Latest Industry News Briefs Courtesy of PMTA

July 2024

Trucking Industry Applauds Enactment of Predatory Towing Reform in Tennessee

Washington, DC…  The American Trucking Associations commended Tennessee on enacting comprehensive reforms to crack down on predatory towers that target heavy-duty trucks.  The bill, SB1692/HB1731, was signed into law by Governor Bill Lee after passing the Tennessee Senate unanimously and the House overwhelmingly without a single dissenting vote.

 Predatory towing entails any incident in which a towing operator severely overcharges; illegally seizes assets; damages assets by use of improper equipment; or illegitimately withholds release of a truck, trailer and/or cargo.  Memphis has been a hotspot for illegal towing.  Last fall, one trucker was prevented from paying a $275 booting fee, and her company was forced to pay thousands of dollars for the return of the vehicle.  In a separate incident, a trucker was booted and blocked in while he was in the process of paying for parking.  He waited in his truck for over 33 hours to prevent it from being towed.

 Tennessee’s new law, which was drafted by Senate Majority Leader Jack Johnson (R-Franklin) and Representative Jake McCalmon (R-Franklin) with recommendations from the Tennessee Trucking Association, will protect truckers by prohibiting unlicensed individuals from booting vehicles anywhere in Tennessee.  The law limits booting to commercial lots only.  In order to boot a vehicle in a commercial parking lot, a licensed parking attendant must be present, easily identifiable as an employee of the commercial lot and available to remove the boot within 45 minutes from point of contact.  The law caps the fee to remove a boot at $75.  Notice provisions will ensure drivers are aware that parking in a lot without pay could result in the vehicle being booted or towed.

 Most noteworthy for the trucking and transportation industry, this legislation will make it illegal to boot or use a device to immobilize any truck and trailer in Tennessee that is clearly identified as a commercial vehicle with a USDOT number or with a commercial license plate issued for all classes of trucks and trailers described and registered pursuant to T.C.A. 55-4-113(a)(2) and T.C.A. 55-4-113(a)(5).  The legislation also ensures that vehicle owners are properly notified if their vehicle is towed, sold or demolished by a towing company and directs the Department of Revenue to create a motor vehicle portal.  The portal may be accessible by law enforcement, towing companies, vehicle owners and lien holders. The portal, to be active by July 2025, will be used for all public notifications of the sale of unclaimed vehicles.

 “Predatory towing companies that hold equipment and cargo hostage with inflated, excessive and fraudulent invoices tarnish the reputation of the entire towing sector.  They have taken advantage of the trucking industry for far too long, and we refuse to continue making these ransom payments any longer,” said American Trucking Associations President and CEO Chris Spear.  “ATA’s federation of state associations is prepared to fight back against unscrupulous companies that target our industry by injecting more accountability and fairness in state and local laws pertaining to towing.”

 “Several high-profile predatory towing incidents in Tennessee have exposed how this egregious practice not only disrupts our state’s supply chain, but also costs truck owners thousands of dollars for each unwanted tow,” said Tennessee Trucking Association President & CEO Donna England.  “We are grateful to Majority Leader Johnson, Representative McCalmon and Tennessee legislators for listening to our concerns about this unfair tactic, and we thank Governor Lee for swiftly signing this bill into law.  We look forward to our continued partnership with our state’s leaders on commonsense reforms that promote justice, fairness and safety.  Trucking is the lynchpin of our economy, and we should be prioritizing policies that are welcoming to truckers who deliver the goods we count on every day.”

 There is an essential partnership between trucking companies and towing companies, and truckers depend on towers when there is a mechanical breakdown.  Unfortunately, when a truck is towed without the owner’s consent, rogue towing companies can exploit the situation.  Truck drivers and trucking companies have little choice other than to pay the exorbitant bill since the truck is their livelihood and deliveries may be time sensitive.  Legislation to reign in predatory towing creates guardrails that levels the playing field to ensure that both parties are treated fairly. 

According to a recent study by the American Transportation Research Institute, the most common types of predatory towing are excessive rates, experienced by 82.7% of motor carriers, and unwarranted extra service charges, experienced by 81.8% of carriers.  A majority of carriers encountered additional issues such as truck release or access delays, cargo release delays, truck seizure without cause and tows misreported as consensual.

 The trucking industry plays a significant role in the Tennessee economy and is a key provider of middle-class jobs, employing nearly 250,000 Tennesseans across the state. More than 90% of Tennessee communities rely exclusively on trucks to receive their goods.

2024 Pennsylvania Truck Driving Championship Winners

Grand Champion: Michael (Mike) Light, FedEx Freight - Straight Truck

Rookie of the Year: Jason Melcher, Old Dominion Freight Line, Inc. - 5 Axle

Best Written Test Score: Ronald Emenheiser, Walmart

Best Pre-Trip Inspection: Colt Seltzer, UPS

Top Small Team: RH Crawford, INC.

Top Large Team: Old Dominion Freight Line, Inc.


1. Bernard Wanyo, UPS

2. Terry Wood, Walmart

3. Kraig Keller, ABF Freight


1. William Giles, Old Dominion Freight Line, Inc.

2. Ronald Emenheiser, Walmart

3. Dean Herb, GIANT


1. Matt Fletcher, Martin Brower

2. Eric Valentine, PITT OHIO

3. Eric Blackwell, Walmart


1. Bryan Krol, Martin Brower

2. Bradley Kiscadden, FedEx Freight

3. Robert Springer, UPS


1. Daryl Miller, Cope Company Salt

2. Troy Wolf, Day & Ross

3. Andrew Mutchler, Walmart


1. Brian Smeltzer, RH Crawford, INC.

2. Paul Waite, A. Duie Pyle

3. Todd Lefever, Cope Company Salt


1. Michael Hoover, Old Dominion Freight Line, Inc.

2. Robert (Bob) Walker, FedEx Freight

3. James Emerick, ABF Freight


1. Michael (Mike) Light, FedEx Freight

2. Harold Komar, Old Dominion Freight Line, Inc.

3. Christopher Yanac, PITT OHIO


1. Daniel Verbanac, FedEx Ground

2. Chuck Digovanni, FedEx Ground

3. Eric Waybright, Walmart

Marijuana Reclassification Must Account for Highway Safety Risks Says Trucking Industry

Marijuana and alcohol remain the most detected drugs in impaired driving incidents leading to serious or fatal injuries

Washington, DC…  The American Trucking Associations is calling attention to the negative consequences for highway safety and safety-sensitive industries that could result from the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration’s proposal to reschedule marijuana from a Schedule I to a Schedule III drug. In anticipation of the proposed rule that was announced today, ATA sent a letter to express these concerns to Attorney General Merrick Garland, Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra and Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg.  

 ATA is alarmed by the possibility that this reclassification could prohibit certain industries from screening for marijuana use by workers performing safety-sensitive roles. The absence of a reliable standard for marijuana impairment makes it all the more critical for motor carriers to have visibility into marijuana usage. If the trucking and broader transportation industries’ ability to conduct drug testing for marijuana use is restricted, the risk of impaired drivers operating on our nation’s roadways undetected would increase, endangering all who share the road.

 “ATA believes that it is vitally important that your agencies ensure an ongoing allowance for marijuana testing of safety-sensitive workers to avoid deterioration of highway safety,” wrote American Trucking Associations Senior Vice President of Regulatory Affairs and Safety Policy Dan Horvath. “If this rulemaking is permitted to move forward without appropriate regulatory review, oversight and deliberation, ATA is concerned that it will severely curtail the ability of motor carriers and other employers of safety-sensitive positions to maintain a safe working environment, threatening the safety of all road users.”

 These threats to safety are not merely hypothetical. Marijuana and alcohol remain the most detected drugs in impaired driving incidents leading to serious or fatal injuries. State-level marijuana legalization has been linked to an uptick in crashes.  

 Current DOT drug and alcohol testing requirements are governed – and therefore limited in their testing authority – by HHS’ Mandatory Guidelines for Federal Workplace Drug Testing Programs, which allow regulated employers to test only for those drugs listed in Schedule I or II of the CSA. Therefore, without additional action, deregulation or rescheduling of marijuana would have the likely consequence of precluding testing for all professional drivers and transportation workers as part of the DOT testing program.

I-5 Bridge Repairs Start Soon

You'll start to see us in the area as we prepare for construction to start mid-June.

We're making repairs to the northbound lanes of the Santiam overflow bridge before Exit 242.

When construction starts you can expect:

* Crews working nightly, Sunday through Friday. 

* Single lane closures nightly from 9 p.m. to 5 a.m.

* A reduced speed limit in the work zone to 55 mph. 

* Construction noise and delays.

Our schedule may change – visit the project webpage to learn more about what we're doing or for the most up to date information on impacts.

Nearly $830 Million in Grants to Make Transportation Infrastructure More Resilient to Climate Change

WASHINGTON, DC… Nearly $830 million in grant awards was recently awarded for 80 projects nationwide that will help states and local communities save taxpayers money while strengthening surface-transportation systems and making them more resilient to extreme weather events worsened by the climate crisis, flooding, sea-level rise, heat waves, and other disasters. These grants are the first of their kind dedicated to transportation infrastructure resilience and were made possible by the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law’s Promoting Resilient Operations for Transformative, Efficient, and Cost-saving Transportation (PROTECT) Discretionary Grant Program, which complements PROTECT Formula funding that is already flowing to states for these types of projects. To strengthen America’s climate resilience, President Biden has secured more than $50 billion for climate resilience and adaptation through the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law and Inflation Reduction Act, and established a National Climate Resilience Framework, which is advancing locally tailored, community-driven climate resilience strategies.

Extreme weather events are becoming more frequent and severe due to climate change and are causing increasing damage to our transportation system, which was primarily designed and built before the realities of our current climate. The PROTECT Grant Program is funding projects that will strengthen the country’s surface transportation system against extreme weather events, including roads, bridges, highways, public transportation, pedestrian facilities, ports, and intercity passenger rail. By increasing the resilience of these assets, these investments will reduce short- and long-term costs by minimizing future needs for maintenance and reconstruction.

As part of the announcement, the Federal Highway Administration is awarding funding under four different grant types to 80 projects in 37 states, the District of Columbia, and the Virgin Islands:

* Planning Grants: Twenty-six projects will receive approximately $45 million to help grant recipients develop resilience-improvement plans, resilience planning, predesign and design activities, capacity-building activities, and evacuation planning and preparation initiatives.

* Resilience Improvement Grants: Thirty-six projects will receive approximately $621 million to enhance the resilience of existing surface-transportation infrastructure by improving drainage, relocating roadways, elevating bridges, or incorporating upgrades to allow infrastructure to meet or exceed design standards.

* Community Resilience and Evacuation Routes: Ten projects will receive approximately $45 million for improvements to enhance the resilience of evacuation routes or to enhance their capacity and add redundant evacuation routes.

* At-risk Coastal Infrastructure: Eight projects will receive approximately $119 million to protect, strengthen, or relocate coastal highway and non-rail infrastructure.

The program also will improve equity and further environmental justice by addressing the needs of disadvantaged communities that are often the most vulnerable to hazards. The program encouraged applicants from all levels of government—from local governments and Tribes to state DOTs—to apply for PROTECT discretionary-grant funding, which complements the more than $4.3 billion in PROTECT formula funding that is already flowing to states. Consistent with the objectives of the National Climate Resilience Framework, these awards will help these communities across the country become not only more resilient, but also more safe, healthy, equitable, and economically strong.

The full list of grant recipients is available here:

Project selections in this round of grants include:

* In Iowa, the City of Cedar Rapids will receive $56 million to replace the 86-year-old, structurally deficient Arc of Justice Bridge, which provides a critical connection for residents and emergency services during extreme flooding events. The project is part of a larger flood-control system that will mitigate the impacts of climate change and increase infrastructure resilience, making it more resistant to flooding.

* In California, the City of Davis will receive nearly $24 million to install cool pavement technologies and replace roadway underlayment to rehabilitate several portions of roadways in the Davis community to help guard against extreme heat conditions, combat urban heat island (UHI) effects, repair underlayment to state of good repair, and make other safety improvements.

* In Arkansas, the City of West Memphis will receive more than $16 million to restore hundreds of acres of floodplain along the Mississippi River’s western bank using nature-based solutions such as restoring wetlands and new hardwood forests. These measures will help to protect five major surface-transportation routes - I-40, I-55, two freight-rail lines, and the area’s only dedicated bicycle/pedestrian crossing - from repeated flooding.

* The City of Philadelphia will receive $14 million to rehabilitate two deteriorating bridges over Wissahickon Creek in Northwest Philadelphia. Built in the 1800s, the Bells Mill Road and Valley Green Road bridges provide access to Wissahickon Valley Park, a noteworthy natural destination in the city that experiences frequent flooding. Improvements also include the creation and restoration of wetlands.

* In South Dakota, the Oglala Sioux Tribe will receive $60 million to improve two sections of BIA Route 33, which crosses the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation in rural southwestern South Dakota and connects the communities of Rockyford, Manderson, and Red Cloud. The project includes regrading the roadway to widen ditches, increasing the size and number of culverts, raising sections of the road, and widening the road to add shoulders for emergencies and evacuations.

From rebuilding our Nation’s infrastructure, to creating a manufacturing and innovation boom powered by well-paid jobs that don’t require a 4-year degree, to building a clean-energy economy that will combat climate change and make our communities more resilient, President Biden’s Investing in America agenda is growing the American economy from the bottom up and the middle out.

For more information on the PROTECT Program, please visit

CVSA's Brake Safety Week Scheduled for Aug. 25-31

  Washington, DC…  The Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance (CVSA) has announced Aug. 25-31 as the dates for this year’s Brake Safety Week. 

  Brake Safety Week is a commercial motor vehicle and driver inspection and regulatory compliance enforcement initiative, a brake-safety awareness and outreach opportunity, and a brake-related inspection and violation data-collection project. 

  Inspection and Enforcement 

CVSA-certified inspectors will conduct routine commercial motor vehicle inspections throughout the week, focusing on brake systems and components. Commercial motor vehicles found to have brake-related out-of-service violations will be removed from roadways until those violations are corrected.

  For this year’s Brake Safety Week, inspectors will focus on the condition of brake linings and pads. Brake lining and pad issues may result in vehicle violations and could affect a motor carrier’s safety rating.

  In addition, some jurisdictions have performance-based brake testers (PBBT) and will be using them during Brake Safety Week. A PBBT is a machine that assesses the braking performance of a vehicle.

  Awareness and Outreach

Educational efforts by inspectors, motor carriers and others in the industry take place during Brake Safety Week and are integral to the success of the campaign. 

  In addition to educational outreach by law enforcement agencies, transportation safety organizations and individual officers, CVSA also aims to help prepare drivers, motor carriers, owner-operators and mechanics for this year’s Brake Safety Week. 

* View the inspector’s inspection procedure. 

* Download a checklist that outlines the tools needed to inspect S-cam brakes, what to look for and how to measure pushrod stroke.

* Learn about the components of the vehicle that the inspector will check.

* Download a flyer with 10 brake lining and pad tips. 

Brake Safety Week also serves as a reminder to drivers and motor carriers of the importance of a proactive vehicle maintenance program and provides an opportunity for law enforcement to highlight the importance of brake safety.

  Data Collection 

Throughout Brake Safety Week, inspectors will capture data about brake inspections and violations and report that data directly to CVSA. In addition to general inspection and violation data, CVSA will also be collecting data about brake linings/pads, the focus area for this year’s Operation Safe Driver Week. PBBT jurisdictions will also submit PBBT-specific data. CVSA will collect and analyze all data submissions and report the results publicly later this year. 

  Why Conduct Brake Safety Week?

Brake-related violations comprise the largest percentage of all out-of-service vehicle violations cited during roadside inspections. According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s 2023 vehicle violation data, six out of the top 20 vehicle violations were brake related. And last year’s CVSA International Roadcheck results showed that brake-system violations was the top vehicle violation, comprising 25.2% of all vehicle out-of-service violations during that three-day data snapshot of roadside inspections. 

  Brake Safety Week aims to improve commercial motor vehicle brake safety throughout North America. The goal is to eliminate roadway crashes caused by braking systems on commercial motor vehicles by conducting roadside inspections and educating drivers, mechanics, large- and small-fleet motor carriers, owner-operators and others on the importance of proper brake inspection, maintenance and operation.

ATA Truck Tonnage Index Decreased 1.2% in April

Washington, DC…  American Trucking Associations’ advanced seasonally adjusted For-Hire Truck Tonnage Index declined 1.2% in April after decreasing 2.2% in March. In April, the index equaled 111.7 (2015=100) compared with 113.1 in March.

“The truck freight market remained soft in April as seasonally adjusted volumes fell for the second straight month,” said American Trucking Associations Chief Economist Bob Costello. “With a rebound in freight remaining elusive, it is likely that additional capacity will leave the industry in the face of continued softness in the market.”

March’s decrease was revised down slightly from our April 23 press release.

Compared with April 2023, the index fell 1.5%, which was the fourteenth straight year-over-year decline. In March, the index was down 1.3% from a year earlier. 

The not seasonally adjusted index, which represents the change in tonnage actually hauled by the fleets before any seasonal adjustment, equaled 112.2 in April, 1.7% below March. ATA’s For-Hire Truck Tonnage Index is dominated by contract freight as opposed to spot market freight. 

In calculating the index, 100 represents 2015.