New DMV policy eliminates unnecessary paperwork

The Connecticut Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) has now firmly implemented a new policy that will eliminate the need for carriers to present a Federal Annual Inspection (FAI) form, and an inspector qualification form, at the time of vehicle registration. This policy change has been pending since the beginning of the year, and per this document from DMV, it is now in effect. As a result of this change, Connecticut is now aligned with the 49 other states on this policy.

MTAC applauds the implementation of this policy which will improve the efficiency of vehicle registration, by eliminating unnecessary administrative burdens relating to the paperwork. MTAC members have experienced considerable problems in the past as a result of FAI reports and inspector qualification forms, but those issues should be fully resolved as a result of this change.

As part of this policy change, DMV will be distributing this informative document to carriers, which features a reminder about Federal Annual Inspection requirements. All MTAC members are encouraged to review the requirements.

MTAC thanks DMV Commissioner Magubane and her leadership team for implementing this common-sense policy that will improve the vehicle registration process for all parties involved.

The high cost of electric vehicle subsidies

MTAC members may be interested in reading a recent report titled Short Circuit: The High Cost of Electric Vehicle Subsidies, which was written by Ph.D. author Jonathan Lesser, and published by the Manhattan Institute. Some key areas of focus in the report are the impact on ratepayers, emissions, and inequality. In light of news that Connecticut signed a Memorandum Of Understanding with 14 other states to indicate their intention to mandate that 100% of all new truck sales be electric trucks at some point in the future, this report should be considered by all businesses and policy makers.

The report states that broad-based adoption of “Zero-Emission” Vehicles (ZEVs) will result in higher emissions of air pollutants, particularly Sulfur Dioxides (SO2) and Nitrogen Oxide (NOx), than Internal Combustion Vehicles (ICVs). This is due to the emissions from the power plants generating the electricity to power the ZEVs. To be consistent, the study also factors in emissions from oil refineries associated with the gasoline they produce to power ICVs.

The report demonstrates that an astounding number of charging stations would be required in order to provide the needed capacity to charge the ZEVs that would replace ICVs. In California alone, they are expected to cost tens of billions of dollars. The ZEV infrastructure (charging stations) will be “socialized” in the form of higher rates for all ratepayers, which the author says will exacerbate economic inequality.

Additionally, this report holds that there are “significant economic and engineering obstacles” to achieving a situation where ZEVs are actually charged with electricity that is generated through emissions-free means. This includes additional costs to ratepayers beyond the tens of billions of dollars that would be required to install charging stations that would be powered by existing power plants.

A copy of the complete report is available online.

Truckers Against Trafficking is saving lives

From Truckers Against Trafficking (TAT).

We all know drivers have been working around the clock to keep America moving, and that the truck stop industry has kept its doors open to serve them and the rest of the motoring public … for that we are grateful! But did you know that they are also hard at work, alongside law enforcement, helping to save lives?

  • The National Human Trafficking Hotline (NHTH) reports that in the last 5 years over 41% of the cases truckers have reported to them involve victims that are minors.
  • Drivers have now made over 2600 calls into the hotline, generating close to 700 cases, involving 1278 victims… and this is only one slice of the data pie, as it doesn’t include calls into 911 or the local sheriff’s office.
  • Two out of the five TAT Harriet Tubman Award winners have been truck stop employees, with a current partner just reporting an amazing case of victim recovery at one of their locations.
  • This June, a CSP Port of Entry Officer, attributed the recovery of a potential victim and arrest of a potential trafficker, to the in-depth law enforcement training she received from TAT staff.

With the realities of COVID upon us, we need your help in continuing to grow our mobile army … please donate today!

 

TSA approves 90-day HME exemption

TSA has announced that they have approved an extension of the HME Exemption that allowed states to issue an extension of up to 180 days for HMEs expiring between March 1, 2020 – July 31, 2020. The 90-day extension makes the new exemption period for HMEs that would otherwise expire between March 1, 2020 – October 29, 2020.

Members may be interested in this Frequently Asked Questions page from TSA that was published as part of the initial HME exemption.

Per an announcement from TSA earlier this year, if a state grants an extension, the individual with an expired HME must initiate the process of renewing his or her STA for an HME no later than 60 days before the end of the State-granted extension.

Drivers operating on an extended (expired) HME should not wait to begin the renewal process if they don’t have to. CT DMV has produced a helpful document regarding the HME renewal process.

Advertise in next edition of The Transportation Professional

MTAC is in the process of working with Matthews Publishing Group on the next edition of our magazine, The Transportation Professional. Support MTAC, and gain exposure to a readership of more than 6,000 people by placing an ad in the upcoming edition.

If you’re interested in advertising, either let MTAC know, or contact Jennifer Matthews. Jennifer’s email and phone number is in the graphic below.

Fed sees dim economic outlook as virus squeezes economy

From Associated Press via Transport Topics.

The Federal Reserve expressed concern July 29 that the viral outbreak will act as a drag on the economy and hiring in the coming months and said it plans to keep its benchmark short-term interest rate pegged near zero.

In a statement at the end of its policymaking meeting July 29, the Fed acknowledged that the economy has rebounded from the depths of March and April, when nearly all states closed down nonessential businesses. But it said the ongoing coronavirus pandemic “will weigh heavily on economic activity, employment and inflation.”

The Fed announced no new policies in its statement. It said it also will continue to buy about $120 billion in Treasury and mortgage bonds each month, which are intended to inject cash into financial markets and spur borrowing and spending.

See the complete article from the Associated Press via Transport Topics online.

Connecticut Resources

Connecticut’s coffers have swelled — not shrunk — during COVID

From CT Mirror.

State government’s coffers have swelled by hundreds of millions of dollars since the coronavirus struck in mid-March, despite warnings of a nearly $1 billion deficit just three months ago.

Connecticut’s rainy day fund, which stood at $2.5 billion when the pandemic struck, now approaches $2.8 billion, according to an ongoing review of thousands of state tax returns filed after July 15.

And while the legislature’s Office of Fiscal Analysis still expects Connecticut to exhaust most reserves over the next 11 months, they now project the state will maintain a modest, $250 million cushion one year from now.

That’s a far cry from two months ago, when Gov. Ned Lamont warned Connecticut might be broke by mid-2021 and potentially saddled with $500 million in operating debt. The governor hoped to avoid this debt by seeking concessions from labor unions, who declined, noting they provided givebacks in 2009, 2011 and 2017.

How has state government gotten richer since the pandemic began?

See the complete article from CT Mirror online.

Lamont issues order creating limited COVID-19 Workers’ Comp presumption

Governor Ned Lamont has issued an Executive Order creating a limited COVID-19 workers’ compensation presumption for essential employees. The presumption applies to essential employees who missed a day or more of work between the dates of March 10, 2020 and May 20, 2020, and the following conditions were met:

  1. such employee worked, at the direction of the employer, outside the home during at least one of the fourteen days immediately preceding the date of injury, and had not received an offer or directive from said employer to work from home instead of from his or her place of employment;
  2. if the date of injury was more than fourteen days after March 23, 2020, such employee was employed by an employer deemed essential by the Department of Economic and Community Development pursuant to Executive Order 7H;
  3. the contraction of COVID-19 by such employee was confirmed by a positive laboratory diagnostic test within three weeks of the date of injury or diagnosed and documented within three weeks of the date of injury by a licensed physician, licensed physician’s assistant, or licensed advanced practice registered nurse, based on the employee’s symptoms; and
  4.  a copy of the positive laboratory diagnostic test results or the written diagnosis required by subdivision (iii) of this subsection shall be provided to the employer or insurer

Executive Order 7H instructed the Connecticut Department of Economic and Community Development (DECD) to define which businesses are essential, which they did by publishing these definitions. Note that “commercial trucking” is listed under the “infrastructure” sector as one of 16 Critical Infrastructure Sectors defined by the federal Department of Homeland Security, which DECD referenced in their definitions.

Submitting Med Cards to Connecticut DMV

Connecticut DMV has advised that – very soon – Connecticut’s online medical certification system will be the only way to submit medical information to CT DMV. The online medical certification system can be accessed at this link. Due to this, do not email or fax your med cards to CT DMV, they will not be received that way.

The link works from smart phones and tablets. Users can enter the link and follow the step by step wizard.

As a reminder, members can use this FMCSA website to search for Certified Medical Examiners (CMEs) in Connecticut who are qualified to perform physical examinations. Once the driver has obtained medical certification, submit the medical cards (short form) through the online medical certification system.

Updates to MTAC Drug and Alcohol Testing Program

The administrator of MTAC’s drug and alcohol testing program, Fleet Screen, was recently acquired by DISA Global Solutions. Below are a couple of important updates regarding the transition.

Review of New Online Platform

As part of the integration, a new online platform is being rolled out for use by members in the drug and alcohol testing program. The new online platform will be used for various aspects of communication regarding the drug and alcohol testing process, for example, printing authorization forms, accessing test results, marking a driver as “unavailable” for a test on a particular day, etc.

Online training sessions for the new online platform were held earlier this summer, but some members may not have been able to participate.

Members who were unable to participate in the webinars can view the slides used in those presentations online.

Status Update Regarding MRO Change

The following is an excerpt from a message regarding changes to the Medical Review Officer (MRO) process as part of the Fleet Screen – DISA integration.

“In August, we will transition your Medical Review Officer results to University Services, which is a DISA subsidiary and handles all of the MRO reviews for DISA clients. University Services has a comprehensive MRO team to ensure timely turn-around of test results and runs a 24 hour around the clock on-call service.

Additional information will be forth coming. No action is needed on your part at this time.”

A copy of the complete letter regarding changes in the MRO process can be downloaded as a PDF.