With every multiple shooting episode which is reported in the news, including those who were confirmed terrorists in San Bernardino, the White House takes the opportunity to politicise and to emphatically state the need to create more gun control laws for the United States. Even those who believe strongly in the 2nd Amendment have admitted that there needs to be restrictions on those who are allowed to have legal permits for their right to bear arms.
Note, there are presently restrictions on who can display their right to have a gun. The Gun Control Act of 1968 prohibits certain people from possessing a firearm. The possession of any firearm by one of these “prohibited persons” is a felony offense.
Before I go on, I want to say that many times logical ideas are turned into laws, created because at the time, they appear to make sense. No one knows this better than those in the those in the trucking industry. As so many of us say, just say that something is in the name of “safety” and you get everyone on board. Well almost everyone. Professional drivers, understand what is coming down the pike when they hear the “safety” case being spouted.
Recently, many have agreed from both sides of the aisle that those with “mental illness” should not own a gun. It sounds logical, correct?
But here is where things can be twisted and used for “another” agenda.
What would the criteria be to constitute a person having mental illness?
When I first heard that people with mental illness shouldn’t own a gun, it made sense to me. Of course we don’t want a lunatic to be a able to have a gun. But then I started thinking; Who are those who would be defining the term “mental illness”? Would it be those advocating strict gun control?
Almost Immediately it came to my mind, depression is considered a part of mental illness and that those with depression, no matter whether it be mild or severe, could theoretically be excluded from being able to have the right to bear arms. Then I took it a step further and thought, perhaps it could even be those who EVER experienced depression being added to that list.
Well I don’t know about you, but I don’t know anyone who has never had a bout with depression. But how would such a thing be able to be proven? I mean, if part of a gun application asked, “Have you ever had any form of depression”, you would probably say no, not even thinking that what you had at the time when your uncle Bob died was serious depression.
But today I read an article and it changed things. My suspicions became more real. The article read,
I’m not saying that Dr.’s aren’t sincerely concerned about people with depression. Instead it’s the idea that authorities. such as the the federal task force, can hide behind the act of “helping people”, then obtaining the data from those who are actually concerned, and eventually using the data for another agenda.
Could this really be used as part of the plan to remove our rights as gun owners? I don’t know, but it had crossed my mind, just sayin’.
Think about it, Those who want to change the 2nd amendment just have to logically create a group that can be added to the “Who can not own a gun in America?” list, then set the parameters and criteria for that list so that it will numerically include a high percentage of the population, and there goes your guns…. without even changing or removing the 2nd amendment.
For 20 years, one of the major concerns for veteran drivers and truck driver advocates has been the lack of clearly defined CDL (Commercial Driver License) training standards stated by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA).
The FMCSA mission statement is as follows:
The primary mission of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) is to reduce crashes, injuries and fatalities involving large trucks and buses.
It would only seem logical that the first and most important requirement to assure minimal crashes, injuries, and fatalities, would be to ensure that the training for drivers of vehicles, which can weigh upward to 80,000 pounds, be of the utmost priority. Unfortunately these standards have not been clearly defined by the FMCSA, and therefore many Truck Driving Schools have allowed profits to dictate quality of training offered to career seeking students.
After many years of continuous appeals to the FMCSA by those in the industry to create stricter standards to improve the training for future drivers, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) established the Entry-Level Driver Training Advisory Committee (ELDTAC) to conduct a negotiated rulemaking on entry-level training for drivers of commercial motor vehicles. The committee will provide recommendations based on a consensus-based process on the development of minimum training requirements for individuals applying for a commercial driver’s license, in accordance with the requirements of the Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century Act (MAP-21)
Now, for those not familiar with how trucking and the training to obtain a CDL works, here’s a brief summary.
You take a written test, just as you would to get a non-commercial license. If you pass, you receive a CLP ( Commercial Learners Permit) You then go to a truck driving school and pay anywhere from $1500- $7500 to receive enough instruction and training to be able to take a “Skills Test” to receive your CDL license ( You must have your CLP 14 days before being allowed to take the skills test.) While you have a CLP, you must have a CDL holder in the front seat at all times while driving.
Most quick training schools and company training schools are about 3 weeks in duration and offer little to no over the road driver training, usually teaching students on lots marked with cones.
Note: Although most students who graduate CDL school and then take Skills Test have little to no actual Over the Road (OTR) driving experience, there are schools which do offer more training. Many of these schools are either vo-tech or community colleges. There are also private schools offering much more training, preparing students responsibly. These schools do this because of their integrity and high standards, not because of government guidelines and rules.
Who gives the skills test? States develop their own tests which must meet the minimum Federal standards provided for in Subpart G and H of 49 CFR Part 383. Model driver and examiner manuals and tests have been prepared and distributed to the States to use, if they wish.
* Each basic knowledge test, i.e., the test covering the areas referred to in 49 CFR 383.111 for the applicable vehicle group, shall contain at least 30 items, exclusive of the number of items testing air brake knowledge.
* To pass the knowledge tests (general and endorsement), applicants must correctly answer at least 80 percent of the questions.
* To pass the skills test, applicants must successfully perform all the required skills (listed in 49 CFR 383.113 through 49 CFR 383.123)
A State may authorize a person (including another State, an employer, a private driver training facility or other private institution, or a department, agency or instrumentality of a local government) to administer the skills tests, if the following conditions are met:
* Tests must be the same as those given by the State.
* The third party has an agreement with the State containing, at a minimum, provisions that:
o Allow the FMCSA, or its representative, and the State to conduct random examinations, inspections, and audits without prior notice.
o Require the State to conduct on-site inspection at least yearly.
o Require that all third party examiners meet the same qualification and training standards as State examiners.
* At least annually, State employees must evaluate the programs by taking third party tests as if they were test applicants, or by testing a sample of drivers tested by the third party and then comparing pass/fail rates.
* Reserve unto the State the right to take prompt and appropriate remedial action against the third-party testers in the event that the third-party fails to comply with State or Federal standards for the CDL testing program, or with any other terms of the third-party contract.
Trucking Training Companies request more Leniency of training standards as FMCSA attempts to establish Stricter training standards.
Although, the ELDTAC committee appears to attempt to create a rule to IMPROVE training standards, C.R. England and CRST have ironically requested an exemption to reduce standards. Both C.R. England and CRST have requested that drivers who have their CLP and passed a Skills Test will be able to drive WITHOUT a CDL Holder sitting in the front seat next to them. This will allow the truck to RUN TEAM ( while the CLP holder has little to no OTR driving experience), running the truck 24/7 as each driver sleeps while the other drives. This is Team Driving, not new driver training.
FMCSA’s response to CRST’s exemption request should be this:
‘Because we are presently investigating and creating Training Standards for ENTRY LEVEL DRIVERS at the ELDTAC Committee , we can not offer you a decision at this time.’
A petition has been created on We the People to ensure training companies do not decrease the already lacking training standards.
Stop Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration from granting unsafe exemptions for truck driver trainees
Summary and Facts to know which describe the seriousness of this petition, including the dangers of inexperienced drivers on the highways, and the importance of commenting on the FMCSA Docket regarding CRST Exemption Request as well as the need to sign the Petition.
1) It is and has been known for many years( over 20) that students coming out of CDL SCHOOLS holding a CLP ( commercial learners permit) are not qualified to drive OTR as most have ZERO OTR driving experience from the schools.
2) CLP holders must take a Skills Test to receive their CDL license. The Skills test does not include OTR driving and the “tester” is in a grey area.
3) After the CLP holder passes the Skills Test, most of the time they do not have much more driving experience than they did when they first entered the Truck Driving School.
4) The Insurance companies understand this, and that is why MOST Companies CAN NOT hire a new CDL holder as the Insurance Company requires “X” amount of time driving experience before they will insure them. These Companies understand they do not have enough driving experience and are an accident risk.
HOWEVER: The large carriers are “Self-Insured” therefore they bypass not being able to “get insurance”, thus they take on new CDL holders to and act as “training company” These companies are called “training companies”, but are actually Team Driving Profit makers.
5) Many of these companies are awarded government subsidies for “training new CDL holders” and giving an opportunity for creating new jobs. This is a money maker for these companies, especially when the turnover rate is over 100% for these new drivers. The failure rate for new drivers coming into the industry remains HIGH also. Churning New Drivers is a profit maker for 2 reasons:
a) they receive government subsidies
b) They hire the new CDL Holder at much lower wages, hauling freight for as low as 15cpm, running team. Make no mistake, running that truck 24/7 while paying 2 drivers low wages is a MONEY MAKER.
6) The FMCSA understands the degree of lack of training of CDL schools as well as the exploitation of the Self Insured Carriers masquerading as Training Companies.
They know this because of extreme pressure from the Trucking Community and were compelled by MAP21 to create STANDARDS for ENTRY LEVEL TRAINING. The FMCSA ELDTAC committee meets to eventually establish final training standards. ( It has been over a year since the committee was created)
I myself have been writing about the dangers and exploitation of students from CDL Training Schools since 2000. Everyone in the industry knows many CDL Training Schools are a farce, teach little, and are a money maker. We recommend vo-tech and community colleges as well as a few private schools dedicated to superb training. We do not recommend carrier training schools.
7) According to the Laws the way they are written now, a CLP holder must have a CDL holder sitting in the front seat with them while they are driving. Notice it does not require that CDL holder in that seat to be a trainer, nor does it state that the CDL holder needs to have any required driving time experience.( as they are supervising the CLP holder who HAS LITTLE TO NO driving experience.) In other words, it is not uncommon to have a CLP with no driving experience, driving team with a CDL holder of 6 months or less!! So much for FMCSA being about SAFETY!
NOTE: Even though this may sound ludicrous to most, what it more outrageous, is the fact that training companies are requesting exemptions and more leniency from these already unsafe requirements!
8) The CLP holder who passes the “skills test” must pick up their hard copy of their license in their home state. Training companies usually send them by Bus to pick up their license.
9) Now, CRST is asking for an exemption, saying that their CLP holder who has passed the so called “skills” test” should be able to drive with a CDL holder who DOES NOT HAVE TO SIT IN THE FRONT SEAT WITH THEM. They state that it is a formality to pick up their CDL in their Home State, and it is causing financial hardship on CRST, requesting that the FMCSA allow the CLP holder to DRIVE TEAM ( not having to have the CDL holder in the seat next to them, but rather sleeping in the bunk) so they can “drive the CLP holder” home, and moving freight and allowing for the CLP holder to make $$
The problem with this is:
a) the CLP holder makes close to nothing as long as they do not have their CDL in hand
b) CRST would have up to 6 months to get them home, meaning they have 6 months to exploit the driver for hardly any pay . Most quit before the 6 months…. And then owe them 5-7 thousand dollars for their schooling. Yup, that free schooling wasn’t so free after all.
The Petition must be signed. Please take the time and fill in your info and then confirm when you receive your email confirmation.
The Importance of the Petition is to create an even greater awareness to the general public who have no idea of how unsafe the roads are as they drive the highways with people who are required to have ZERO driving experience and just a permit.
Remember, the petition was created because the FMCSA already granted CR ENGLAND the exemption, despite of 100’s of comments opposing and saying how unsafe it is. THEY GRANTED IT ANYWAY.
We are hoping the petition will override ( OR PREVENT) another poor safety decision should it again be made by the FMCSA, allowing even more leniency, rather than increasing Entry Level Training standards, which is what they are supposed to be in the process of DOING!
2) Also note; by hiring new CDL and CLP graduates at Low wages, this keeps experienced driver wages down as well as freight rates, which keep owner operator profits also down.
3) We need to Demand statistics for accidents from drivers with less than 1 years experience. These records are not to be found anywhere, and yet the safety departments have the data. They are not allowing the data to be known.
It is these statistics that are combined with ALL CDL drivers data, that is causing more regulations and “safety” gadgets to be applied in Trucks.
THE BOTTOM LINE IS THIS; IMPROVE SAFETY BY INCREASING TRAINING STANDARDS (along with eliminating racing the 14 hour clock) … and wages will go up and the need for more regulations will be lessened.
In the aftermath of yet another trucker being shot last month— this time, 72 year old senior citizen Lloyd Jerry Matson, Sr., who still works as a truck driver, the Chairman of the Small Business in Transportation Coalition (“SBTC”) issued another statement today challenging the National Rifle Association (“NRA”) to change what the SBTC Chairman believes is its current, failed course and immediately join the SBTC’s “Michael’s Law Amendment” bandwagon in the interest of protecting and promoting the Second Amendment rights of all Americans. According to “Livetrucking.com,” Matson could not find a safe place to park and was shot after parking in an unsafe location.
SBTC Chairman James Lamb said he has yet to receive a response to his November 2015 request to the NRA for NRA’s support for the SBTC’s proposed amendment to current Federal law codified at 18 U.S. Code 926A. Lamb’s proposed bill, referenced below in its entirety, would expand the existing Federal “Interstate Transportation of Firearms” statute into a right-to-carry law for all Americans engaged in crossing state lines whether working –or engaged as consumers– in interstate commerce. Lamb indicated the recent shooting of Mr. Matson made the NRA’s delay in responding concerning. Lamb advised there have been over 500 workers in the transportation industry murdered in the past decade, according to the US Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics.
“While the NRA thinks about our proposal, we are losing transportation workers to homicide at the average rate of 4 people every month,” Lamb said.
PROPOSED MICHAEL’S LAW AMENDMENT
18 U.S. Code 926A; (Renamed): Interstate possession, transportation and carrying of firearms…
(1) Notwithstanding any other provision of any Federal law or any Federal rule, an American citizen who is not otherwise prohibited by this chapter from possessing, carrying, transporting, shipping, or receiving a firearm shall be entitled to carry on his person in a loaded, readily-accessible capacity and transport a firearm for any lawful purpose from any place in any state to any other place in a different state in accordance with the Second Amendment to the United States Constitution.
(2) FEDERAL PREEMPTION The states are hereby preempted from regulating firearms that are transported into, out of, or through their state by an American citizen who is not a resident of that state, regardless of whether or not the firearm is carried in a loaded, readily-accessible capacity, pursuant to the Commerce Clause of the United States Constitution.
Offered as what Lamb refers to as a “compromise bill,” that is– a compromise to the SBTC’s original “Mike’s Law” bill that called for an national firearms permitting system for those working in interstate commerce, a bill which NRA and NRA members objected to as a special carve out bill for truckers that some feared would create a national database that could later be used to confiscate firearms, Lamb’s Plan B bill, dubbed the “Michael’s Law Amendment,” would effect Federal preemption against anti-gun states and afford all Americans a Federal right-to-carry into, out of, or through any state. The proposed statute prohibits a state from regulating the gun rights of American citizens crossing state lines if they are not residents of that state, thus respecting “states’ rights” guaranteed by the 10th Amendment.
Like the original “Mike’s Law,” the new bill is also named after over-the-road truck driver, Michael Boeglin who was sadly murdered and burned in his truck on June 26, 2014. Lamb advised he secured permission to name this bill after Michael Boeglin from Boeglin’s widow, Ashley Boeglin. Like Matson, Boeglin, too, had been forced to park in an unsafe location due to a lack of safe nearby parking, according to a 2014 report by The Trucker.
“We believe the national reciprocity path the NRA has been on for about a decade now clearly has not worked. And even if it somehow were to get through Congress in one of its recent versions– and were to be signed by the president– we think it would be successfully challenged and overturned on 10th Amendment grounds at the insistence of anti-gun states that don’t want to be coerced by the Federal government into accepting other states’ firearms permits. That is, we believe the NRA has essentially been spinning its wheels for nearly 10 years, rather than offering its members and all pro-gun Americans a real, bona fide solution to the Second Amendment crisis. In contrast, we believe a bill like our “Michael’s Law Amendment,” which is firmly grounded on the ‘Commerce Clause’ of the U.S. Constitution, would withstand judicial scrutiny and be upheld if challenged. In other words, its time for the NRA to adopt a ‘Plan B’ and the SBTC’s Michael’s Law Amendment is it,” SBTC Chairman James Lamb said today.
Lamb’s 2014-2015 Petition to Congress has been signed by more than 11,000 Americans who support the gun rights of truckers like Matson, who are currently on the road without a lawful means to protect themselves.
“We listened to NRA members and heard them loud and clear. We are excited by the prospects of success if the NRA gets on board. In fact, last April, U.S. Senator Marco Rubio personally expressed to me he is in support of our right-to-carry efforts and even indicated he would sign such a gun bill into law if elected president. So we look forward to an NRA backed, Rubio-sponsored bill in the Senate and a champion in the House to stand up for Americans’ gun rights,” Lamb said.
Lamb indicated he hopes on behalf of nearly 9 million Americans who work in the transportation industry, many of whom are NRA members, that the SBTC would hear from the NRA that they have decided to support the Michael’s Law Amendment and stand up for all Americans’ gun rights in a real, meaningful way.
The SBTC is a network of transportation professionals, associations, and industry suppliers that is on the front lines when it comes to issues that affect transportation professionals in small business. We seek to promote and protect the interests of small businesses in the transportation industry. We support teamwork, cooperation, transparency, and partnerships among truckers, carriers, brokers, and shippers and seek to promote ethical business practices and do business with the utmost integrity.
It’s 2016 and many of us are reflecting upon 2015 and so many of the events which have taken place. There were many highlights during 2015 , including one of the most controversial of the year, FMCSA’s Final Rule for the ELD mandate.
The ELD mandate will apply to all drivers required to keep records of duty status, except drivers who
1. keep records of duty status in 8 or fewer days out of every 30 working days,
2. drivers in drive-away and tow-away operations and
3. truckers operating vehicles older than model year 2000.
The mandate will take effect 12/2017.
COERCION RULE– Another FMCSA new rule to protect drivers from being compelled to violate federal safety regulations was published Nov.30 2015 in the Federal Register. Known as the “driver coercion” rule, it provides FMCSA with the authority to go after not only carriers, but also shippers, receivers, and transportation intermediaries. This has a 60 day wait time to take effect.
The long awaited highway bill, FAST Act of 2015, a five-year highway bill which passed both houses of Congress and was signed into law by President Barack Obama Dec. 4, 2015. In it were many victories for drivers, including the the striking of the Denham Amendment which would have directly spelled out that states cannot regulate truckers who fall under federal hours-of-service regulations. This amendment could have derailed efforts to reform driver pay and compensating drivers for detention time.
Transportation Bill included the following
CSA Reform.As required by the law, the FMCSA pulled the Compliance Safety Accountability Safety Measurement System and its BASIC categories of carrier safety analysis and evaluation from public view
Detention time study: The bill requires FMCSA to study and produce a report on how truck driver detention at shippers and receivers impacts drivers, their schedules, their pay and impedance of flow of U.S. freight. –
Insurance rule study: Congress directs FMCSA to further study carrier liability insurance minimums and before initiating a rule to raise them
Under-21 truckers: A controlled study, to be performed by FMCSA, that will collect data on under-21 truckers who are former members of the military or reserves
Size/weight reform: No measures to change truck size and weight standards in the U.S. made it in the bill.
Carrier hiring standards’ was struck down. The House highway bill sought to put in place criteria that brokers, shippers and others would have been encouraged to use when making carrier hiring decisions. One of the criterion — which called for shippers and brokers to hire only carriers with “Satisfactory” safety ratings. Again, struck down.
34-hour restart in July 2013 until a study can be done REMAINS as part of the highway bill
As in the previous spending bill of 2014, the provision remains and states that the driver is not required to have two 1 a.m. to 5 a.m. periods as part of the 34-hour off-duty period. Drivers are not required to wait 168 hours from the beginning of one restart period to the beginning of the next one. To have a valid restart, a property-carrying driver must simply have 34 consecutive hours off duty.
Other Trucking Highlights of 2015
Truck Parking Crisisfinally gets the attention it deserves.Wall Street Journal hones in on truck parking as well as others journals also
National Truck Parking Coalition was formed as a result of the hard work of Hope Rivenburg and her Jason’s Law victory in Map21 – US DOT truck parking survey leads to pledge & National Coalition on Truck Parking
Kenny Cappel wins the“Right to Sleep” CDL driver Kenny Cappel was arrested for obstructing justice by Georgia Motor Carrier Compliance Officer Leigh A. Parsons as he refused to violate the Federally mandated Hours of Service rule. This led to SBTC (Small Business in Transportation Coalition) to File a Police Misconduct Complaint with U.S. Dept. of Justice. Result was Trucker victory for Obstruction of Justice “Right to Sleep” court case.
Trucker Driver Kenny Capell -Case Dismissed- Charged with Obstruction of Justice after being woken up during mandated 10 hour break
Trucker Goals for 2016
WAGESand the perceived Truck Driver Shortage – and the affects upon Driver Wages, which for some reason began to take on an increased sense of urgency in 2015, even more so than in the past.
But was there really a driver shortage to the degree and desperation that one was being led to believe? The simplified answer is YES and NO.
The “Yes” part,; drivers are leaving the industry, whether that be from retiring, illness, or they just had enough of regulations, life on the road, and low wages. The new generation was not as eager to be a part of the trucking industry either, as the lifestyle and sacrifice does not line up with the low wages being offered.
The “No” part of the driver shortage answer is because there remain plenty of drivers looking for work, but they, for some reason are not hireable, either because of CSA and the associated PSP driver scores, or tainted DAC reporting, or simply choose not to work for Low Wages. The ATA blamed it on driver job hopping. But why are they hopping?
Read more ” Defining the Truck Driver Shortage and the “Qualified Driver”
This year we believe that Truck Driver Wagesare among the most crucial issues for professional drivers. Although there are other very crucial topics to be concerned about, Driver Wages seem to be consistently affected by all other concerns. As long as professional drivers are paid piece work ( CPM) and are racing a 14 hour clock, wages will be the center of all other concerns.
Examples: ELD’s– Drivers are most concerned about ELD’s because they feel they will limit their wages. Solution: Salary or hourly pay. Amount depending on experience. Be paid for all time.
Hour of Service (HOS) Drivers time eaten by 14 hour clock when waiting for delays such as detention time, weather, etc… Solution: Salary or hourly pay. Amount depending on experience. Be paid for all time.
Truck Parking- Drivers need to rest in order to safely drive and comply with hours of surface. Many times there is not enough parking so drivers travel to find parking all while racing the clock ( As was the case with the Tracey Morgan accident in 2014) Solution: Salary or hourly pay. Amount depending on experience. Be paid for all time.
Speed Limiters( proposed rule)- Drivers need to be able to drive highway speed limits in order to drive more miles/create more revenue. Solution: Salary or hourly pay. Amount depending on experience. Be paid for all time.
CDL Training– Entry Level Drivers being brought in at LOW wages competing with veteran drivers. Solution: Salary or hourly pay. Amount depending on experience. Be paid for all time.
Cheap Freight– Company drivers used as pawn to negotiate freight rates. This results in cheap freight and affect owner operators revenue and profits. Solution: Salary or hourly pay. Amount depending on experience. Be paid for all time.
On Saturday January 9th at 6PM ET, we will be having the first show of 2016- We’ll be Entering Trucking 2016 with the most urgent and controversial issues for professional truck drivers.
We’re not only going to discuss YOUR concerns for this year, but the plans of attack on how to address them. What are your top issues for 2016? Wages?, HOS?, Detention Pay?, ELD’s?, Truck Parking?, Regulations? But more importantly, what are your thoughts and ideas to confront these issues?
Better than a Load Board, an app that is leveling the playing field for owner operators, offering fair, ethical and trustworthy Loads directly to their smart phones and email.
XYPPER APP– Is a Freight Shipping Transportation Management Solution for Carriers, Shippers, and Brokers. Loads sent directly to Carrier phone. Numerous Features not found in other Load offering/matching Apps, include automated Invoicing and BOL Solutions.
An invaluable App for independents/owner operators, where ethical brokers, shippers, and Carriers work together to keep trucks always loaded and freight always moving.
As indicated, a major goal behind the Xypper App, is to reach a level of higher standards, meaning to be able to unite those within the industry who believe that ethics are priority above and beyond what is often presently expected.
Stop searching for loads- Be notified via smart phone instead
Subscribers to Xypper are matched according to; truck type, location, route, availability, available capacity.
Instant load matching availability from the time the load is posted to YOUR phone.
Reduce Down Time- Always stay Loaded- Increase Revenue
Reduce paperwork!! Xypper generates paperwork and sends it to your email
Rated Carriers Shippers and Brokers
Real Time order tracking capability to your customer
FREE for Truckers and No Commitment
Approximately 9.2 billion tons of freight are moved annually. In order for this to seamlessly happen, the transportation industry has many facets and players such as shippers, brokers, factors, and carriers. Among carriers are owner operators, specifically independents, who each year seem to contend with more challenges as they strive for their business to remain profitable.
Owner Operators are required to be business savvy, understanding their business costs and the ability to quickly recognize adequate freight rate offers specific to their individual personal business model.
A good number of owner operators use load boards to keep track of available freight, others, use freight brokers, and still others use both. Keeping your truck loaded with profitable loads is one crucial aspect of an independents’ business which will define their degree of success. Along with keeping up with available loads is making sure that all the paperwork is in order, verified, and submitted in a timely manner, in order to assure payment.
When carriers conduct their business with shippers and freight brokers, it is imperative that carriers follow through with due diligence to make sure the integrity of the shipper/broker they’re dealing with is honest and reputable. Many a carrier has fallen prey to shipping and brokering scams and in the process has lost thousands of dollars.
On the other hand, shippers and brokers must do the same thing! There are many honest brokers and shippers who have hired carriers who have not followed through on their commitment of contract. Again, due diligence on all sides is imperative.
FMCSA Safety Measurement System
Safety and Fitness Electronic Records System ( SAFER)
By signing up those within the industry who drivers find “trust worthy”, and then sharing this information with them, we are confident that owner operators will find this App to be a tremendous benefit in 2 ways. The combination of an App with benefits which exceed all others, along with the “trust factor”, is a combination which will eventually benefit everyone involved, and frankly, once it is more widely known, it will be a tough app to beat.
In Early November, The House passed their 325 billion dollar long term Transportation Bill. Within the bill were items of concern for drivers, including the Denham Amendment, which would prove, if passed, to negatively affect driver wages. The amendment was slipped into the House Bill at the 11th hour, suggesting that its true agenda for being there would hopefully go unnoticed.
The Denham amendment was not included in the Senate version of their highway bill. In order for an amendment to become law, it must first be a part of the final Transportation Bill, and before the Transportation bill can be final, both the House and the Senate must agree, including all of the provisions.
In order to get to this final version of the highway bill, a conference committee made up of the representatives (conferees) – from both the House and Senate are meeting this week to negotiate their differences in the 2 bills.
The decision as to whether or not to include the provision eliminating your rights (Denham Amendment) was scheduled for November 20, 2015, when funding would run out. However, the U.S. House passed by a voice vote late Monday a short-term highway funding bill that extends federal highway funding to Dec. 4.
How concerned should drivers be and why? If the Denham amendment is added to the final Transportation Bill, it would be devastating to wages for professional drivers. In a nutshell, trucking companies would legally only have to pay drivers for the miles they drive, not any other work they do.
Last week we began an all out awareness and action campaign, requesting that professional drivers call their representatives to put an end to the Denham Amendment and unfair wages. THIS CALL STILL STANDS 202-224-3121
On Saturday November 14th we aired a radio show on AskTheTrucker “live’ where our guest Aashish Desai, attorney advocate, explained exactly what the amendment is and how it would affect trucker wages. You can listen to the specific segment of the 2 part show here,
During the show, Jerry Fritz, a 50 year veteran of the trucking industry called in and had this to say,
“This is the most egregious and dangerous act that is about to confront and affect truck drivers and their families in the 50 or more years I know.” Jerry Fritz
How concerned should drivers be about the Denham Amendment?
“This is the most frightening piece of trucking legislation I have read. It literally pays the driver for time on duty driving only. Nothing else. It could literally do away with the On Duty Not Driving line or any compensation for any work done when not driving, hold and detention, loading and unloading, fuel bonuses, safety bonuses, just sitting in the first seat and driving down the road on duty driving. You will literally become steering wheel holders at the stroke of a pen, because that is all you will be paid for. I will say this one more time, drivers. You do not need a union to do collective bargaining.” Andrew Richard Eatough
When you want a law passed, just include the word SAFE
As drivers know, whenever they see a new proposed rule or law which claims to be in the name of “safety” ,drivers know they must stop and look carefully, as this will usually mean another detrimental outcome is in store for them. The Denham Amendment is no exception.
This is true from the article from California Trucking Association
“Representatives Jeff Denham (R-CA) and his allies offered this amendment to H.R. 3763 (highway reauthorization bill) to clarify that state break requirements and state laws restricting productivitybased pay are pre-empted under federal law.
They continue to say, “The amendment will help preserve the ability of trucking companies to continue to provide safe, productive, and efficient services.”
Read that carefully again, the words “productivity based pay”… in other words… “ only paid for miles driven” Now read this once more also, “The amendment will help preserve the ability of trucking companies to continue to provide safe, productive, and efficient services.” Here is that word “safe”, and notice it’s associated with the words “productive” and ”efficient.”
I ask you this, how is it possible for a driver to be safe, knowing they will only be paid for their miles driven, and all while racing an obstacle and challenge ridden 14 hour clock?
How is it safe to be held up at a dock, not being compensated for the time you are detained, and yet you then have to “race” to make your next appointment, as you fight to legally get enough miles for a decent paycheck? Not only that, but encouraged by your employer to “strategically log”, so you can maximize your hours. In doing so, this assures your company gets their “product moved efficiently” while not having to pay you for any of your waiting time. Safe? I think not.
I ask you drivers, why are we consistently asking for more miles to earn more money? Why aren’t we asking to be paid for ALL TIME? Which reminds me,
Here is part of the Denham Amendment that is most concerning to OTR Truckers, or at least it should be
‘‘(B) A State, political subdivision of a State, or political authority of 2 or more States may not enact or enforce a law, regulation, or other provision having the force and effect of law that requires a motor carrier that compensates employees on a piece-rate basis to pay those employees separate or additional compensation, provided that the motor carrier pays the employee a total sum that when divided by the total number of hours worked during the corresponding work period is equal to or greater than the applicable hourly minimum wage of the State, political subdivision of the State, or political authority of 2 or more States.
As lawmakers continue resolving the differences between the House and Senate versions of the Highway Bill this week in Washington, we would like to draw your attention to language that, if included, is certain to impact your bottom line. This language was introduced via amendment, by Congressman Jeff Denham (R-CA/10th), as a result of a 9th circuit court decision to enforce a 100 year old law in California pertaining to meal and rest breaks for employees. However, the language also includes an ambitious overreach that would limit the states’ ability to allow for any other driver compensation except mileage pay. OOIDA stands firmly opposed to this language.
The Denham amendment was passed by the House in early November by a 248-180 vote, but was not included in the Senate’s version of the highway bill. OOIDA needs you to speak out and oppose the Denham amendment because it would unravel mandated fair-pay for drivers and would empower large carriers to further reduce driver wages. It would also gut the ability for states to address critical items like payment for detention time, safety training and medical examinations or other costs associated with licensing procedures.
“But as lawmakers in the House and Senate move to conference to work out differences in their bills before funding runs out on Nov. 20, we must insist that lawmakers not eliminate meal and rest break provisions that allow truckers to receive a much-needed respite while going about the rigors of their jobs. They should also remove language which would directly hinder the ability of drivers who are paid on a piece rate basis to receive the full wages they deserve for a hard day’s work.”
Drivers, make no mistake, The Denham Amendment would ensure that trucking companies would NOT have to ever pay you for ALL your time, but would only have to pay you for what you “produce”, or miles driven.
This bill is designed to meet the self-interest of the trucking companies while undermining fairness for workers, safety for all drivers, and the rights of the states to enact laws designed to protect workers and advance the health and safety of the citizens of the state.
What is the justification to add the Denham Amendment to the Transportation Bill?
The amendment was proposed as a solutions to what many see as state-to-state encroachment (particularly, today, in California) on federal authority over transportation. The Federal Aviation Administration Act’s section on intrastate trucking services effectively de-regulated intrastate transportation in 1994, turning those states that continued to set rates for intrastate carriers, into what the national industry had become by that time, in large part, following interstate deregulation that began with the 1980 Motor Carrier Act.
Because there are those who desired to fit the amendment to suit their agenda, the Denham Amendment appears to be redefining legislation, even suggesting that Congress intended back in 1994 when it passed the FAAAA, to in fact preempt ( prevent) all states’ rights from maintaining or enacting their own wage laws, including minimum wage laws and meal and rest break laws, in relation to truck drivers.
However, there is no such express intent to be found ANYWHERE in the 1994 Act.
Moreover, in the Dilts v. Penske decision, the Ninth Circuit ruled last year that in fact no such preemption based on the FAAAA existed, either express or implied. Thereafter, the United States Supreme Court denied review of the decision, making it the binding law of the Ninth Circuit.
The Denham Bill says that all these state laws are “preempted” by the federal deregulation law. The trucking industry has argued this issue and lost in the federal and state courts. The Supreme Court refused to even hear them. They now seek to run around these court decisions by slipping in this amendment.
To strengthen the argument for states’ laws, there is the default and minimum wage protection law in the country shown in the Fair Labor Standards Act – FLSA, which provides just that – minimumprotections. Moreover, the FLSA specifically includes a “savings clause”, which Congress expressly reserved to all the states the right to enact additionalwage laws which could offer their workers rights in excess of the minimums provided by the FLSA. They further provided that the states could never offer less than that provided by the FLSA. In other words, the FLSA was established as a minimum for workers pay rights, but certainly not a ceiling.
Consistent with the rights afforded by the FLSA, California and many other states have in fact enacted wage laws and protections which exceed the FLSA’s minimums.
It appears now however, Representative Denham seeks to default back to the minimum protections afforded by the FLSA, by preempting states laws that exceed those allowed at the federal level, as revised by the Motor Carriers Act.
The Denham Amendment would, if included, essentially eradicate any state’s laws, which were created to protect drivers from wage theft. The amendment will allow trucking companies to pay drivers only for the time they spend driving, despite the fact that drivers are required to spend a great deal of time performing non-driving duties in fulfillment of their employment, often well in excess of 20% of their work day.
The (ATA), has attempted to have meal and rest breaks thrown out by the federal courts but have lost.. Again, The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals has ruled that such breaks are not a violation of U.S. law. Now they are trying a different back door approach, Congress.
This pending amendment intendeds to provide to the industry an altered interpretation of the law ,which the courts, including even the Supreme Court, would not issue.
SO if the courts rule against you…. Go find a Congressman.
So I, along with many others are calling upon truckers and their families to act swiftly, and Call your Rep at the US Capitol Switchboard today before it’s too late at, 202-224-3121
At 6PM ET ” The importance of ‘Mike’s Law’ and the CDL driver” Mike’s Law bill for Americans working in interstate commerce, protects and promotes the Second and Fourteenth Amendment Rights of Americans working in interstate commerce, allowing them to be able to carry firearms for self protection nationwide. Many Professional drivers carry legally, having their concealed carry permit from their home state. But many times the issue comes up where a drivers’ home state carry permit is not acknowledged in another state. It can be confusing as there are state reciprocity laws, and they are complicated, especially in states such as NY, NJ, and Illinois. Here is an example of how Concealed Carry Permit Reciprocity Maps
Mike’s Law would set up an EXTRA, OPTIONAL permitting system that overrides anti-gun states on the basis of Federal power which regulates interstate commerce. So for example, if you work in interstate commerce, and you are traveling through New York and law enforcement asks to see your state permit, you get to say “Aha, I have a Mike’s Law Federal permit” and that trumps their state laws. Read ABC News
James Lamb- Chairman of Small Business in Transportation Coalition (SBTC)
SBTC Chairman James Lamb joins us as our first guest. He has asked the NRA to support the SBTC’s proposed bill entitled “Americans Working in Interstate Commerce Protection Act,” (commonly referred to as “Mike’s Law” named after an over-the-road truck driver named Michael Boeglin who was murdered and burned in his truck on June 26, 2014), which calls for the creation of a new business carry firearms permitting program for Americans working across state lines.
The amendment, introduced by Representative Jeff Denham from Turlock, California, has introduced legislation which could substantially reduce the amount truckers are compensated and eliminate their right to take breaks under the laws provided by their state. After battling in the courts for years (trucking companies) and losing these issues, the trucking industry is now trying to sneak in a provision eliminating your rights in a larger transportation bill in hopes that the provision will go unnoticed.
Read more what the Teamsters had to say about the amendment “House Moves Multi-Year Transportation Bill Forward, but Concerns for Drivers Remain”
“But as lawmakers in the House and Senate move to conference to work out differences in their bills before funding runs out on Nov. 20, we must insist that lawmakers not eliminate meal and rest break provisions that allow truckers to receive a much-needed respite while going about the rigors of their jobs. They should also remove language which would directly hinder the ability of drivers who are paid on a piece rate basis to receive the full wages they deserve for a hard day’s work.”
Our guest will be attorney and advocate, Aashish Desai of the Desai Law Firm
Mr Desai represent thousands of truck drivers in wage disputes with their employers. His firm has spent the last several years filing wage and hour class actions against the trucking industry in California. He has reviewed tens of thousands of payroll documents, sat through hundreds of truck driver and industry depositions, and knows the real reason for this amendment to existing law.
DRIVERS: Your urgent action is needed to stop THE DENHAM AMENDMENT from happening! A decision as to whether or not to include the provision eliminating your rights will be made by November 20, 2015.
Act now! Contact each representative below and let them know that you do not support the Denham Amendment to the Transportation Bill.
Sam Graves (R-Mo.): (202) 225-7041 Jerrold Nadler (D-N.Y.);(202) 225-5635
Candice Miller (R-Mich.): (202) 225-2106 Corrine Brown (D-Fla.); (202) 225-0123
Rick Crawford (R-Ark.): (202) 225-4076
Eddie Bernice Johnson (D-Texas) (202) 225-8885
Lou Barletta (R-Pa.): (202) 225-6511 Elijah Cummings (D-Md.); (202) 225-4741
Blake Farenthold (R-Texas); (202) 225-7742 Rick Larsen (D-Wash.); (202) 225-2605
Bob Gibbs (R-Ohio); (202) 225-6265 Michael Capuano (D-Mass.); (202) 225-5111
Jeff Denham (R-Calif.); (202) 225-4540 Grace Napolitano (D-Calif.); (202) 225- 5256
Reid Ribble (R-Wis.); (202) 225-5665 Daniel Lipinski (D-Ill.); (202) 225-5701
Scott Perry (R-Pa.); (202)225-5836 Steve Cohen (D-Tenn.); (202) 225-3265
Rob Woodall (R-Ga.); (202) 225-4272 Albio Sires (D-N.J.) (202) 225-7919
John Katko (R-N.Y.); (202) 225-3701
Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-D.C.) (202) 225-8050
Brian Babin (R-Texas); (202) 225-1555 Cresent Hardy (R-Nev.) (202) 225-9894
Garret Graves (R-La.) (202) 225-3901
I have concern for veterans and the cost of health care. I also have concern for road safety. I don’t think exempting VA health care providers from the National Registry of Certified Medical Examiners (National Registry) is a good idea. Below is my alternative. It addresses the concerns of health care cost for veterans, maintains the constancy and integrity of the National Registry system and maintains the ability to transfer medical certificate information electronically to the state driver’s licensing agencies, thus, eliminating the need for CMV drivers to take their records into the SDLA ( state driver’s licensing agencies) office.
I understand that some CMV drivers are veterans who qualify for Veterans’ Affairs (VA) Health Benefits, yet, are required to undergo a physical examination by a National Registry Certified Medical Examiner. I also understand that some of these drivers are concerned about the additional cost for the examination since few VA health care providers are listed on the National Registry. In addition, I understand that many drivers prefer to see their primary care provider for their FMCSA medical certificate. In the paragraphs below I address these concerns and offer my alternative.
I propose that congress draft and pass a bill that requires referral to the National Registry provider and reimbursement of costs for those veterans who are CMV drivers and qualify for VA benefits. This should be done if the VA health care center does not employ a certified medical examiner. This referral and reimbursement process is already utilized by the VA when a veteran needs care of a specialist not available at the VA Health center. My alternative does not set a precedent and it addresses the cost and accessibility of the National Registry certified medical examiners for veterans who qualify for VA healthy benefits.
My reasons for offering this alternative are listed below.
Veteran Health Care
1) The need for the National Registry
Prior to the establishment of the National Registry, many CMV drivers saw their primary care provider to obtain their medical certificates. Over time it was discovered that most primary care providers are not familiar with
a) the role and responsibility of a CMV driver
b) the difference between operating a CMV and automobile
c) the FMCSA regulations and guidance. Serious crashes involving loss of life resulted from improperly medically certified drivers. Thus, Congress mandated that the Agency develop a method for ensuring that health care professionals performing the physical examinations are trained and proficient in the requirements of driving. The National Registry Program was developed over a period of several years and was published for public comment as required. Thus public input was included.
2) Primary health care professionals qualifications.
Primary health care professionals as well as those listed on the National Registry are qualified medical professionals, licensed to practice in the United States. But, just as some medical professionals take courses and board certification examinations to become certified as a specialist (e.g. endocrinologist, cardiologist, etc.), so, too, health care professionals take the training and the tests to become proficient in transportation health, to become certified on the National Registry. The professionals on the National Registry understand the FMCSA regulations and can synthesize the driver’s medical information with the regulations and the ability to safely operate a CMV in interstate commerce. National registry Medical Examiners also contact and obtain information for the primary care provider as needed.
Several studies have shown that since primary care providers have a personal relationship with their patient they often will bend to the patient’s requests to help their patient receive a benefit. In the past, some of these primary care providers have issued medical certificates when the driver’s medical condition was not conducive to safe operation of a CMV in interstate commerce.
3) Inconsistency of driver qualifications.
Congressman Woodall’s bill exempts VA health care professionals from the National Registry and gives some CMV drivers the ability to see their primary care provider while others CMV drivers must go to a National Registry provider — so a double standard will be set and inconsistency will result.
4) Adverse impact on electronic transfer of medical certificates to SDLAs
Mr. Woodall’s bill also impacts the data entry system that electronically transfers medical certificate information to the SDLAs for CMV driver licenses. Drivers and SDLAs requested that driver medical certificates be electronically transferred from the Medical Examiner through the National Registry to the SDLAs. FMCSA just finalized a regulation to enable this function. If CMV drivers are examined and issued medical certificates for a medical provider not on the National Registry, the data transfer function will be circumvented and the driver will need to make the medical certificate into the SDLA. The electronic data transfer system will be adversely affected.
5) Veteran Affairs Health Care Clinics
VA Health Clinics are overwhelmed with numbers of veterans seeking care. This is well documented. Thus, it may be difficult for CMV drivers to get a timely appointment for a medical examination to obtain a CMV driver’s medical certificate. By utilizing a referral and reimbursement process, the VA Health center will minimize the number of patients to be seen at its facility and meet the CMV driver’s need.
I am concerned about veterans and all CMV drivers. But I am also concerned about the safety of our roads. . I believe veteran’s concerns can be integrated with concerns for the safety of our roads and integrated into the already existing system.
I recommend that you consider my ideas and take action writing to your congressman and to the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee’s Subcommittee on Highways and Transit. To learn more about the committee and which congressman serves on it., go to: Transportation House
Contact information fro writing or collating the committee is:
Real-Time Truck Parking Space Availability Information
At Rest Areas
WHAT: The I-95 Corridor Coalition, an alliance of transportation agencies along the Eastern Seaboard, is testing an automated technology to advise over-the-road commercial vehicle drivers on the real-time availability of truck parking spaces. This effort will initially involve two public rest areas in Virginia and Maryland. The Truck ‘N ParkDemonstration System can be accessed by website or phone.
WHO: Truckers traveling northboundalong the I-95 corridor are invited to try out the system.
WHY: Save time and quickly find parking spaces when you are nearing a break.
WHERE: The demonstration system provides the number of empty parking spaces in real time at the following public rest area locations:
I-95 Ladysmith Rest Area, Northbound, Ladysmith, VA (MM 107, approximately 30 miles north of Richmond).
I-95 Welcome Center, Northbound, Laurel, MD (MM 37, approximately 20 miles south of Baltimore).
WHEN: The test period will begin on November 20, 2015, and continue for approximately four months. During that period, truckers may use the system as often as needed. There is no charge for using the system. This is your opportunity to test the system and furnish feedback.
HOW: To access the Truck ‘N Park system, please do one or more of the following:
Before beginning your trip, go to the website, I95truckparking.com. Click on “Parking Map.” Then click on the large red “dots” to display current parking information at Ladysmith or the Maryland Welcome Center.
From the road, when safe to do so, call 855-TRK-PARK (855-875-7275). Menu options will be verbally listed for you. When prompted, say “Find Parking” or “List Locations.” Then say “Ladysmith” or “Maryland Welcome Center” for current parking information at those lots.
The system also has a specialized Call-Back feature which automatically calls your cell phone with updates on the number of empty parking spaces in the lot you’ve chosen. There are two ways to set up a call back:
From the website, select “Call Back Setup.” Register for the service (we do not track your information), select the lot, and schedule the call back. If you need help, see the “FAQ” section on the website.
On the phone system, say “Call Me Back.” Then say “Ladysmith” or “Maryland Welcome Center.” Select the time interval for the call back.
BE SAFE: While driving, calls to the Truck ‘N Park system should be made using a hands-free device only. When a call back is received, please take the call only when it is safe to do so. If you are unable to answer, the system will stop calling after several rings and try you again later. Safety first!
PRIVACY: Your privacy will be maintained. No data will be retained about you or your vehicle.
FEEDBACK: We would appreciate your feedback. After using the Truck ‘N Park test system, you will be invited to provide feedback on your experiences. You may do so at any time during the test period by clicking on “Feedback” on the website, or staying on the phone line. 855-TRK-PARK (855-875-7275
Thank you for testing the Truck ‘N Park Demonstration System!
Small Business in Transportation Coalition Challenges the National Rifle Association to Protect and Promote Truckers’ Gun Rights
The Chairman of the Small Business in Transportation Coalition (“SBTC”) issued a bold statement today challenging the National Rifle Association to protect and promote the Second and Fourteenth Amendment Rights of Americans working in interstate commerce to be able to carry firearms for self protection nationwide. SBTC Chairman James Lamb asked the NRA to support the SBTC’s proposed bill entitled “Americans Working in Interstate Commerce Protection Act,” (commonly referred to as “Mike’s Law” named after an over-the-road truck driver named Michael Boeglin who was murdered and burned in his truck on June 26, 2014), which calls for the creation of a new business carry firearms permitting program for Americans working across state lines.
“Mike’s Law” Sign the petition -Trucker Mike Boeglin, murdered on June 26, 2014
“We understand the NRA has been asking members of Congress that we have approached not to sponsor the Mike’s Law bill and support their national concealed carry reciprocity bill instead. We would respectfully request the NRA reconsider their position as we believe our bill is a stepping-stone to national reciprocity.
“Mike’s Law is the back door to national reciprocity for all Americans.”
Whereas the NRA bill could be challenged on 10th Amendment “states’ rights” grounds, our bill is firmly grounded on the Commerce Clause. Mike’s Law also invokes the 14th Amendment’s “equal protection of the laws” guarantee in that truckers should receive the same right to possess firearms while they sleep in their trucks as the majority of Americans, who sleep in residential buildings,” SBTC Chairman James Lamb said today.
Lamb’s Petition to Congress has been signed by approximately 11,000 Americans so far who are in favor of a business carry permit that allows Americans working between states to carry firearms concealed under Federal authority, in accordance with the government’s power to regulate interstate commerce under the United States Constitution.
“U.S. Senator Marco Rubio has personally expressed to me he is in support of Mike’s Law and even indicated he would sign it into law if elected president. And we believe once Mike’s Law is passed and signed into law, the NRA could seek it to be extended to all Americans who “engage” in any form of interstate commerce, including as consumers, on 14th Amendment grounds. Mike’s Law is the back door to national reciprocity for all Americans,” Lamb added.
Lamb indicated he hopes on behalf of nearly 9 million Americans who work in the transportation industry, many of whom are NRA members, that the SBTC would hear from the NRA that they have decided to support Mike’s Law and stand up for truckers’ gun rights.