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Senator Boxer urges Appropriations Committee not to add “Denham Language” in THUD


Don't Give UP

Driver Wages continue to be attacked-  Provisions to overturn state laws designed to protect truckers began to first appear in the 2015 Highway bill- FAST ACT–  The provision, slipped in at the 11th hour, was called the Denahm Amendment. There was outrage among the Trucking Community and it was defeated, never making it into the final bill.
Related Post: How to Ensure Fair Trucker Wages in the 2015 Transportation Bill

After the Denham amendment failed in the transportation bill, the American Trucking Associations, the 50 ATA-affiliated state trucking associations, the National Private Truck Council, the Truckload Carriers Association and the Truck Renting and Leasing Association placed pressure on the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure to include this wage damaging “Denham Language in the FAA Reauthorization bill,.  Again, with the help of others, including  those within the truck driving community, the Denham Language was not included.
Related Post: ATA urges TIC to include provision in AIRR Act keeping trucker wages low

Read the Denham original language which was attempted to be added to both the Highway bill and the FAA Reauthorization bill.

Now it’s the Transportation, Housing and Urban Development, and Related Agencies (THUD) appropriations bill which will be the target for this dangerous truck driver wage provisions. The markup is expected this month.
Senator Barbara Boxer (D-CA) however, appears to be a step ahead of those who are trying just one more time to keep drivers from earning a fair wage.

Senator Barbara Boxer (D-Ca)

Senator Barbara Boxer (D-Ca)

Press Release:  U.S. Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works
04/14/2016 | Press release | Distributed by Public on 04/14/2016 19:56

Senator Barbara Boxer Sends Letter to Appropriations Committee on Meal and Rest Breaks Provision (US Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works)

(Source: US Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works) Washington, D.C. – Today, Senator Barbara Boxer (D-CA), Ranking Member of the Environment and Public Works Committee, sent a to leaders on the Appropriations Committee urging them to oppose efforts to include a provision in the Transportation, Housing and Urban Development, and Related Agencies (THUD) appropriations bill that would overturn state laws that protect truck drivers from being docked for meal and bathroom breaks.

Read Letter to Appropriations Committee-PDF

Dear Chairmen Cochran and Collins, Vice Chairwoman Mikulski and Ranking Member Reed:

I understand that the Senate Appropriations Committee plans to markup the Fiscal Year 2017 Transportation, Housing and Urban Development, and Related Agencies (THUD) appropriations bill in the near future. I applaud your efforts to move this important spending bill in a bipartisan manner.

I am writing to urge you to oppose any efforts to attach to the THUD appropriations bill an outrageous provision that would dock the pay of truck drivers by attacking state laws that protect their pay during bathroom or lunch breaks, or when performing necessary activities like loading or unloading a truck. This provision is a poison pill and I will use every tool at my disposal to oppose any legislation that includes it.

If anyone told us to dock our employees when they take a meal or bathroom break, we would think it was outrageous. Yet, that is exactly what this provision in would do to truck drivers. Truck drivers get paid for meal and bathroom breaks under the laws of 20 states. But truck drivers in all 50 states would be affected by this dangerous provision because their states would be barred from passing laws that protect them from being docked not only for bathroom and meal breaks, but for ‘non-driving’ responsibilities, such as loading the truck. This provision overturns court decisions reaching all the way to the Supreme Court.

This terrible anti-safety provision is a poison pill and including it in the THUD appropriations bill would end any chance of the bill moving swiftly in the Senate and I urge that it not be included in this legislation.


Barbara Boxer
Ranking Member

It will now be up to us to continue to fight for something that one would think would be unthinkable to have to fight for. FAIR WAGES.
Keep posted, we’ll have more info on this subject

Additional Related Posts

The Truth About Trucking Network says NO to the Denham Amendment
Truth behind trucker wage theft and FAA bill Section 611
Is the ATA the voice for truck drivers?
The Denham Method. Will it Take Money Out of Your Pocket??? by Pat Hockaday

AskTheTrucker “Live” 2 Crucial Trucking Topics for drivers

Trucking Open Forum- Blocking Fair Wages for Truckers

The Denham Amendment MUST Be Defeated!! by Hal Kiah








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Trucker Issues Circulate via Video and Social Media

Trucker Advocacy video contest- Making a Difference

Trucker Advocacy video contest- Making a Difference

Announcement for All drivers who want their voices heard about the topics concerning them within the trucking Industry.


We want to invite you to be a part of a unique Video Advocacy campaign using Social Media and Video to share the truth about driver experiences within the trucking industry.

It is our goal to share the facts and reality through video regarding many of the vital issues that face the industry, specifically the issues which affect the professional driver

The media does not always accurately share much of the circumstances which include truck drivers. Many times this is because they are unaware of the truth involving a lot of the reality that face professional drivers, and only hear what “Big Industry” and or lobbyists tell them.  This holds true for those in Congress also, who many times are surprised when they hear the “different side of the story.”  It’s up to us to educate everyone.

Let’s make them aware.

Trucker Advocacy video Contest

Rate Trucking Advocacy Videos~ Cash Prizes!

Trucking Social Media (TSM) is running a Truck Driver Video Advocacy Campaign, inviting all truckers to submit their video on the TSM. Videos will be categorized in the Video Contest Category and will be shared through Social Media.  Prizes will be given to winners, and videos are judged by piers.  The videos with the most “thumbs up” will be awarded cash prizes.  Most importantly, the messages in these videos will be shared via Social Media.
Comments made on submitted videos (on contestant video page) will also be taken into consideration.
We ask that when you rate or comment on a video, you take into consideration:

a) The topic and content
b) How well the message came across and was articulated
$500.00 in Prizes

Truck Driver Advocacy Video Contest - Cash Prizes Awarded

Truck Driver Advocacy Video Contest – Cash Prizes Awarded-1st Place awarded by

Contest Ends August 31st
Announcement of Winners will be Labor Day weekend and will be announced On FaceBook Social Media Pages and Groups,, and AskTheTrucker ‘Live” internet radio.

Trucker advocacy video contest

Videos from YouTube are accepted.  Just submit the YouTUbe URL in one of 3 ways.

1)Submit directly  to the Trucking Social Media Website. Upper Right Corner – Click Submit and fill out short form
2) Send a message on the Contact Us page – Include the Video URL, Your Name, Website, and Title of your video
3) Contact us at  Send an email and Include the Video URL, Your Name, Website, and Title of your video

If you already have Advocacy Videos you have posted on YouTube, you may use them. Just submit the YouTUbe link

Video Topic suggestions:  Regulations, Driver Image, Sleep Apnea, Driver Wages, Detention Time, Truck Parking, No Idling, CSA Scores, Shippers and Receivers, Trucker Health, Brokers and Load Boards, Hours of Service, ELD’s, Speed Limiters, ANYTHING TRUCKING

It is our goal to share these videos to the Social Media platforms, therefor exposing the truth to everyone regarding the topics that no one seems to know about nor talk about, at least from the perspective of the driver.



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Is the ATA the voice for truck drivers?

Allen Smith

Thursday 2-25-16 6PM ET “Is the ATA the voice for the Professional driver?” 347-826-9170

There has recently been a strong divide going on within the trucking industry, one that could forever change the future for professional CDL truck driver wages. The ATA insists they are looking out for truckers as they attempt to convince drivers to vote YES on a provision in SEC 611 in the FAA reauthorization bill.

In a recent radio interview,the Chairman of the ATA, Pat Thomas, made the statement that the ATA is not only the voice of the trucking industry, but more importantly the voice to Congress and Lawmakers as well as those in charge for regulations.

The American Trucking Associations is the nation’s largest trucking industry lobbying group

Yes, regulations! You know the ones, Speed Limiters, ElD’s, CDL training standards and Carrier  exemptions!

To get to the point, a provision ( introduced in part by the ATA) is presently waiting to be approved in the FAA Reauthorization bill,. The FAA ( Federal Aviation, Administration) addresses the concerns of the Aviation Community.
However, slipped into the FAA bill is a provision hidden deep within, under “miscellaneous” which would affect the United States trucking industry, specifically the way wages are paid to CDL drivers. Among those who have placed pressure on the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure to include this wage damaging provision are:

American Trucking Associations, the 50 ATA-affiliated state trucking associations, the National Private Truck Council, the Truckload Carriers Association and the Truck Renting and Leasing Association.

Make no mistake, the ATA is desperately trying to get Section 611, the truck driver wage provision, in the FAA reauthorization bill!
Read more ATA urges TIC to include provision in AIRR Act keeping trucker wages low Is the ATA the voice of truck drivers?

The ATA is misleading drivers, telling them that if section 611 is not to be included in the FAA bill, that drivers will be forced to take 10 minute breaks which would disrupt their ability to maximize their “piece work only” wages …. which the industry itself has not only created, but has conditioned truck drivers to accept as fair. What they don’t tell them however is the broader part in the bill which would prevent drivers from receiving pay for all the other work they do. ( drivers can waive the breaks and just take the money)

Listen to the replay and know the truth about Section 611 and how it will affect driver wages.

Is the ATA your voice to Congress and Regulatory Law Makers?
If they are not then you must do the following:
Say “NO” TO Low Wages and Sec 611 of FAA bill (AIRR ACT) Call Switchboard 202-224-3121 for your Senator and Representative. When connected, Tell them to say NO to the Provision in the FAA Reauthorization bill in Section 611 on pages 256-258. Tell them this bill would eliminate the possibility for Truckers to ever be paid for all their time and would only assure MINIMUM WAGE for all their time. This would worsen already low wages for Truck Drivers and destroys any hope to be paid for all time.

FAA Reauthorization Bill
Aviation Innovation, Reform, and Reauthorization (AIRR) Act

Title VI Miscellaneous
Section 611 Federal Authority – pages 256-258

NOTE: These organizations (American Trucking Associations, the 50 ATA-affiliated state trucking associations, the National Private Truck Council, the Truckload Carriers Association and the Truck Renting and Leasing Association.) state that the provision they want included in the FAA bill, would “clarify” the Congressional intent of the. FAA Authorization Act of 1994.
Our question is, would it “clarify” or actually modify the original Congressional intent, partly to protect drives.
And what was the intent of the FAA Authorization Act of 1994?
The Federal Aviation Administration Authorization Act forbids states from enacting laws that interfered with prices, routes or service of motor carriers –Nothing about how drivers are paid! which a Federal Appellate Court agreed with in July 2014.

Remember, the ATA and others tried to get this provision in the FAST ACT highway bill under the Denham Amendment, and it was rejected. Drivers called their representatives and told them NO to the Denham Amendment. Opponents said then and now that the provision could derail efforts by unions and other trucker advocacy groups to reform things like driver pay and excessive detention time. OOIDA strongly opposed the Denham Amendment as well as their present opposition to the provision in the FAA reauthorization

If you feel the ATA represents you the driver, then do nothing and allow their lobbying efforts to include section 611 in the FAA bill, which will affect your wages.
If you do not believe the ATA is your voice, then call your representative and tell them no to Section 611 in the FAA bill.

Thursday 2-25-16 6PM ET 347-826-9170 on AskTheTrucker ‘Live” listen here  Is the ATA the voice for the Professional driver?’ 

Additional Related Posts

The Truth About Trucking Network says NO to the Denham Amendment
Truth behind trucker wage theft and FAA bill Section 611
Is the ATA the voice for truck drivers?
The Denham Method. Will it Take Money Out of Your Pocket??? by Pat Hockaday

AskTheTrucker “Live” 2 Crucial Trucking Topics for drivers

Trucking Open Forum- Blocking Fair Wages for Truckers

The Denham Amendment MUST Be Defeated!! by Hal Kiah

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Truth behind trucker wage theft and FAA bill Section 611

Transportation Veteran Jerry Fritts of American Overland Freight

Transportation Veteran Jerry Fritts of American Overland Freight

Trucking management/American Trucking Assoc., an organization that claims to speak for the American Trucking Industry that does not have one truck driver member and furthermore claims a membership of about 36,000 members. Many of these members are manufacturing OEMs, distributors, supply chain mgt, etc. Also 36,000 members is still a small percentage of the over 500,000 trucking companies with DOT authority. However, most of the ATA members are the very wealthy large carriers that no doubt, can afford the political influence that are in THEIR best interest. Out in the real world of trucking most of the 500,000 small entrepreneurial and family operations, not to mention the over 3.5 million truck drivers, the ATA and TCA are viewed with contempt and distain. May I also remind people that the one of the original reasons for de-regulation was to allow more competition. Most of the ATA members are left over giants from before de-regulation that still seek to dominate/monopolize competition and exploit their human resources. Just check the driver turnover rates in the truckload industry. Their focus on “driver breaks”, btw I experienced these very same driver breaks as casual employee at APA Transport in 1966. It was a non issue. If you had a heavy workload that day dispatch asked me to “work through lunch”. Then you were compensated time and a half for that extra hour of work. That was the industry standard. The carriers didn’t even have computers to track this extra pay.

Denham Amendment Vote No

Say NO to FAA reauthorization – Section 611- Against unfair truck driver wages

Point here is, trucking mgt is using this to camouflage the real issues. They know just where to tickle the drivers’ emotions so that they can continue to hide the other extremely important issue, “misclassification of employment” that quickly evolves to “theft of wages” Trucking mgt in an effort to avoid the millions/billions of dollars of back wages, benefits, etc… that they have been stealing from drivers for decades even went to the Supreme Court regarding these scam employment policies. The Supreme Court agreed with the 9 Circuit in that these drivers had been misclassified and these drivers were in fact employees. Therefore, the employers had to go back and re-determine all their working pay, reimburse all truck payments, maintenance, fuel, etc. Conclusion of current article “Wage Theft at the Ports: $6.9 million awarded to 38 striking truck drivers” : …Pay Drivers $6.9 Million in “Stolen Wages”. ….ruling, Pac 9 owes its’ drivers for unlawful deductions, liquidated damages, reimbursable expenses, pay for meal and rest periods, and interest and waiting time penalties.

Two things here that directly related to the defeated Denahm Amendment, an amendment introduced in the 2015 highway bill, which would have negatively affected CDL driver wages, has now been included as a provision in the FAA  reauthorization bill’s Section 611; “meal and rest breaks”

I will guarantee you that “rest time” expense is nearly nothing to the hundreds of thousands of dollars that they “stole” from the drivers.
Re: The other issues. “waiting time!” Wow this is something that we are just getting some traction on. You think this has something to do with “only piece work pay” in Denham.
The ATA and TCA are very aware that this “misclassification of employment” is about to become a tsunami in trucking. Many lease, lease purchase, independent employee schemes are about to explode! July 2015, the new interpretation of “independent” became law and many of these employers will fall into the same legal determination as PAC 9!

Think for a moment why does Denham provide for exemptions for previous periods of time in addition to present and future regarding labor laws for “theft of wages?” Kind of curious that every new law that I ever knew became effective upon implementation on the days it was passed and forward. Now before you begin to blame this all on Calif.. This misclassification of employment was one the major issues in the “Trucker Wars” in the 1960s! I was there! Fact: late 60s the Pittsburgh Federal District Court (equal to 9th Circuit) agreed with truck drivers/owner operators, “that because of the control exercised by the carriers, O/O where “defacto employees”.
Point here is, these carriers today knew they were skating on thin ice every day they worked this “independent contractor scheme” Any CPA will tell you this is not a wise choice, because if it backfires, it could put you out business. But these carriers, because they got away with it for so long thought they would never get caught. Don’t blame Calif. Or FMSCA,

I am telling you this “break time” issue is just a smoke screen. Google it. FedEx has already surrendered and has paid FedEx Ground “independent contractors “ about $250 million dollars in just one case, and they have similar class action cases in many other states that they are sure to lose because they “surrendered” in Calf after the Supreme Court sided with the 9th Circuit.

Remember, this was already decided in the 1960s when the Supreme Court decided against the carriers, the only chance they stand to avoid MILLIONS/BILLIONS of dollars for “theft of wages” is to change/introduce a law. Also, remember, these “theft of wages” for the drivers do not include all the penalties and interest, etc. for nonpayment of SS, unemployment taxes, workers’ comp and who knows what else they have avoided over the decades. For FedEx alone this easily gets into the billions of dollars. Every fact that I have presented here can be documented and the ATA and TCA come media shows wanting to talk about the problems with REST BREAKS!

Don’t be deceived people, this has very very little to do with rest breaks that are similar to rest breaks that I experienced in 1966!

Call your reps Speak Up!

Speak up and let your voice be heard 202-224-3121

CALL YOUR CONGRESSMEN, Especially your Senators because the ATA, TCA, and FedEX wealth have been able to now move this out of the House and into the SENATE

Also big money supporting Denham wording may become exempted from any and all labor rights you are privileged to in your own state, such as but not limited, workers comp, unemployment, etc. This would vary with every state. In the opinion of labor attorneys this could be a “violation of States rights” there is precedent here. The CDL. When conceptualized, we were going to have a Federal Commercial Drivers License. That did not happen because of STATES RIGHTS. That is why you have CDLs administered by individual states meeting the minimum requirements of the Federal Gvt.

This whole Denham idea was contrived quickly and not well thought out to save the butts of wealthy sociopaths.

Taking away our labor rights in our individual states actually throws the workers under 395 CFR into a black hole!!! This is an act of influential robber barons to seize a whole classification of Americas’ work force. This will be a first in the history of our country! We will become the first Federalized workers in history! And we know who will be in control- The ATA, TCA!!!!!! AND no-one has any idea what that would look like regarding driver working conditions, pay, worker comp, unemployment, etc.


Call the Washington Switchboard 202-224-3121 for your Senator and Representative. When connected, Tell them to say NO to the Provision in the FAA Reauthorization bill in Section 611 on pages 256-258. Tell them this bill would eliminate the possibility for Truckers to ever be paid for all their time and would only assure MINIMUM WAGE for all their time. 611 would worsen already low wages for Truck Drivers and destroys any hope to be paid for all time.

IF this idea was so good why did ATA twice now try sneak in into effect!!!!

Related Posts
“ATA urges TIC to include provision in AIRR Act keeping trucker wages low”
Trucking Open Forum- Blocking Fair Wages for Truckers

Jerry Fritts- Correlation between low wages and poor health


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ATA urges TIC to include provision in AIRR Act keeping trucker wages low


TIC and AIRR ACT provision ensures low trucker wages

There they go again!
It seems large motor carriers will do just about anything not to be accountable for paying significantly low truck driver wages,  then taking measures to assure these low wages can not be overruled! All this, while they continue to keep their industry created driver shortage myth ongoing!

Proponents of the defeated Denahm Amendment, an amendment introduced in the 2015 highway bill, which would have negatively affected CDL driver wages, has now been included as a provision in the FAA Re-authorization bill (AIRR ACT).  The provision this time though is not an amendment, but rather included in the actual bill itself.

FAA Reauthorization Bill
Aviation Innovation, Reform, and Reauthorization (AIRR) Act
Title VI Miscellaneous
Section 611 Federal Authority – pages 256-258

Although the AIRR Act focuses on aviation and aircraft, a provision was slipped in deep within the bill as Section 611.

Who are the proponents supporting provision (Sec 611) and what EXACTLY would this mean for drivers?

In a February 1st letter sent to the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure,  an argument was made by supporters of Sec 611, that it is necessary “to clarify the preemption provision of the FAA Authorization Act of 1994 to restore the goals Congress intended when it sought national uniformity for motor carriers in the transportation of property.”
(basically meaning that states can not override federal law. State laws can protect rights of drivers, including paying them for the work they do in excess of piece work)

Who sent this letter to the T&I House Committee and why?

Among those who sent the letter were the American Trucking Associations, the 50 ATA-affiliated state trucking associations, the National Private Truck Council, the Truckload Carriers Association and the Truck Renting and Leasing Association.

Transportation and Infrastructure Committee Chairman Bill Shuster (R-PA) and Aviation Subcommittee Chairman Frank LoBiondo (R-NJ)  introduced the AIRR Act legislation which included the provision affecting driver wages.

If the provision is allowed to remain in the FAA bill (Sec 611), it would prohibit states from requiring employers to have to pay drivers  certain types of added compensation, such as detention pay, pre and post trip inspections, paperwork, or just about any work other than piece work, commonly known as CPM.
In other words, a drivers’ day could include 14 hours of work, but if he/she only drives 200 miles out of that day, then that is all the driver would get paid for, according to Federal law.

Some may say, ” Well that’s all we get paid for now, what’s the difference?”
The answer is “A lot”

1)  There are states which have required trucking employers to pay their drivers for rest and meal breaks along with other work (besides just piece work).  The driver can waive taking  breaks, but the carrier would still have to pay the driver for the determined time allotted by the governing state.

2) We are at a time right now when drivers are fighting for laws to be changed, to be paid for ALL TIME working, including such things s detention time.  An inclusion of the 611 provision would squelch any hope that states could have extra protective wage laws for drivers, and since the ATA lobby is so powerful, it doesn’t appear hopeful that Federal Law would support drivers “paid for all time” any time soon.

Who is against provision -Section 611 of the AIRR Act?

Driver advocacy groups, OOIDA, and the Teamsters are among those against the FAA Reauthorization.

In a “call to action” by OOIDA, they stressed opposition to the preemption proposal for its inclusion of what it termed “an ambitious overreach that would limit the states’ ability to address pay issues. Section 611 contains the exact same provisions regarding fair-pay that our opponents unsuccessfully tried to include in the highway bill….“could 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.”

Teamster President James P. Hoffa stated, “Now lawmakers are at it again, using the FAA bill to endanger motorists all across the country. These elected officials are doing the bidding of the American Trucking Association, which wants drivers on the clock as much as possible for time behind the wheel,” he continued. “In fact, the provision would also limit how a truck driver could be paid and not even compensate them for safety procedures like performing pre-trip inspections. In addition to robbing drivers of pay, the language could prevent drivers from collecting workers compensation and sick leave benefits, among other worker benefits. In short, it overrules the fundamental principle that all workers should be paid for the time they work.”
Read more

What should drivers do to ensure that Sec 611 of the AIRR Act is not included?

Call their Lawmakers at the Capitol Switchboard 202-224-3121

Say “NO” TO Low Wages and Sec 611 of AIRR ACT! Dial 202-224-3121 for your Senator and Representative. When connected, Tell them to say NO to the Provision in the FAA Reauthorization bill in Section 611 on pages 256-258. Tell them this bill would eliminate the possibility for Truckers to ever be paid for all their time and would only assure MINIMUM WAGE for all their time. This would worsen already low wages for Truck Drivers and destroys any hope to be paid for all time.

Spread the word to other drivers!

If you are on Social Media, share the word with other drivers.
Here is an article explaining how to have your voice heard and the ability to go viral on Social Media

Twitter Tags for Transportation & Infrastructure Committee Members

If you have a Twitter account, here are some Tweets to copy and Paste to post to your timeline.

AIRR Act Sec 611 Destroys any hope 4 #truckers 2B paid 4 all time~No overtime& only assures minimum wage.Call UR Reps! 202-224-3121

FAA Reauth bill~Sec 611 Destroys any hope 4 #truckers 2B paid 4 all time~ No overtime & only assures minimum wage.Call UR Reps! 202-224-3121

@Transport FAA reauthorization bill Provision Sec 611 would worsen already low wages 4 #truckers #politics #trucking  

FAA reauthorization bill~Provision Sec 611 worsens already low wages for #truckers #politics #trucking VOTE NO 202-224-3121

FAA reauthorization bill Provision Sec 611~Destroys hope for #truckers 2 ever have #fairwages # politics #trucking

@Transport  #Politics #Congress What does #Aviation have 2 do with #TruckDrivers Wages? NO! to FAA Re-Auth Section 611 pg 256-258 #GOP #DEMS

@Transport Vote to OPPOSE FAA re-authorization bill section 611 pg 256-258 that would negatively affect #truckdrivers wages #Congress

Attorney Christina Humphrey was our guest on AskTheTrucker Live Feb 6th 2016 and discussed the AIRR Act and what the consequences would mean for professional driver wages.  Listen to the replay

Listen to our November 2015 radio show with Aashish Desai explaining the dangers of the Denham Amendment 

Video explaining Denham Amendment (Same as FAA Sec 611)

Related Article “Aviation bill would reemphasize federal authority over states’ regulation of truckers’ hours, pay”

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Truckers have questions for 2016 Presidential Candidates


Allen SmithBy: Allen Smith

The upcoming Iowa Caucus will officially launch the 2016 race to the White House. Democrat or Republican, the incoming President of the United States will hold the power to shape the direction of the country’s future. Key concerns will naturally be National Security, Foreign Policy and Economic Growth, with opportunity for jobs and a living wage weighing heavy on many minds.

The U.S. President plays a major role in the future of the trucking industry and the professional truck driver as well, even if it is a seldom thought of his or her administration. As an example, the President is responsible for nominating the Secretary of Transportation who will lead the cabinet-level agency of the federal government with over 60,000 employees and a budget which will exceed $70 billion.

As just one example of a powerful agency, the Department of Transportation is responsible for helping maintain and develop the nation’s transportation systems and infrastructure as well as developing, implementing and finally, enforcing federal regulations governing the use of America’s transportation system. It will play key roles in major issues affecting the professional driver such as the previous debates on the implications of the North American Free Trade Association (NAFTA) and Mexico as an example.

From those who develop ideas for future laws, to the House and Senate who will approve the Bills, to the President of the United States who will sign or veto the Bill which could have a major impact on one’s livelihood, the election of a new President is one which should be taken with considerable gravity and earnestness.

In a nation of just under 322,914,000 people, 1 out of every 15 workers in the U.S. is employed within the trucking industry. There are approximately 3.5 million professional truck drivers in the United States and the total number of people employed in the industry, drivers and non-drivers alike, is just under 9 million. That is 9,000,000 potential voters that the 2016 Presidential Candidates should take very seriously as well.

Recently I posed the following question to the American Trucker via our social media network:

“If you could ask one question to the 2016 Presidential Candidates concerning the future of the trucking industry and your career as a professional driver what would it be?”

Questions that truckers who responded to the request would ask largely fell into two categories: Regulations and Wages. However, their questions additionally included hot issues such as lack of parking, infrastructure and the role of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA). Here are a few of those questions that those who keep America moving would demand to know from the next President of the United States:

  • “Will you put forth serious effort to recognize truck drivers as skilled labor to increase their pay? Adding, also to make a blanket set of laws for DOT, companies, and drivers alike to follow that will benefit all parties?” Shawn K.
  • “When is someone going to improve parking per Jason’s law and going to look at our wages as drivers which has actually decreased since deregulation.” Kimberly B.
  • “I would ask if there should be more oversight of the FMCSA in their rules making processes that are backed by actual science.” Patti H.
  • “I would ask them why the FMCSA has not implemented any driver training regulations. Congress mandated this back in the 90’s and should have been the first order of business when the FMCSA was created. Driver training is the keystone of the safety of trucking, so why has it been ignored.” Michael F.
  • “What gives the interstate commerce clause the power to control our every move?” Kerry M.

One response had a very direct question as well concerning CARB, the California Air Resources Board:

  • “It has been unequivocally and admittedly proven that the CARB regulations came from studies that were never performed, by “people” that never even existed and were completed fabricated through email.Since the implementation of these regulations and needed equipment and additives not only have expenses sky rocketed for the trucking industry based on fabricated and unproven data, but many drivers have lost their lives due to the extreme high temperatures these additives cause during “burn offs” and filter clogging. This is all in the name of being green and reducing the carbon footprint, when in reality it is causing more by-product waste, increasing commerce prices, decreasing driver pay, and essentially interfering with interstate commerce, which by the way is illegal. What, if anything, do you plan to do to go about removing and revoking this scam and increase the work flow of interstate commerce and trucking?” Sierra S.

As an experienced and veteran trucker, Jeff C. would ask:

  • “What are you going to do to fix the roads and bridges?

In contrast, another would ask the straight-forward question regarding the role of the government within the trucking business:

  • “How would you get the Government out of the Transportation Industry?” Richard C.

The 2016 Presidential Candidates await the results of the Iowa Caucus, then on to New Hampshire. The 3.5 million strong truckers and 9 million strong industry workers will need to let their voices be heard in deciding who will be the next President of the United States and the one who will lead the way in rebuilding what many see as a broken industry.

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First step towards Gun Control is upon us


2nd amendment

The 2nd amendment is something many Americans hold on to with conviction and every ounce of strength and fiber from within themselves.

The first 10 amendments form the Bill of Rights
Amendment 2-Right to Bear Arms Passed by Congress September 25, 1789. Ratified December 15, 1791.
“A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.”

Not everyone however believes that every citizen has the right to bear arms and that there should be a certain level of gun control.
The articles below share opinions for both.

Not a Second Class Right: The Second Amendment Today by Nelson Lund

The Reasonable Right to Bear Arms by Adam Winkler

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.

The list:  Who can not own a gun in America?

gun rights

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,

Feeling blue

Feeling blue

“Federal panel recommends general physicians screen all adults for depression”
A federal task force recommends that physicians screen pregnant and postpartum women for depression — as well as all other adults. 

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.

Another Trucker Gets Shot: Allow Truckers to Defend Themselves

Also, Truckers
BEFORE IT’S TOO LATE!!!  Protect our Gun Rights

Petition to NRA to Endorse and Lobby for the Michael’s Law Amendment to 18 U.S.C. 926A




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Lowering Trucking’s CDL Training Standards


Free CDL Training

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)

The FMCSA’s ELDTAC committee continues to work on the long awaited and badly needed Rule to improve CDL training standards. ( Last meeting was May 2015)

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)

Third Party Skills Test ( such as Carrier Training Schools)
Third Party Skills Testing:

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.

Iowa Rules Transportation Dept

Iowa Department of Transportation- CLP and CDL

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.

Although there were hundreds of objections last year regarding compromising safety when the C.R. England exemption request was posted on FMCSA website, the FMCSA granted the C.R. England exemption request regardless

CRST’s exemption request remains open on FMCSA’s website and comments are due Feb, 2016.
Read “Commercial Driver’s License Standards: Application for Exemption; CRST Expedited (CRST)”

Read Comments

Write your Comment

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.

THE PETITION “Stop Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration from granting unsafe exemptions for truck driver trainees”

Stop Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration from granting unsafe exemptions for truck driver trainees

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.

Related Article by Desiree Wood: Does this Sound Safe to You? If Not, Please Take Action …

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.

COMMENTS SHOULD BE MADE TO THE FMCSA COMMENT SECTION.   It is imperative that we ALL do! If for nothing else, but at least a record of thousands of people saying how unsafe the FMCSA Training Standards (or lack of) are!

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!

Final Notes and Additional Facts

1) You have until Feb 4th to make your comment to the FMCSA.

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.






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Another Trucker Gets Shot: Allow Truckers to Defend Themselves


“Another Trucker Gets Shot: SBTC Challenges NRA to Back their Michael’s Law Amendment to 18 U.S. Code 926A to Allow Truckers to Defend Themselves…”

SBTC Chairman James Lamb

SBTC Chairman James Lamb

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 “,” 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.


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.

Related Post  SBTC Challenges the NRA to Stand Up for Truckers’ Gun Rights


“Dads Medical Expenses”

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.

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Trucking 2015 Highlights and 2016 Outlook

Trucking 2015 Highlights and 2016 Outlook

Trucking 2015 Highlights and 2016 Outlook

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 Crisis finally 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

Mikes Law and the RIght To Carry

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

WAGES and 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.

For years the phrase “truck driver shortage” had become part of trucking’s language, but this year there appeared to be more emphasis and reality to it.
Read more “The Evolution of the Driver Shortage, Trucker Wages, and Safety”

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 Wages are 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 TrainingEntry 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?

Join us as we enter 2016 on AskTheTrucker “Live” Open Forum “2016 Top concerns for professional drivers”





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