Trucker Shortage

For the past year or so, the trucking industry has been going through what some folks say a shortage of qualified drivers. Statistics show by 2020, the industry will be down 50,000 drivers as the older driver retire and milennials are not interested, even more by 2025. I recently posted to Facebook a question that read, “If there is a trucker shortage, then why are trucking companies shutting down, leaving hundreds of drivers without jobs?”.

In an article published on March 28, 2019, on the Transport Topics website, ATA Chief Economist Bob Costello, stated,

“While we do use ATA data to identify one segment of the trucking labor

market (long-distance truckload motor freight) that has experienced high

and persistent turnover rates for decades, the overall picture is consistent

with a market in which labor supply responds to increasing labor demand

over time, and a deeper look does not find evidence of a secular shortage.”

The article also stated that private fleets do not have that problem and less-than-truckload fleets do not have such a big problem with the shortage. See article here, http://www.ttnews.com.

Just recently, an article posted on CDLLife website about how Penske laid off drivers before shutting its doors in Indiana. Several weeks back, another company shut down while the drivers were out. Informing them on the Qualcomm to return to the yard and clean out their trucks and provide their own way home. In these two cases, are they shutting down because of the driver shortage or because of mismanagement of money? There were two other instances where the company mismanaged or allegedly stole the money and left the drivers to fend for themselves. Reportedly telling them to go to the nearest terminal and park the truck. But, yet there is a driver shortage. At this rate, there would will soon be a job shortage, especially for qualified drivers.

About 8 years ago, my co-driver and I were on our way to California when we had to stop in Kingman, AZ to get the a/c fixed. We met a couple from Kentucky that were driving for Arrow Trucking and they were in the shop for the same problem. While we were in the waiting area trading stories, he got a phone call from his company. He walked outside to talk. Standing in the parking lot, he was animated with the hand gestures and yelling. He hung up and stormed back in the building red-faced and sweating, swearing. He told us that his company just told him to park the truck at the nearest terminal, which was another hundred miles away, and find his way home. That they were closing their doors. The man was practically crying. We felt for him, but there was nothing we could do for them. He told the shop to put the truck back together and he was going back to the truckstop and sell what he could off the truck to get money so they could get home. This was such a sad situation, that it stayed with me all these years.

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Truck drivers awarded $6 million in wage theft suit

A manager may also be held personally responsible for misclassifying drivers in what has been called an “unprecedented decision.”

A group of California port truck drivers were awarded a multi-million dollar settlement as part of an employment misclassification lawsuit.

This week, a group of 24 truck drivers employees by NFI Industries/California Cartage were awarded almost $6 million by the California Labor Commissioner after they were found to have been misclassified as independent contractors rather than employees, according to a report from the Long Beach Post.

Notably, the California Labor Commissioner also found that general manager at National Freight Industries/California Cartage Jim Degraw is to be held jointly liable for the employment misclassification of the truck drivers.

This move to hold Degraw personally accountable for the misclassification of the drivers who worked under him was called an “unprecedented decision” by the International Brotherhood of Teamsters. Teamsters say that this is the first time that individual liability provision of 2016’s California Senate Bill 588 has been applied in port trucking.

The California Labor Commission has made recent moves to cut down on wage theft against truck driver employees. Earlier this month, they posted a list of port trucking companies with unpaid wage settlements in an attempt to uphold a new California law that would hold shippers responsible for wage theft committed by trucking companies that they employ.

National Freight Industries/California Cartage is the largest trucking company at the Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach

New York ceases ELD enforcement in wake of OOIDA lawsuit

By Jami Jones, Land Line managing editor |1/4/2019


In light of the state of New York’s failure to adopt ELD rules into its own state law, commercial vehicle enforcement of the electronic logging mandate in New York is on hold. The move comes following the filing of a lawsuit by the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association to stop enforcement of the mandate.

The lawsuit, filed in January 2018, challenges the state’s enforcement of the electronic logging mandate. At the time of the lawsuit, New York was reporting violations of the ELD mandate to state and federal authorities.

After OOIDA’s suit was filed, the state of New York changed its ELD enforcement policies and that change has been recognized by the court.

The New York Supreme Court filed a decision, order, and judgment issued Dec. 31, 2018, recognizing the state of New York’s “current policy that ‘no tickets or notices of violation are to be issued citing the federal ELD regulations, and no violations of ELD rules are to be cited on the inspection report.’”

The court also recognized that the state’s inspectors “will accept ‘either log books or ELD data’ to establish compliance with (hours of service) requirements.” The decision further acknowledged that state inspectors may “not … examine eRODS or transfer any local data from the ELDs during roadside inspections.”

Effectively, the decision explains that the current policy is that law enforcement can look at paper logs or view the screen on the logging device for record of duty status, but they can’t download or transmit the data. Also, the data may only be used for HOS enforcement, not enforcement of the e-logging mandate.

The class action lawsuit filed by OOIDA challenges the authority under which New York was enforcing the ELD mandate.

Each state receives grant money from the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration to supplement enforcement efforts. To obtain this federal grant money, states agree to adopt the equivalent of the federal motor carrier safety regulations into their own state law. State enforcement officials may only enforce state law. Those officials are not authorized to enforce the federal regulations directly, the complaint states. Nor may state officials enforce laws that do not exist.

The complaint goes on to point out New York has not adopted anything into state law related to the ELD mandate. Therefore, OOIDA is seeking to halt state enforcement of the rule until it is properly incorporated and to stop the conduct of warrantless inspections of ELD data.

“New York’s policy change advances OOIDA’s mission to protect motor carriers and truckers in the face of the ELD mandate,” said Todd Spencer, OOIDA’s president. “However, the court’s recent order is appealable and does not resolve other issues associated with the ELD mandate. Those issues include the privacy interests of drivers under the law.”

Importantly, the enforcement policy memorandum relied upon by the New York Court is subject to change by state authorities without notice or review by the public. Therefore, the case is ongoing and OOIDA is committed to continue pursuing the rights of truckers under this troublesome mandate, according to Spencer.

Cold Shoulder

Big trucks can be seen traveling through small towns as well as the big cities. For the most part, they are welcomed, at least until that one driver does something to ruin it for all.

Now, the small to medium towns or cities say, “We welcome big rigs as long as they drop off our goods. You cannot stay past your delivery time and you cannot park in our shopping centers, Walmarts, or Lowes. If you are hungry, you should bring it with you because there is ‘no parking’ for you.” The area may not have a food delivery service like GrubHub or DoorDash, that can deliver food to your truck.

Your time is limited to your delivery or pick up and then you have to leave. The nearest truckstop may be 20, 30, or 40 miles away. You may not have the time to travel to them, anyway.

So, what do you do, because getting the Cold Shoulder ain’t cool.

FMCSA grants CRST exemption request for student drivers By Mark Schremmer, Land Line associate editor | Friday, October 19, 2018

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration announced on Friday, Oct. 19 that it renewed an exemption for CRST Expedited that allows the Cedar Rapids, Iowa-based trucking company to have student drivers run team with a commercial driver’s license holder.

Current regulations require a CDL holder with the proper class and endorsements to be seated in the front while a commercial learner’s permit holder is driving on public roads or highways. The exemption allows student drivers who passed the skills test but have not yet received the CDL document to drive a CRST commercial motor vehicle accompanied by a CDL holder “who is not necessarily in the passenger seat.”

CRST’s previous exemption from the regulation was granted for two years on Sept. 23, 2016. The new exemption is effective for five years until Sept. 24, 2023.

“FMCSA has analyzed the exemption application and the public comments and has determined that the exemption, subject to the terms and conditions imposed, will achieve a level of safety that is equivalent to, or greater than, the level that would be achieved absent such exemption,” the agency wrote.

CRST says the exemption allows the company to “foster a more productive and efficient training environment by allowing commercial learner’s permit holders to hone their recently acquired driving skills through on-the-job training and to begin earning an income right away. “

Through the end of 2017, CRST reported zero crashes to FMCSA involving drivers using the exemption.

FMCSA has granted similar exemptions to such fleets as C.R. England and New Prime.

The Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association has spoken outagainst such exemptions.

During the public comment period for CRST’s request, Jarrod Hough, an OOIDA member from Indianapolis, questioned the logic.

“Why would FMCSA even consider this? The roads and traffic are bad enough already,” Hough wrote. “Permit holders don’t have the experience to operate a commercial vehicle by themselves without the trainer sitting upfront and in the passenger seat. That is what a trainer is for, to teach and give guidance to the student. Not to be in the sleeper berth while the student is left alone.”

Do truckers pay enough for highways? White House suggests not

|February 27, 2018

A report issued last week by the White House reiterates the Trump Administration’s stance that tolling should be a prime mechanism for boosting highway funding. The report also says that the administration doesn’t think trucking pays enough in taxes to offset “the negative externalities [trucks] generate” relative to highway conditions, congestion and “accident risk.”

The annual Economic Report of the President, which is written by the White House’s Council of Economic Advisers, takes aim at gasoline and diesel taxes, which have been the primary funding source for the U.S. Highway Trust Fund since the 1950s. The report says that more fuel efficient vehicles “pay less than the marginal costs generated by their use of roads in terms of wear and tear, congestion and other external costs.” Fuel taxes also create a funding divide between rural roadways and more crowded urban areas, the report claims.

“Furthermore,” the report says, “evidence suggests that heavy trucks in particular do not currently faces taxes and charges that are aligned with the negative externalities they generate, which include pavement damage, traffic congestion, accident risk and emissions.”

Infrastructure fixes running out of gas

We can’t expect tomorrow’s dwindling fossil-fuel-powered vehicles to adequately fund already under-funded highways while the e-powered elite rides free.

Trying to generate more revenue from tolls, the administration asserts, would “counteract” the deficiencies it says exist with the fuel tax.

Since his 2016 campaign, Trump has signaled his intent to try to use private financing, such as tolling, to generate funding for U.S. road and bridge projects. This month, the Trump Administration released an outline for its infrastructure plan, which calls for leaning on tolls and funding from states and localities — rather than federal spending — to bolster highway funding. Trump’s plan also would repeal the current ban on Interstate tolling.

Trucking groups have sharply rebuked the president’s plan for an increase in tolling. The American Trucking Associations, which put forth a bulletin in January lobbying Congress to raise the per-gallon gas and diesel taxes to stabilize U.S. funding for roads and bridges, says tolling is “a road to nowhere.” ATA also noted then that trucking pays 45 percent, via diesel taxes, of the HTF’s annual revenue.

“Study after study shows the shortfalls of tolling and the unintended consequences that tolls impose on motorists and surrounding communities,” said ATA President and CEO Chris Spear in January.

ATA has called for a the per-mile gallon on gasoline and diesel taxes to be increased 20 cents — 5 cents a year over the course of four years — to ensure the solvency of the Highway Trust Fund. Gas and diesel taxes were last increased in 1993. These flat rates, 18.4 cents a gallon for gasoline and 24.4 cents a gallon for diesel, have become more ineffective due to inflation and more fuel efficient vehicles, which have crimped the Highway Trust Fund’s revenue stream.

More tolls or no tolls? Two-thirds of readers say no

Just a third of readers favored any liberalization whatsoever in the ability of government to toll interstate routes, whether current or new routes or expansion …

The Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association last month also pressed for an increase in fuel taxes. “The heart of it is a fuel tax with revenues collected going to roads and bridges. It’s simple, efficient and it serves the very real needs of our country and its people,” said Todd Spencer, acting president of OOIDA. “If elected officials think a fuel tax increase would be unpopular, wait until Americans encounter more and higher tolling.”

The Alliance for Toll-Free Interstates calls tolls “wildly inefficient.”

“In addition to the diversion onto secondary roads which causes congestion and public safety issues, tolls will do unimaginable harm to businesses, as shipping and manufacturing prices skyrocket to account for these new costs,” the group said in a statement earlier this month.

FMCSA wants to track what truckers do in their personal vehicles

Steve Wilcox
about 19 hours ago

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has filed a request to investigate what CDL truck and bus drivers do during their home time. Specifically, the agency aims to study the effects of “excessive commuting” between a drivers home and work terminal.

If the request for the study is approved by the White House’s Office of Management and Budget (OMB), then the FMCSA plans to survey up to 12,000 drivers to perform their research.

In the proposal, the FMCSA states that long commute times [between a commercial driver’s home and work terminal] “can lead to excessive fatigue while on duty, creating safety concerns for both the CMV driver and other drivers on the roads.”

Although no new rules or regulations are being proposed, the study could become the foundation for future regulations.

In order to complete the study, the FMCSA will ask 12,000 registered CDL holders to complete a 20-minute online survey. The FMCSA will pay drivers a $10 incentive to complete the survey.

The agency is currently accepting public comments on the proposed study.

As of January 6th, the proposal has received 18 public comments. A majority of the comments oppose the proposed study.

Driver Tammy Dodge wrote the following public comment:

This is not required to subject truck drivers to this. This is a violation of their privacy it seems to me. First this ELD thing which these electronic devices have been unreliable at the very least and follow no common sense approach to everyday circumstances that are dealt with daily by the drivers. These regulations seem to be unfairly aimed at the truck driver to make their jobs almost impossible to work. This is just another bad regulation aimed at the truck driver that might live a ways away from their terminal. Now the FMCSA wants to penalize them even more for having to drive to work. Will it ever stop? It just keeps going on and on with bad regulations aimed at the everyday, hard working, family supporting, tax paying truck driver. Not to mention without these hardworking individuals this country would not be able to enjoy all the essentials needed for basic daily life. The government and the FMCSA needs to stop targeting this group that keeps America running, and stop continually listening to the giant fleet owners and every group that has to blame someone for something that happens on the road. ENOUGH IS ENOUGH FMCSA!!!

Another driver, Brandon Kisamore, stated the following:

FMCSA needs to find something better to do than make our lives harder. I’ve had my fill of your nonsense and if it continues, this industry will be one more driver short.

In order to post your own public comment, click here, or search for Docket ID: FMCSA-2017-0313 on the Regulations.gov website. The public comment period will close on January 26th, 2018.