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Latest Industry News Briefs Courtesy of PMTA

September, 2019

ATA Praises DOL Opinion Letter on Sleeper Berth Time 

Arlington, VA… American Trucking Associations President and CEO Chris Spear thanked the Department of Labor for issuing an opinion clarifying that time spent in the sleeper berth does not count as compensable time.

“ATA welcomes today’s opinion letter from DOL Wage and Hour Division Administrator Cheryl Stanton that concluded time spent by a commercial driver in the sleeper berth does not count as compensable hours under the federal Fair Labor Standards Act, unless the driver is actually performing work or on call. 

“This opinion, which is consistent with decades-old DOL regulations, the weight of judicial authority, and the long understanding of the trucking industry, clears up confusion created by two recent court decisions that called the compensability of sleeper berth time into question. 

“ATA commends Acting Secretary Pizzella and Administrator Stanton for adopting a straightforward, plain-language reading of the law, rather than the burdensome alternative interpretation embraced by those outlier decisions.

“ATA also commends the Department for making guidance like this available through opinion letters, which provide an opportunity for stakeholders to better understand their compliance obligations prospectively, rather than settling such matters only after the fact, through costly and wasteful litigation.”

ATA Hails Release of Proposed Hours-of-Service Improvements

Arlington, VA… The American Trucking Associations hailed proposed changes to the hours-of-service rules as a way to improve safety on our nation’s highways while providing additional flexibility for professional drivers.

“Secretary Chao and Administrator Martinez are to be commended for their commitment to an open and data-driven process to update the hours-of-service rules,” said ATA President and CEO Chris Spear. “We look forward to studying and understanding how these proposed changes will impact our industry so we can provide relevant data and information to strengthen and support a good final rule that bolsters safety and provides drivers needed flexibility.

The rule, released by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration today, proposes several changes to the hours-of-service rule, but maintains the regulation’s core principles.

“In the 15 years since the last major revisions to the hours-of-service, we as an industry have learned a great deal about how these rules impact our drivers,” said ATA Chairman Barry Pottle, president of Pottle’s Transportation. “The valuable experience and data we’ve gained over that time will make it easier to provide flexibility for drivers to get additional rest and find parking while keeping our highways safe.”

“ATA intends to fully review these proposed changes so we can shape a strong rule for our drivers, our industry and the motoring public,” Spear said.


ATA Praises Choice of Eugene Scalia as Labor Secretary Nominee

Arlington, VA… American Trucking Associations President and CEO Chris Spear praised President Trump’s choice of Eugene Scalia as the nominee for Secretary of Labor.

“I have had the privilege of knowing Gene Scalia for nearly two decades, and as former colleagues, know firsthand his expansive breadth of experience with issues currently facing the 21st century workforce and our nation’s economy,” Spear said. “Gene also has a deep knowledge of and appreciation for the Department of Labor’s mission and responsibilities. 

“I have full confidence in Gene’s leadership, and believe he is an inspired choice for Secretary of Labor by President Trump.

“We encourage the Senate to move quickly on confirmation, and look forward to working with Gene Scalia as Secretary on issues of importance to the trucking industry, including the critical issue of workforce development.”


ATA Secures Significant Victory in Ongoing Tariffs Dispute

Arlington, VA… The American Trucking Associations said the trucking industry is pleased that tariffs on Chinese-made, 53-foot domestic intermodal containers would not go into effect as previously announced.

“Trucking and trade are synonymous and we are happy with this most recent announcement by the United States Trade Representative that these 53-foot domestic containers won’t be subject to tariffs,” said ATA Chief Economist and Senior Vice President for International Trade Policy Bob Costello. “We explained that applying tariffs to these containers would have a tremendous impact on the entire freight logistics industry, and ultimately on U.S. consumers, so we are very pleased with the decision.”

In June, ATA told the USTR that the only two manufacturers of these kind of containers, used commonly in intermodal transportation, were located in China, and as such, freight transportation companies would have no choice but to pay the additional cost because no domestic alternative existed.

“Because there are no U.S.-based makers of these containers, we estimate the logistics industry would’ve paid an additional $63 million in the first year, and nearly $750 million more over the next decade for the equipment if these tariffs had not been rescinded,” Costello said. “We appreciate Ambassador Lighthizer and the entire USTR for their willingness listen to ATA on this critical issue and we look forward to working with them to continue to advance U.S. trade interests and to grow our economy.”


ATA Statement on Highway Reauthorization Bill Release

Arlington, VA… American Trucking Associations President and CEO Chris Spear made this statement after the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee released text of its surface transportation reauthorization bill:

“We thank Chairman Barrasso and Ranking Member Carper for taking this important first step toward reauthorizing our nation's surface transportation systems.

"The strength of our economy relies on sound roads and bridges, as more than 70% of our nation's goods travel by highway on the back of trucks. With the right investment, we can stem America's deepening infrastructure crisis and instead achieve a 21st century infrastructure worthy of the world's leading economy. 

“We look forward to working closely with this committee and the other relevant committees on a legislative package that includes the long-term, sustainable funding that our highway programs critically need." 


Hoffa: Proposed Hours Of Service Changes Would Put Road Safety At Risk  

WASHINGTON… The following is a statement from Teamsters General President Jim Hoffa about a notice of proposed rulemaking unveiled by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) today addressing hours of service changes for truckers that would lead to reduced roadway safety for drivers and the traveling public at large.

“While we continue to review these proposed regulatory changes by the FMCSA, the Teamsters have serious concerns about what we have seen thus far when it comes to these hours of service reforms. 

“In an effort to increase so-called ‘flexibility’ for trucking companies, the FMCSA is abandoning safety and allowing drivers to push themselves to the limit even further. Changes for short-haul truckers, for example, would extend their days from 12 to 14 hours on the job. That means a longer and more exhausting workday for tens of thousands of American workers. The Teamsters are also concerned about language changing the 30-minute rest break and the ability of drivers to press the pause button on their hours of service clock.

“Trucking is already one of the nation’s most dangerous jobs. We shouldn’t be sacrificing the health and safety of drivers just to pad the profits of their big business bosses.”

Founded in 1903, the International Brotherhood of Teamsters represents 1.4 million hardworking men and women throughout the United States, Canada and Puerto Rico. Visit www.teamster.org for more information. Follow us on Twitter @Teamsters and “like” us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/teamsters.


NATSO, Love’s Travel Stops & Country Stores Thank Congressman Brindisi for Commitment to Local Business 

Alexandria, VA… NATSO member Love’s Travel Stops & Country Stores today thanked U.S. Congressman Anthony Brindisi for visiting its Binghamton, N.Y., location to learn about the critical role that travel plazas play in local economies as well as to discuss issues of importance to the truck stop and travel plaza industry.

During the visit, Congressman Brindisi, representing New York’s 22nd District, spent time behind the counter interacting with store employees, serving customers and meeting constituents. Congressman Brindisi also toured the location to learn more about how the fuel retailer operates.

“We appreciate that Representative Brindisi took time to visit our location and meet with our customers and our employees to learn more about the fuel retailing industry and how we serve both the local community and the nation’s professional truck drivers,” said Love’s Manager of Government Affairs Tom Kirby. “Representative Brindisi was able to see first-hand our commitment to the communities in which we operate. We commend Congressman Brindisi for exhibiting a real understanding of how federal policy directly affects the daily operations of our business, our employees and our customers.”

During the visit, Love’s officials emphasized the vital role that travel stops play in helping people and goods move throughout our country. In addition, the travel center industry serves local communities, including playing an important role in providing access to healthy food options for beneficiaries of the USDA’s Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP).

Thursday’s discussion also included the high interchange fees that travel stops must pay every time a customer swipes a credit or debit card as well as the need for Congress to extend the Biodiesel Tax Credit. The biodiesel tax credit allows fuel retailers to sell cleaner-burning biodiesel at a price that is cost competitive with diesel, thereby lowering prices at the pump and encouraging the use of more environmentally friendly fuels.


New Hours Rules Mean Smarter, Safer Choices For Truckers OOIDA: “It’s about freakin’ time.” Literally. 

Washington, DC… A common sense approach has finally been proposed by the federal government regarding how long truck drivers work and drive. The Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association thanks the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration for listening to truck drivers’ concerns and including provisions that make it easier for them to avoid heavy traffic, bad weather and other less than ideal situations. 

“Truckers have families and want to get home safely just like everyone else. They are the most knowledgeable, highway safety advocates and the agency’s proposal, overall, recognizes that fact,” said Todd Spencer, President of OOIDA. 

The newly announced proposed rulemaking includes expanding the short haul air-mile radius from 100 to 150 air miles, extending the short haul duty period from 12 to 14 hours, modifying the 30-minute rest break to only apply after 8 hours driving, the creation of an “adverse driving” provision, the ability to stop the 14-hour clock, and options for drivers to split their time, commonly referred to as a split sleeper berth provision. 

“Over the past decade, truck drivers have been more regulated than ever, and more compliant than ever, and yet crashes are going up,” said Spencer. “We have pushed for flexibility in hours of service regulations for years, long before the current Administration. We do thank Administrator Ray Martinez for his commitment to the issue and for listening to those that actually drive trucks for a living.”

The Association points out that truckers are expected to comply with a litany of regulations while meeting the needs of shippers and receivers that are often oblivious to those rules. Reports on delays show that it’s common for drivers to wait 30-40 hours per week to be loaded or unloaded by customers. 

“There may not be a one-size fits all solution, but the proposed changes are a positive start since truckers don’t have any control over their schedules or traffic conditions. For too long and too often, they find themselves in unsafe circumstances because of current, overly restrictive rules that decrease highway safety.” 

“We thank our members for their participation in the process and encourage them to remain proactive in making comments and communicating with lawmakers on this and all issues that affect them,” added Spencer.

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.


Trucking Industry Revenues Top $796 Billion in 2018

Arlington, VA… The American Trucking Associations released the latest edition of its annual data compendium – ATA American Trucking Trends 2019 – which showed that the industry’s revenues jumped to $796.7 billion in 2018, up from $700.1 billion the previous year.

“2018 was a year of dynamic growth for the trucking industry,” said ATA Chief Economist Bob Costello. “Trends is a simple, one-stop resource to see where our industry is so executives and policymakers can make informed decisions about where it is going.”

Among the other findings in Trends:

•In 2018, trucks moved 11.49 billion tons of freight, 71.4% of the nation’s tonnage freight.

•Trucking’s revenues accounted for 80.3% of the nation’s freight bill.

•Trade – especially with Mexico and Canada – is very important to trucking. Trucks moved 67.4% of surface freight between the U.S. and Canada – up 3.6% in 2018 – and 83.5% of cross-border trade with Mexico, up 10.2% from the previous year. 

•There are 7.8 million people employed in trucking-related jobs, up 100,000 from the previous year. This includes 3.5 million professional drivers.

•Women make up 6.6% of the industry’s drivers and minorities account for 40.4% of truckers.

•Most carriers are small companies – 91.3% of fleets operate six or fewer trucks and 97.4% operate 20 or fewer.

“ATA believes good decisions are based on good data, and Trends is full of strong data, which is why it finds a home on the desks of elected officials, regulators and executives across the supply chain,” said ATA President and CEO Chris Spear.

The report is indispensable for use by trucking companies, industry suppliers, logistics providers, analysts, public policy decision makers and many others. ATA American Trucking Trends 2019 is available for sale now at ATA Business Solutions.