Utah Trucking Association Newsletter; October 19th, 2023

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  • 2023 Autumn Shotgun Shoot: October 27th, 2023
  • UTA Drivers Awards Banquet: November 3rd, 2023
  • 2023 ATV/UTV Jamboree: November 18th, 2023


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Samba Safety


Nothing Without Trucking

The term “essential” came into sharp focus during the pandemic. The urgency of the moment forced Americans to recognize the many hands at work that keep our society going. There was an outpouring of gratitude for our nation’s truck drivers, rightfully so, as they persevered through adversity to keep stores stocked and hospitals supplied.

But the true meaning of essential isn’t momentary. It isn’t fleeting like our country’s attention span. It doesn’t come and go like the news cycle.

To be essential is a duty that endures. It’s constant. The indispensable role that truckers play in our daily lives remains as vital today as it ever was.

Truck Drivers Who Fail Drug Tests: Where Are They Going? 

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration says its Drug and Alcohol Clearinghouse is having the intended effect of taking large numbers of drivers caught using drugs off the highways. However, a persistent concern is that 146,000 drivers remain in prohibited driving status after failing their drug tests. Most are not enrolling in the required return-to-duty agency process, according to FMCSA, and seem to be exiting the profession in the midst of a driver shortage.

Speeding Tops List of Infractions by Truck Drivers During Operation Safe Driver Week 

Officers issued a total of 4,494 tickets/citations and 5,756 warnings to drivers of both commercial and passenger vehicles. Of those, 2,634 tickets/citations and 4,592 warnings were given to commercial motor vehicle drivers, while 1,860 tickets/citations and 1,164 warnings were issued to passenger vehicle drivers. Speeding, the focus area for this year’s Operation Safe Driver Week, was a top infraction for all drivers.

Biden DOL a Step Closer to Rolling Back Trump-Era Worker Classification Rule 

A Department of Labor rulemaking to rescind a Trump-era rule for determining employee or independent contractor classification under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) has taken another step toward being implemented.

Workers at Mack Trucks Go on Strike After Rejecting Deal 

Union workers at Mack Trucks went on strike Oct. 9 after voting down a tentative five-year contract agreement that negotiators had reached with the company. The United Auto Workerssaid 4,000 unionized workers walked out at 7 a.m.

Accident Litigation Expert: Beware the Nuclear Settlement 

While nuclear verdicts in accident litigation are obviously a major concern in the trucking industry, it’s actually the nuclear settlements that litigation expert Steve Wood said are even more problematic. “What doesn’t get talked about enough is the idea that carriers are settling cases for an amount that is much more than they need to,” said Wood, a senior litigation consultant with Courtroom Sciences, an Irving, Texas-based firm that advises law firms and legal departments on litigation matters.

Truck Driver Study Outlines Distracted Driving Concerns 

A naturalistic truck driver study by the Virginia Tech Transportation Institute served to underscore what would seem to be a common-sense safety rule: Drivers should keep their hands on the wheel. “We continue to find over and over again that visual menial tasks that take someone’s hands off the wheel and eyes off the roadway are going to be the highest risk,” VTTI researcher Susan Soccolich

How Truck Drivers and Autonomous Trucks Can Coexist as Technology Develops  

Autonomous trucking is on its way. Congress is holding hearings to try to figure out how to frame future policy and regulations, and autonomous tech developers are continuing to develop, test and refine the technology.

Senators Propose EV Fee for Highway Trust Fund 

Legislation to ensure electric vehicles contribute to a federal highway funding account was recently introduced in the U.S. Senate. Sponsored by Sen. Deb Fischer (R-Neb.), the Stop EV Freeloading Act is meant to guarantee that electric vehicles support the federal Highway Trust Fund. Currently, electric vehicles, or EVs, do not contribute to the fund, which is an account backed by revenue from federal taxes on gas and diesel fuel.

Crab Caper: Trucker Sleeps Through Theft of High-Dollar Seafood in Philadelphia 

Police in the City of Brotherly Love report that thousands of dollars worth of crab meat was stolen from a tractor-trailer on Wednesday, Oct. 4, while the driver snoozed. According to a report, thieves made off with 184 cases of the high-dollar product in the middle of the night.  The crab leg clusters, valued at $73,000, were stolen at around 1:30 a.m.

Spear Targets Truck Excise Tax, Legal Reform 

During his annual State of the Industry address at American Trucking Associations’ 2023 Management Conference & Exhibition ATA President Chris Spear emphasized a need for litigation reform and the repeal of a federal excise tax on new trucks. The ATA leader in his keynote speech to the federation described the impact the World War I-era 12% tax has on freight stakeholders. Spear explained to attendees at the conference that the tax results in “roughly $25,000 per power unit.” 

US Economy Tops Trucking Industry’s List of Challenges 

Economic jitters replaced fuel prices at the top of the report revealed Saturday at the American Truck Associations Management Conference and Exhibition. Fuel prices, on the rise for much of the year except for a brief respite from March top June, fell to third. Truck parking availability finished second, its highest finish since first making the list in 2012.

ATA Economist Issues Dire Prediction for Spot Market Carriers 

Any prospects for climbing out of the freight recession hinge on a supply-side correction rather than an increase in freight demand. Bob Costello, chief economist for the American Trucking Associations, told fleet attendees at the American Trucking Associations Management Conference and Exhibition, that carriers and new entrants heavily exposed to the spot market will be exiting the market at a higher rate.

Five Ways AI is Transforming the Trucking Industry 

There is no shortage of media chatter about the promise and peril of artificial intelligence (AI), and what it means for individuals and businesses the world over. We wanted to distill that down to five areas we’re seeing AI impact the trucking industry: autonomous trucks, safety and compliance, dispatch and routing, fraud detection and prevention, and workflow automations.

Trucking Stakeholders Tackle EV Challenges 

Infrastructure, Operational Costs, Truck Life Cycles Remain Unknowns. “We’re fully committed to building a zero-emission, carbon-neutral future,” said Greg Treinen, vice president of on highway market development at Daimler Truck North America. “But, in the meantime, diesel is still our primary source of fuel and looking to continue. We’re not done delivering on improvements to our diesel technology as well as just trying to continue to make that as clean as possible where our customers operate.”

DOL Nears Rollback of Trump-Era Independent Contractor Classification Rule 

A Department of Labor rulemaking to rescind a Trump-era rule for determining employee or independent contractor classification under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) has taken another step toward being implemented.

FMCSA Narrows ‘Emergency’ Relief to HOS Regs 

FMCSA published a final rule narrowing the scope of regs relief from some emergency declarations to just the hours of service driving limits, and for just 14 days rather than 30.

Cargo Theft is Skyrocketing. 

Cargo theft recording firm CargoNet recently released its 2023 Second Quarter Supply Chain Risk Trends Analysis, which indicated a 57% year-over-year increase in cargo theft, along with an average shipment value per event increase of nearly $100,000.

How Fleets Can Prep for California’s Clean Truck Check Program 

The California Air Resources Board is enacting a new emissions regulation that’s requiring all non-gasoline heavy-duty vehicles with a Class 4 gross weight rating of 14,000 lbs. or higher to pass an emissions inspection in order to operate in California. It’s set to go into effect at the end of the year. In preparation, CARB launched a website this October where truck operators can register their vehicles in the database and pay the $30 compliance fee.

Truck Costs Likely to Skyrocket in Coming Years 

Goaded by tightening emissions regulations, but stoked by rising labor costs and other factors, ACT Research forecasts medium- and heavy-duty vehicle costs will rise by between 12% and 14% as the EPA’s Clean Trucks regulation goes live in 2027.

New High-School Trucker-Training Curriculum Unveiled 

The Next Generation in Trucking Foundation (NGT) is launching a first-of-its-kind “NGT Curriculum Companion” to support high school Commercial Driver’s License (CDL) programs nationwide. The Curriculum, free to NGT members and sponsored schools, provides five parts of online modules aligned with the standards set by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s pre-CDL Entry Level Driver Training rules. It also includes classroom activities, videos, handouts and assessments for educators. It’s intended to support teachers for a yearlong CDL course, preparing high school students to successfully complete the CLP exam after they turn 18.

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