companies,” the article stated.
Meanwhile, a lawsuit in the U.S. is shining a light on ELDs that can be manipulated to sidestep hours-of service rules – a development which could further magnify the self-certifying regime in the U.S. as well as the importance of third-party certification in Canada. The lawsuit filed by a Tennessee trucker accuses shipping giant Amazon and one of its freight partners of ‘coercing’ him into exceeding hours of service rules. The driver claims the company would by “routinely edit” his ELD to make it look like he was operating within hours of service regulations.
With TC’s ELD weblink now live there will be a single source location for all developments on the transition to ELDs in Canada. The next phase of the website will include information for motor carriers, drivers, enforcement and generally people involved in cross-border transportation. The tables with the registry of accredited certification bodies and listing of certified ELDs are there as place markers for now and will be populated as information becomes available.
CTA Releases COVID-19 Resource Document for Carriers – Version 2.0
The Canadian Trucking Alliance released a sequel to its March 2020 COVID-19 tip sheet, resource document for carriers.
Included in the updated version of the valued resources document is new information on the designation of essentials services, copies of essential services documentation letters for employees, information on interacting with enforcement personnel, along with tips and best practices for the workplace and crossing the border.
“These are trying times for companies, and we know it can often be difficult to find the information you’re looking for. We’ve tried to consolidate much of the information carriers are asking for into an updated, single document to make it easier on our members to get the information they need,” said Jonathan Blackham, Director of Policy and Public Affairs for CTA.
The CTA document also includes information and links to government agency resources and guidance, including the CCOHS, Transport Canada, ESDC, CCMTA, Trucking HR Canada, among others.
CTA will continue to update the document as more information becomes available and the situation with the COVID-19 crisis evolves. You can access the document here: CTA-ResourceDoc-TruckingIndustryV2_public
CTA Supports ECCC’s Informed Policy Discussion on GHG Trailer Rule
Environment and Climate Change Canada (ECCC) informed the Canadian Trucking Alliance (CTA) it is proceeding with a policy to further delay the implementation of the trailer standards in Canada for up to one year. The development, which comes in the form of a second Interim Order Modifying the Operation of the Heavy-duty Vehicle and Engine Greenhouse Gas Emission Regulations (Trailer Standards), will continue to push the implementation date in Canada while the U.S. continues to leave its own rule on hold.
The trucking industry is the only freight mode mandated to use equipment regulated for both carbon reductions and air quality improvements. Phase II of the Environment Climate Change Canada’s GHG regulations for trailers, which mirror those of the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), introduced new requirements for heavy-duty trailers in North America. The regulations were supported by both the CTA and the American Trucking Association (ATA). However, after both rules were introduced, legal challenges in the U.S. specific to the trailer rule and compliance period put the rule in the U.S. on hold. It continues to be suspended in 2020.
As a result of the US legal issues and questions surrounding the integration of manufacturing practices for North American trailer makers, CTA requested ECCC re-examine the specifics of the Canadian trailer rule in light of the U.S. delay and its impact on the Canadian industry and timelines for compliance. Both the Canadian trucking and trailer manufacturing community supported the call. After reviewing the situation, ECCC informed stakeholders it would issue interim order delaying implementation and compliance requirements in Canada until May 2020 so that further analysis could be undertaken. ECCC’s latest decision effectively expands the delay for up to a year while the department continues to review the situation.
“The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (U.S. EPA) trailer standards continue to be legally stayed, and ECCC continues to monitor U.S. developments, as well as the economic impacts if Canada proceeded to implement the trailer standards without the standards of the U.S. EPA being in force. The purpose of the second Interim Order is to provide time to conduct further analysis on the economic impacts of implementing trailer standards in Canada to inform a future decision on whether Canada should maintain or amend its trailer standards. This will also allow time to consult with stakeholders on the path forward for Canada. As such, the Department intends to reach out to stakeholders this spring to present its initial analysis of economic trends in Canada’s trailer market, as well as seek comments on the next steps for trailer standards in Canada.
An invitation to participate in these consultations will be sent to interested parties at a later time… This has allowed the Department time to begin assessing the concerns from Canada’s trailer industry on potential adverse economic impacts if Canada proceeded to implement the trailer standards without the standards of the U.S. EPA being in force. It is expected that the second Interim Order will be made before May 27, 2020, to avoid a regulatory gap, and will be published in the Canada Gazette this spring. Note that the Interim Order will not affect any provisions related to the vehicle and engine standards of the Regulations.”
CTA will continue to work with ECCC and its membership through this process and keep the industry informed.
CVSA Postpones International Roadcheck
Every year, the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance (CVSA) sets inspection and enforcement initiatives, such as International Roadcheck, which is scheduled for May 5-7. However, with public health and safety as its top concern, CVSA has decided to postpone International Roadcheck to later in the year. The Alliance will monitor the status of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic and appropriately select the new dates when it’s safe and reasonable to do so. Once the rescheduled dates have been selected, CVSA will notify the commercial motor vehicle enforcement community, the motor carrier industry, the press and the public.
It is important to note that International Roadcheck, as a high-visibility, high-volume inspection and regulatory enforcement event, will no longer take place on May 5-7; however, roadside safety inspections and traffic enforcement will continue to be conducted every day, with enforcement personnel following their departmental health and safety policies and procedures, as appropriate.
“As we urgently respond to this time-sensitive crisis, we must remain diligent and committed to ensuring that the commercial motor vehicles and drivers providing essential goods and services to our communities are following motor carrier safety regulations,” said CVSA President Sgt. John Samis with the Delaware State Police. “Safety doesn’t take a break. It is always our top priority.”
“International Roadcheck has run on-schedule for the past 32 years so its postponement was thoroughly and thoughtfully discussed before we made this decision, but it wasn’t a difficult decision to make,” said Sgt. Samis. “This experience is unprecedented in our modern society and we need to do all that we can to help stop the spread of this global pandemic.”
At this time, International Roadcheck is the only public enforcement initiative that has been postponed. Operation Safe Driver Week is still scheduled for July 12-18 and Brake Safety Week is still set for Aug. 23-29.
CVSA will closely monitor the coronavirus outbreak, follow guidance from public health expert leadership, and promptly notify the membership and industry stakeholders of the rescheduled International Roadcheck dates and the status of future scheduled enforcement campaigns.
For up-to-date information on coronavirus and guidance on this rapidly evolving situation, visit the website for the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. For Canada, visit the Public Health Agency of Canada’s website. In Mexico, visit the government of Mexico’s website. Visit the World Health Organization’s websitefor a worldwide update on the coronavirus pandemic.
For more information or if you have any questions, contact CVSA.
Drivewyze Expands Rest Area Alerts: Helps Truckers in Florida Find Open Areas To Park
DALLAS, TX… With Florida joining Pennsylvania in suspending parking at select rest areas, Drivewyze has announced it is providing “open and closed” alerts for Florida’s 65 rest areas and “welcome centers.” The Florida alerts were activated last week, joining Pennsylvania rest area alerts that went live on March 24. Drivewyze Safety Notification alerts are available and free to carriers subscribed to the Drivewyze PreClear weigh station bypass service.
“Working with the support of the Florida Department of Transportation, we want truckers to know which areas are open and which are closed – five out the state’s 65 rest areas are currently not open to truck parking,” said Brian Heath, CEO of Drivewyze. “What’s happening with states and rest areas is a very fluid situation due to COVID-19. We wanted to do our part, so we volunteered our help in alerting drivers to what’s open and what’s closed, so they can plan accordingly. Driver safety and safe parking options is critical to truckers – they’re our No. 1 asset in the supply chain. They need all our support.”
The rest area notifications will be displayed for the duration of COVID-19 emergency, so long as rest area parking is limited. The notification format is familiar to drivers already receiving similar Drivewyze safety notifications. As in Pennsylvania, notifications in Florida will be sent at strategic locations along the route – around 25 miles out, then again at roughly 5 miles out.
Both the Drivewyze PreClear weigh station bypass application, and the Drivewyze Safety Notifications service, are available to carriers on supported ELDs and other in-cab devices, through the Drivewyze partner network (https://drivewyze.com/drivewyze-on-your-eld/). Subscribers interested in deploying the Drivewyze Safety Notifications Service, including Florida and Pennsylvania rest area alerts, should contact their ELD or in-cab device provider, or their DrivewyzeCustomer Success Manager.
Drivewyze Inc. is the leader in connected truck services and is on a mission to revolutionize transportation safety and efficiency. Drivewyze serves commercial drivers and fleets with innovative trucking services such as the Drivewyze PreClearbypass service, the Drivewyze Analytics Weigh Station Loss Reporting service, and Drivewyze Safety Notifications. Drivewyzewas recognized by Frost & Sullivan with the North American Weigh Station Bypass Company of the Year Award for 2017, for its best practices and industry leadership. To learn more about Drivewyze, visit www.drivewyze.com.
Federal Highway Administration Issues Notice Allowing for States to Permit the use of Food Trucks in Rest Areas to Serve Commercial Truck Drivers
WASHINGTON… The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) recently issued a notice to State Departments of Transportation that the agency is suspending enforcement measures under the Federal-aid Highway Program for States that choose to permit commercial food trucks to operate and sell food, in accordance with state laws, in designated federally funded Interstate Highway rest areas.
“America’s commercial truck drivers are working day and night during this pandemic to ensure critical relief supplies are being delivered to our communities,” said FHWA Administrator Nicole R. Nason. “I am grateful to our state transportation partners for bringing this idea to the Department and for their leadership in thinking outside the box. It is critical to make sure truck drivers continue to have access to food services while they’re on the job serving our nation during these challenging times.”
By statute, commercial activity in the federally funded Interstate right-of-way is prohibited with limited exceptions. The FHWA Administrator has the discretion to take any action deemed appropriate to bring a State into compliance with these federal requirements. However, given the extreme and unprecedented nature of the COVID-19 pandemic, Administrator Nason is choosing not to take remedial measures against States that allow food trucks to provided food in rest areas off the federally funded Interstate right-of-way for the duration of the national emergency declared by the President in response to the COVID-19 public health crisis.
Since these actions are temporary, States must come back into compliance with federal law once the Presidentially-declared emergency ends. Any States that do not come back into compliance after the emergency is over may be subject to remedial measures designed to achieve compliance.
Notice of Enforcement Discretion
Operation of Commercial Food Trucks in Federally Funded Interstate Highway Rest Areas
During the Public Health Emergency (COVID-19)
U.S. Department of Transportation
Federal Highway Administration
As a general matter, Federal law, codified at 23 U.S.C. 111, prohibits commercial activity in Interstate Highway rest areas as a condition of Federal funding. Nevertheless, in administering the Federal-aid highway funding program, the FHWA Administrator is given wide discretion under 23 CFR 1.36 to enforce the requirements of section 111 through compliance actions that the Administrator determines are appropriate under the circumstances.
The Nation is experiencing extraordinary and unprecedented circumstances due to the current COVID-19 national public health emergency, in which States have been forced to close restaurants and other available food service accommodations, including in Interstate Highway rest areas. FHWA recognizes that in those States food trucks may provide vital sustenance for interstate commercial truck drivers and others who are critical to the Nation's continued ability to deliver needed food and relief supplies to the communities impacted by the economic disruptions and healthcare strains caused by COVID-19. FHWA also recognizes that in such circumstances, vending machines may not be adequate to provide the necessary sustenance, and in many cases the vending machines may not be regularly stocked at the present time.
Accordingly, for the duration of the national emergency declared by the President on March 13, 2020, in response to the COVID-19 public health emergency, if a State determines that permitting food trucks to operate and sell food in any designated federally funded Interstate Highway rest areas is necessary to support interstate commercial truck drivers, FHWA will refrain from taking any remedial action under the Federal-aid highway program against that State. States must come back into compliance with the applicable restrictions of section 111 once the presidentially declared emergency ends. Any State that fails to come back into compliance after the end of the declared national emergency will be subject to potential remedial measures. Additionally, in accordance with 23 U.S.C. 156(b), for the limited purpose of permitting food trucks to operate as described in this notice, FHWA grants an exception during the COVID-19 emergency to the requirement to charge fair market value for the sale, use, lease, or lease renewal of any real property acquired with Federal assistance.
This notice does not affect any other Federal, State, or local requirements that apply to food trucks, and it does not authorize food trucks to operate in violation of Federal, State, or local requirements, including any State and local orders responding to the COVID-19 public health emergency.
These provisions shall remain in effect until the Emergency Declaration ends.
Legal Waivers Help Keep Commercial Drivers On Road
SALEM , OR… The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration and Oregon DMV have taken steps to help keep the holders of commercial driver licenses (CDL) and commercial learner permits (CLP) on the road during the COVID-19 response.
DMV is continuing to provide CLP knowledge tests and first-time CDL issuances by appointment only at six offices across Oregon.
•All Oregon CDLs expiring between March 1, 2020, and June 29, 2020, now expire on June 30, 2020.
•All Oregon commercial learner permits (CLPs) expiring between March 1, 2020, and June 29, 2020, now expire on June 30, 2020.
•All Oregon CLP holders are eligible to take the CDL skills test without regard to the 14-day waiting period.
•All Oregon CDL holders and CLP holders whose medical certification expired on or after March 1, 2020, retain medical qualification until June 30, 2020, if the medical examiner certificate was issued for 90 days or more.
FMCSA waiver in Oregon:
•DMV will not cancel commercial driving privileges for expired medical examiner certificates, if the medical examiner certificate was valid on or after March 1, 2020, for a period in excess of 90 days.
•DMV will grant an additional 90-day grace period before cancelling commercial driving privileges for expiring security background checks for hazmat endorsement holders. This reflects guidance from FMCSA and the Transportation Security Administration (TSA).
Scheduling an appointment at DMV:
CLP holders and new applicants may schedule an appointment for a knowledge test or commercial driver license issuance by calling their local DMV office phone number, 503-299-9999 in the Portland area, or 503-945-5000 elsewhere.
Offices open for CDL appointments:
•Southeast Portland (8710 SE Powell Blvd.)
Scheduling CDL drive tests:
To schedule a CDL drive test, you must use a private third-party CDL tester business.
How to schedule a CDL drive test: https://www.oregon.gov/odot/DMV/Pages/Driverid/3rdpartytest.aspx.
The FMCSA granted a waiver of some CDL requirements of 49 U.S. Code §31315(d).
For more information: (503) 373-0000, option 1 for information about over-dimension loads; (503) 378-6699 for information about registration services.
ODOT Rest Areas Open Statewide
SALEM, OR… ODOT rest areas along the interstates and state highways remain open during the COVID-19 public health emergency.
“We have no plans to close the rest areas as long as we have the staff and cleaning supplies,” said Vivian Payne, ODOT Interim Maintenance and Operations Branch Manager.
But Payne said the public has a key role in ensuring the rest areas will not be infection points for the virus.
“Everyone plays an important role in limiting its spread by keeping their distance and practicing good hygiene,” she said.
Rest areas managed by the Oregon Travel Information Council or funded by ODOT will remain open, including the Interstate 5 Rest Stop at Canyonville, managed by the Cow Creek Band of Umpqua Tribe of Indians.
Cleaning of most rest areas has been doubled, and signs have been added warning those using the facilities to keep at least six feet apart at all times.
The I-5 Siskiyou Rest Area south of Ashland remains open to all northbound traffic, except commercial trucks. The Siskiyou Welcome Center, managed by Travel Oregon, closed last Friday, March 20 due to concerns over the virus and public safety.
All state parks are closed at least until May 8, but the rest area portion of a state park will remain open, according to Oregon State Parks and Recreation spokesman Chris Havel. Barricades will separate a state park’s open rest area from the closed recreation area.
ODOT reminds travelers that the best choice is to not use the rest areas at all, but avoid unnecessary travel. Governor Kate Brown’s Executive Order says to “Stay Home, Save Lives”.
The location of all Oregon rest areas can be found at Tripcheck.com.
America’s Truckers Urge Congress To Show Support With Action, Not Just Words, Once COVID-19 Crisis Is Over - Changes In Trucking Industry Policies Are Needed Now
Washington DC… Thanks to America’s truck drivers and their willingness to risk infection from COVID-19, store shelves remain filled and critical supplies continue to get moved across our nation’s highways. But after this phase of the crisis is over and recovery begins, truckers will still have the same challenges with overregulation, working conditions and pay. The Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association sent a letter to Congress today, outlining issues for top priority moving forward.
“Without any sort of work-from-home option, truckers are manning the front lines of the industry as they always have done,” said Todd Spencer, OOIDA President and CEO. “They certainly welcome the public praise from all who have noticed their role in the pandemic response. But they will need more than words to stay afloat in an uncertain future.”
OOIDA is asking Congress to prioritize the following:
•H.R. 6104, the Truck Parking Safety Improvement Act, should be passed to address the shortage of parking for trucks. This bipartisan legislation would provide dedicated funding for projects that expand truck parking capacity.
•Congress must support the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s (FMCSA) efforts to modernize and improve hours-of-service (HOS) regulations. Truckers shouldn’t just get temporary relief when the nation needs their help responding to an emergency.
•Congress must take steps to address the persistent problem of excessive detention time, which reduces driver wages, slows the movement of freight and has been linked to increased crash rates. Many drivers spend countless unpaid on-duty hours being detained due to the inefficiency of others within the supply chain.
•Congress must repeal the overtime exemption for employee drivers in the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). The average truck driver works 60-70 hours per week, which is rarely, if ever, reflected in their compensation.
•Congress must waive the 2020 payment of the Heavy Vehicle Use Tax (HVUT) to provide immediate tax relief to owner-operators, many of which are struggling to keep their businesses operational during and after the crisis.
“These aren’t necessarily the only issues in trucking that need to change to bring improvements,” added Spencer. “But memes and applause don’t pay bills or reduce the overregulation that keep them from making a living. These are things that Congress can move quickly on to help truck drivers.”
The Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association is the largest national trade association representing the interests of small-business trucking professionals and professional truck drivers. The Association currently has more than 160,000 members nationwide. OOIDA was established in 1973 and is headquartered in the greater Kansas City, Mo. area.
OOIDA Thanks Federal Highway Administration For Temporary Change To Food Truck Policy For Rest Areas - Truck Drivers Need To Eat While On The Road
Washington DC… The Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association thanks the Federal Highway Administration for temporarily allowing states to permit the use of food trucks in rest areas until the national emergency declaration ends. This decision was made to solve one of the major problems truck drivers are facing because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
OOIDA strongly supports this change because many restaurants, travel centers and truck stops have closed entirely, reduced hours of operations, restricted access to drive-thru or implemented other limitations that hamper the ability of drivers to find meals.
“Truckers are risking their lives to deliver critical supplies. The agency’s response is totally appropriate and without question the right thing to do,” said Todd Spencer, OOIDA President and CEO.
PA Turnpike Temporarily Will Not Accept Cash To Safeguard Employee and Traveler Health
HARRISBURG, PA… The Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission (PTC) is alerting motorists that cash will not be accepted at any interchange statewide. This is a temporary safety measure to keep travelers moving with no need to stop at tollbooths or interact with tolling personnel during the COVID-19 pandemic.
During this time, cash and credit cards will not be accepted anywhere on the PA Turnpike’s ticket system. All tolls will be assessed electronically via E-ZPass or the PA Turnpike TOLL BY PLATE program as vehicles travel at posted speed limits through tolling points.
“This temporary measure is critical to enable us to support the Commonwealth in its efforts to mitigate the spread of COVID-19,” said PA Turnpike CEO Mark Compton. “I want to be clear that we will return to normal toll-collection operations as soon as it becomes practical.”
Customers who do not have an E-ZPass account should continue to use lanes marked “Tickets” on entry and “Cash” on exit, however they should keep moving through the lane at the posted speed without stopping. Instead of paying their toll on the roadway, they will receive a PA Turnpike TOLL BY PLATE invoice through the mail.
With the PA Turnpike TOLL BY PLATE option, high-speed cameras capture license-plate images as vehicles pass by. The registered owner receives an invoice within 30 days for trips made through the tolling point. Invoices can be paid online, by phone or by mail.
Customers who receive a TOLL BY PLATE invoice will be charged the “cash” toll rate. However, when paying their invoice, they will have the option to open an E-ZPass account to receive the discounted rate at time of payment.
Customers have 20 days to pay invoices before a second invoice is issued. If the first invoice is not paid, the second invoice will include an additional fee of $5 or the equivalent of 1.5% of the total amount owed, whichever is higher.
Cash tolls will still be in place on the Mon-Fayette Expressway (PA Turnpike 43) via the current Automated Payment Machines.
All customers should be prepared for possible confusion around the toll plaza areas as drivers adjust to the temporary measure. Drivers should slow down when approaching a tolling point or interchange, pay attention and proceed with caution.
For more information on how all-electronic tolling works, visit nocashzone.com.
For other service plaza locations and amenities, visit https://www.paturnpike.com/pdfs/travel/PTC_Service_Plaza_Guide.pdf.
For more information on operational changes due to further COVID-19 guidance, visit PATurnpike.com.
PennDOT announces exemptions for certain weight restrictions in response to COVID-19
Pursuant to the Proclamation of Disaster Emergency issued by the Governor on March 6, 2020, and 75 Pa. C. S. §6108, the waivers in this exemption apply to certain motor carriers engaged in operations necessary to respond to the disaster emergency declared by the Governor.
The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation hereby issues the following exemption:
TYPE OF OPERATION: Commercial motor vehicle operations providing direct assistance in support of emergency relief efforts related to the COVID-19 outbreaks, including transportation to meet immediate needs for: (1) medical supplies and equipment related to the testing, diagnosis and treatment of COVID-19; (2) supplies and equipment necessary for community safety, sanitation, and prevention of community transmission of COVID-19 such as masks, gloves, hand sanitizer, soap and disinfectants; (3) food, paper products and other groceries for emergency restocking of distribution centers or stores; (4) immediate precursor raw materials-such as paper, plastic or alcohol-that are required and to be used for the manufacture of items in categories (1), (2) or (3); (5) fuel; and, (6) equipment and supplies necessary to establish and manage temporary housing, quarantine, and isolation facilities related to COVID-19.
Direct assistance does not include routine commercial deliveries including mixed loads with a nominal quantity of the above referenced goods and materials to obtain the benefits of this Exemption.
EXTENT OF EXEMPTION: Requirement to comply with weight limitations and permitting for certain motor carriers on all roadways and bridges except for bridge restrictions noted in the special conditions below.
EFFECTIVE DATE: April 3, 2020 1159 hours.
TERMINATION DATE: June 2, 2020 2359 hours.
1. The vehicle weight and permitting requirements of 67 Pa. Code, Chapter 179 (relating to Oversize and Overweight Loads and Vehicles) are hereby waived for motor carriers utilizing combination vehicles with divisible load limits equal to or less than 90,000 pounds that are providing direct assistance in transporting goods and materials necessary to respond to the COVID-19 virus disaster emergency.
2. This Exemption does not apply to any bridge or roadway with a size or weight restriction posted in accordance with 67 Pa. Code, Chapters 189 (relating to Hauling in Excess of Posted Weight Limit), 191 (relating to Authorization to Use Bridges Posted Due to Condition of Bridge), and 193 (relating to Authorization to Use Highways Posted Due to Traffic Conditions).
3. Structures spanning the Delaware River between the states of Pennsylvania and New Jersey under the jurisdiction of the Delaware River Port Authority or the Delaware River Joint Toll Bridge Commission are not within the scope of this waiver; the terms and requirements for the crossing of those structures are as established by the respective authorities. Contact information for the Delaware River Joint Toll Bridge Commission is 1-800-363-0049 and Delaware River Port Authority is 1-877-567-3772.
4. Structures spanning the Delaware River between the states of Pennsylvania and New Jersey under the jurisdiction of the Burlington County Bridge Commission are not within the scope of this waiver; the terms and requirements for the crossing of those structures are as established by the respective authority. Contact information for the Burlington County Bridge Commission is 1-856-829-1900.
5. Drivers must comply with the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s March 24, 2020, Expanded Emergency Declaration Under 49 CFR § 390.23, No. 2020-002, any future amendment to that Declaration, or any further Exemption or Order issue by the Governor or the Secretary as allowed by law.
6. Nothing in this Exemption relieves compliance with all other applicable laws or regulations, unless otherwise waived or exempted by the governmental entity with jurisdiction to effect such an exemption or waiver.
Statement From OOIDA Re: Latest On Hours-Of-Service
Response to FMCSA sending final hours-of-service rule to the Office of Management and Budget:
“We applaud the Agency for submitting the final rule to OMB so quickly. As FMCSA continues to move forward with HOS reform, we are optimistic the final product will create meaningful reform that provides drivers with more flexibility and control over their schedules. Any final rulemaking must give drivers the choice on if and when to use the proposed provisions, should entirely eliminate the required 30-minute break, and expand the split sleeper-berth options beyond just 7/3. If FMCSA gets it right, we’re confident most drivers will be happy with the changes.”
TravelCenters of America Honored with Truckers Against Trafficking Champion Award
Truckers Against Trafficking has awarded TravelCenters of America with its prestigious Champion Award in the Organization category. The award was presented Feb. 13 at TA’s biannual leadership expo in Sandusky, Ohio, with more than 850 employees in attendance, including general managers from locations across the nation and members of TA’s executive leadership team.
The Champion Award was created to recognize and honor the outstanding creative, innovative, generous and dedicated efforts of specific TAT partners whose actions have significantly furthered TAT’s work and mission to end human trafficking, recover more survivors and prosecute more perpetrators.
“Professional truck drivers are vitally important to helping us fulfill our work. From the beginning, TravelCenters of America knew they had the audience of people we needed to reach the most. They not only invited us in; they took our mission and ran with it. They’ve trained thousands of employees on what to look for at the sites and are committed to supporting our work in whatever way they can,” said KendisParis, executive director of TAT. “Without the support, commitment and actions of TA, we wouldn’t be as far along as we are today in the fight against human trafficking.”
The 2020 Champion Award took into account TA’s work with TAT including:
•TA created and held TAT’s very first product promotion and continues to sell TAT merchandise in its travel stores. In January and February of 2019, TA raised awareness and over $110,000 for TAT’s mission. TA is continuing the merchandise sales in 2020 and hopes to raise even more money.
•TA administers awareness and empowerment training to its more than 21,000 employees at over 260 locations across the nation. TAT has also had the opportunity to present to all of TA’s general managers, alongside a survivor of human trafficking. Kendis Paris also had the opportunity to present at TA headquarters.
•TA locations across the country serve as a point of distribution for TAT materials. TA engages its travel centers to distribute and display TAT’s messages and materials throughout the locations, including more than 2,500 posters to promote the prestigious Harriet Tubman award.
•TA engages leadership, leverages multiple streams of support within the company and engages external organizations to support TAT. In 2011, TA lent our cause credence and name recognition, encouraging other companies to become early adopters. President and COO Barry Richards recorded a specialized message to include at the beginning of TAT’s training video for all TravelCenters of America employees, emphasizing the organization’s passion in combating this crime.
“Human trafficking is a prevalent issue and we can’t just sit back when the opportunity to help combat this crime is at our fingertips,” said Barry Richards, president and COO of TA and a member of TAT’s Board of Directors. “With a captive audience of millions of drivers on our properties and thousands of employees across the nation, we knew we could make a difference, so we did. And we will continue to do so. I’d like to thank Kendis and Truckers Against Trafficking for this honor and for leading the charge to transform our industry.”
The TAT Champion Award was created in 2019 and honors state agencies, organizations and associations for their dedicated work combating human trafficking.
Trucking Industry Applauds Senate For Passing “Phase Three” COVID-19 Relief Legislation Bill Contains Important Relief For Employers And Small Business
Arlington, VA… The largest trade group representing America’s trucking industry is praising the Senate today for passing the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act—bipartisan legislation that will deliver critical relief to Americans and small businesses reeling from the impact of COVID-19. ATA President and CEO Chris Spear says the bill will provide critical assistance to small- and midsize motor carriers needed to maintain payrolls, the economy’s supply lines and the movement of essential goods that all Americans rely on.
“At its core, trucking is an industry of small business. More than 90% of motor carriers in this country have fewer than six trucks, and it is critically important for the health of our nation’s supply chain that small- and midsize carriers have accesses to liquidity so they can keep their drivers paid, trucks running, stores restocked and hospitals supplied,” Spear said.
“Americans across the country have renewed focus right now on what it is truckers do every single day: provide the essential goods – food, water, fuel, medicine – that we all rely in our daily lives. Truckers don’t have the option to telework, and they’re not asking for a handout. But they are asking for liquidity and the necessary bridge to keep their trucks moving as America recovers from this crisis.”
The bill would provide $377 billion to help prevent workers from losing their jobs and small businesses from going under due to economic losses caused by COVID-19. The Paycheck Protection Program would provide eight weeks of cash-flow assistance through 100-percent federally guaranteed loans to small employers who maintain their payroll during this emergency. The bill would expand eligibility for entities suffering economic harm due to COVID-19 to access SBA’s Economic Injury Disaster Loans (EIDL), while also giving SBA more flexibility to process and disperse small dollar loans. It would also require SBA to pay all principal, interest, and fees on all existing SBA loan products for a period of up to six months.
“We thank Congressional leaders for putting partisan differences aside and taking these necessary steps to get our economy moving again. The trucking industry will continue to do our part to move America through these difficult times,” Spear said.
Trucking, Enforcement Commit to Cooperate During COVID-19 Threat In Letter, ATA, CVSA Outline Steps Being Taken to Ensure Trucks Continue to Move
Arlington, VA… The American Trucking Associations and Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance sent a letter to their members outlining the steps the commercial vehicle enforcement community and the trucking industry are taking to ensure that drivers are able to safely and efficiently deliver essential goods during the global COVID-19 pandemic.
“The threat COVID-19 poses to our communities is nearly unprecedented, but the trucking community, government regulators and CMV enforcement officials are committed to working together to making sure that supplies important to the recovery effort arrive efficiently and safely at our stores and hospitals,” the March 23 letter read.
The letter, signed by ATA President and CEO Chris Spear and CVSA Executive Director Collin Mooney, spells out that ATA is notifying its members and the trucking industry at large what goods and services are covered by various regulatory waivers in response to the pandemic, while CVSA is taking steps to make sure the enforcement community has the most up to date guidelines on those commodities, as well as providing both inspectors and drivers with critical information on personal protection and decontamination to prevent the spread of the virus.
“Both organizations are committed to doing what they can to ensure the smooth flow of goods and services to all of the people and places affected by this global pandemic and national emergency,” the letter said. “To that end, we are both working with government authorities and organizations so that drivers can continue to make critical deliveries even as various restrictions on movements and travel are imposed.”