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“Call on Washington” set for Sept. 29 & 30

MTAC is preparing to make our third “Call on Washington” Sept. 29 and 30. Arranged by the American Trucking Association (ATA), Call on Washington provides a rewarding opportunity for MTAC’s members to visit their congressional delegation in the nation’s capitol.


Mike Riley, Mike DeGrand, Mark Giuffré, and Norm Bolduc in Washington, DC.

Last year, Norm Bolduc, of Kay’s Trucking, Mark Giuffré, of UPS, and Mike DeGrand of DeGrand & Sons joined MTAC’s Mike Riley visiting the five congressional offices and both United States senators. We met personally with members and their staff, and we received a great reception from our elected officials.

ATA does a great job of organizing the meetings. Full briefings on all current issues are provided with staff experts from the National Trade Association. This year, we’ll squeeze in a little socialization, site-seeing, and have a lot of fun.

The ATA will help us secure rooms, which will be individually billed. MTAC will pick up dinners. Transportation to and from Washington is up to you.

If you are interested in attending, contact us here at MTAC. The tentative schedule is as follows.

Tuesday, Sept. 29

  • Briefings at ATA capitol office – 2 p.m. to 4 p.m.
  • Cocktail reception at ATA Capitol Hill office – 5 p.m. to 6 p.m.
  • Dinner (TBD) – 6 p.m.

Wednesday, Sept. 30

  • Breakfast at ATA Capitol Hill office & follow-up briefings – 8 a.m.
  • Depart to meet with Connecticut members of Congress – 9:30 a.m.
  • Cocktail reception at ATA Capitol Hill townhouse – 5 p.m.
  • Dinner (TBD) – 6 p.m.


Fall 2015 MTAC – Looking ahead

As summer ends, MTAC looks forward to cranking up the gears to some big issues and activities ahead.

Transportation Finance Authority –Governor Malloy appointed this group to make recommendations to provide the funding to pay for his ambitious 30-year $100 billion transportation infrastructure program. They have been discussing congestion pricing, tolling, public private partnerships and mileage taxes. It’s anticipated that their report will be released in October. That release will precipitate the calling of a special session of the Connecticut General Assembly to act upon their recommendations. MTAC will be very busy dealing with whatever is proposed and fighting for a constitutional amendment to protect transportation funding from further raids.

In September, Connecticut Academy of Scientists and Engineers (CASE) will release their report on the corrosive effects of chemicals used to treat roads during winter weather. The academy has held several sessions, which MTAC has attended. On a couple of occasions MTAC, with the help of Bob Hamilton of Bozzuto’s and Kim Pelletier of Truck Builders, was able to graphically illustrate, with actual corroded components, the damage these chemicals cause in motor vehicles. MTAC has been leading the charge pointing out the downside risk of the products used in many states to pre-treat road surfaces and to minimize the effects of snow and ice on roads and bridges.

At the end of September, a delegation from MTAC will participate in our third Call on Washington. This program, coordinated by American Trucking Associations, provides briefings on all of the current federal legislative issues to local business leaders. They then visit with members of Congress to lobby their own representatives. It has been called the most effective lobbying effort ever undertaken by the trucking industry. This year reauthorization of the federal highway bill, longer combination vehicles, hours of service, electronic logging devices and air quality standards will be among the topics we discuss with Connecticut’s five representatives and two senators. We would welcome others to join us on what has become an effective and enjoyable association tradition.

American Trucking Associations will hold its 2015 Management Conference and Exhibition in Philadelphia in mid-October. This annual event brings the top management of trucking companies all across the nation, manufacturers and service professionals for some high level discussions and economic activity.

MTAC will hold its 95th Annual Meeting and Conference on October 29. The results of a recent survey of members will allow us to tailor this meeting to provide the value of most relevance to Connecticut based members. This will be Mike Riley’s 28th and last annual conference. This year, the person who will succeed Mike, as president of MTAC, will be introduced for the first time to the general membership and annual meeting.

The Dump Truck Division Christmas Party will hold its traditional holiday celebration for construction companies and their drivers. Great door prizes and the camaraderie of friendly competitors ensure a fun night will be had by all.

Take the trucking industry critical issues survey

The American Transportation Research Institute (ATRI), the trucking industry’s not-for-profit research organization, launched their annual survey in August. The survey, commissioned by the American Trucking Associations (ATA), asks trucking industry stakeholders to rank the top issues of concern along with appropriate strategies for addressing each issue. The survey is in its 11th year and participation by trucking stakeholders has grown each year.

“In complex times like this it is critical that we do our part to help ensure a thriving future for the trucking industry,” said ATA Chairman of Logistics Duane Long. “With your participation, we can speak with a collective industry voice on the issues most important to us.” The results of the 2015 survey will be released at the ATA Annual Management Conference and Exhibition, held Oct. 17-20 in Philadelphia.

Take the Survey Now

ATRI is the trucking industry’s 501(c)(3) not-for-profit research organization.  It is engaged in critical research relating to freight transportation’s essential role in maintaining a safe, secure and efficient transportation system

Review: FMCSA DataQs system and challenges

When regular citizens receive traffic tickets incorrectly, they can contest their charges in court. While the court could still find them guilty, the prosecutor or judge may dismiss the case, reduce the charges and fines, or the case could go to trial and result in a not guilty verdict. In these cases, no points are charged to the citizen’s driver’s license.

Things are different for holders of a commercial drivers license (CDL), where points are placed on their license before a court hearing. Additionally, those points remain on the CDL unless the driver or motor carrier affirmatively submits evidence to the state in a separate proceeding proving the ticket was dismissed. Even then, the points may not be removed. That is the reality facing truckers under Compliance Safety Accountability (CSA). CSA analyzes safety-based violations and attaches a percentage score to the driver/carrier. A low score is supposed to correlate to the safety record of drivers or carriers. Therefore, it is important to strive to have the lowest possible CSA score.

The DataQs system is an electronic means for filing concerns about federal and state data released to the public by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA). Any user, including motor carriers, drivers, and even the general public, can submit a request for data review using the DataQs system. Interested parties can register via the FMCSA portal or through the DataQs system directly.

DataQ requests require filling out simple forms with information from the relevant report, such as the report number, date and time of event, state, and an explanation for why the data should be changed. Filers may also submit documentation to support the request. All information is routed to the organization responsible for the data. Electronic correspondence is used to communicate with the requestor when additional information is needed. DataQs is open to the public and the website provides an online help function to walk users through the process.

If one believes that information on the FMCSA websites (SMS, FMCSA Portal, MCMIS, etc.) is incorrect, they should “DataQ” immediately and submit evidence supporting the contention that the data is flawed. Challenging violations found during a roadside inspection should be done only after careful documentation and review of the situation. Claimants should investigate, verify, and submit evidence supporting their position courteously and professionally. Clear photos and statements can help substantiate a challenge.

The DataQs system is an online method for drivers and carriers to appeal charges that will negatively affect their CSA scores. The information entered is known as a Request for Data Review (RDR). Data eligible for challenges include crash data, roadside inspections and specific tickets issued to drivers. These challenges can be filed by either a driver or a carrier.

A CSA score is comprised of data reported to the FMCSA through federal and state agencies. Typically, data regarding crash accidents and roadside inspections are reported by the states. As a result, the majority of DataQs challenges are reviewed by analysts from the state that issued the citation. Once the state makes a final determination, the FMCSA cannot overturn it without the state’s consent. This leaves open the possibility of discrepancies of challenges by states.

Consider the return polices of different retail stores. Some accept returns without much consideration while others are very strict. The same applies to states reviewing challenges. Some states are more liberal than others. There are no federal standards for states to follow.

Examples of things to submit to challenge DataQs (This list is neither comprehensive nor a guarantee that your submission will be approved.)

  • Either the truck, driver or both are not related to the carrier
  • Driver’s name, CDL, CDL state, DOB is incorrect
  • A different violation is listed with the FMCSA than is listed on the roadside inspection
  • An inspection or crash has been duplicated on the federal register.
  • If a ticket has been thrown out of court, it may be possible to have the violation removed
  • If a violation has been mis-coded (say the inspection lists “393.24(d) – Improper head/auxiliary/fog lamp aiming” a 6-point violation VS. “392.33 – Improper required lamps” a 2-point violation.)
  • A tow-away in a crash for a vehicle that was drivable but the driver not available.

It is important to be selective about DataQs challenges. Throwing everything at the system and hoping something sticks is not likely to be a successful strategy. All DataQ challenges are reviewed by individuals and not computers. Petitioners should make their best case, submit substantiation for their position, be courteous, and accept the outcome resolutely. It’s a flawed system. There are often discrepancies in the process and the likelihood of success is not guaranteed. But, until the system can be improved, it is the system within which the commercial transportation industry must operate.

Members are advised to look for the MTAC training calendar for an upcoming training seminar regarding the process. This program will be presented by the appropriate personnel from the Connecticut DMV Commercial Motor Vehicle Division familiar with and responsible for the DataQs function in this state.

Proposed OSHA record-keeping obligations could be costly

The Federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) is proposing an amendment clarifying its record-keeping rules that could provide the agency greater ability to cite and fine an employer.

OSHA already requires employers to create and maintain records about workplace injuries and illnesses that meet certain criteria. Specifically, employers must:

  • Create and update a log of work-related injuries and illnesses (OSHA 300 Form);
  • Create and maintain injury and illness incident reports (OSHA 301 Form); and
  • Create and display an annual summary of workplace incidents (OSHA 300A Form) between Feb. 1 and April 30 of each year.

Employers must keep these records for at least five years. The five-year retention period begins on Jan. 1 of the year following the year covered by the records. For example, the five-year retention period for incident reports created on Jan. 23, June 15, and Nov. 4 of this year begins on Jan. 1, 2016.

OSHA can issue a citation and assess a corresponding fine on employers who don’t comply, but not more than six months after a violation.

A potentially costly interpretation

Under the amendment, however, OSHA interprets a violation as existing until corrected. Therefore, the six-month period to issue citations and assess penalties begins on the date of the last instance of the violation. For example, if a violation that started on Feb. 1 was corrected on May 15, the six-month period would begin on May 15 and OSHA would have until Nov. 15 to issue a citation.

OSHA also asserts that uncorrected violations are considered ongoing violations, and that each day of noncompliance is subject to a separate penalty.

Bottom line

This amendment makes it possible for OSHA to penalize employers for a record-keeping violation within six months of the last date of noncompliance, not the first date when a violation occurs. This exposes an employer to greater possibility of fines and emphasizes the employer’s responsibility to create and maintain records.

The amendment also justifies OSHA’s ability to assess penalties against a violating employer for each day of noncompliance, until the maximum penalty amount is reached or the employer corrects the violation.

marty-sheaThe comment period for this proposed rule is open to the public until Sept. 28, 2015. Individuals who would like to submit an opinion may do so via mail, fax, or electronically.

Contact Sinclair Risk & Financial Management if you have questions about this proposed amendment or OSHA record-keeping and reporting requirements.

This article was written by Marty Shea, MTAC’s insurance program manager and vice president of Sales at Sinclair Risk & Financial Management. If your organization needs assistance with job descriptions, HR compliance documents or want to review your risk management program, you can contact Marty at (203) 284-3208.

CT Mirror: Connecticut traffic likely to get worse

CT Mirror reported on a study by the Texas A&M Transportation Institute and the traffic-monitoring firm INRIX that the Bridgeport-Stamford area is the second-most congested area of its size in the nation, and motorists there spent an average of 49 hours in traffic tie-ups each year.

Connecticut has some of the worst traffic in the nation, with jams that cost drivers about 20 gallons of wasted fuel and dozens of hours of lost time each year, and things are likely to get worse, a new report says.

… the Urban Mobility Scorecard … [reported] Hartford was the fifth most congested medium-sized city in the nation, with drivers’ spending an average of 45 hours a year in traffic delays. New Haven came in 11th, with an average of 40 hours a year in traffic jams.

Read the full article at the CT Mirror.

Good news on alcohol and drug testing results

MTAC receives quarterly reports from the Gregory & Howe/MTAC Alcohol and Drug Testing Program. We have the largest consortium for transportation professionals in the state. I always find the results interesting and encouraging.

Our program tests CDL drivers for a variety of substances identified by law. The report for January through March 2015 shows impressive results. We conducted DOT tests on 806 specimens with eight pre-employment positives (of 284), and only one random test positive out of 477. All reasonable cause (1), follow-up (25), post accident (8), and return to duty (1) tests were clean.

This is evidence that the professional truck drivers of this state are responsible and compliant. I don’t understand why people who use drugs even bother applying for truck driver positions. Pre-employment tests, immediately disqualify them, yet they continue to apply for other driving jobs. Don’t ever put a driver into a truck without that important pre-employment drug test.

We can all be proud of the results of our random testing program. Only one positive out of 477 in a three-month period produces a positive rate of 0.0029 %.

September is Truck Driver Appreciation Month. It’s a good time to let drivers know how much we all depend upon them and appreciate them for their professionalism. And, we can all be proud of these results that prove that we don’t have a drug problem in the Connecticut trucking industry.

2015 National Truck Driving Championship Results

News release from the American Trucking Associations on Aug. 15, 2015.

St. Louis – Today, Ronald Emenheiser, Sr., a Walmart Transportation professional truck driver based in Yorkana, Pa., was named 2015 Bendix Grand Champion at the 78th annual National Truck Driving Championships and National Step Van Driving Championships, hosted by American Trucking Associations.

“All the competitors who took part in the National Truck Driving Championships are champions – they are champions for safety on our highways and for our industry’s image,” said ATA President and CEO Bill Graves. “And while I applaud all of them for their achievements and dedication to safety – I want to especially congratulate Ronald for winning the Bendix Grand Champion award with his superior driving skill and commitment to safety.”

To win the coveted title, Emenheiser’s driving skills and knowledge of transportation and truck safety information topped those of 430 other professional drivers from all across the United States in the “Super Bowl of Safety” sponsored by ATA.

Emenheiser, who won the sleeper berth division, has more than 25 years as a professional driver. He first competed in his state truck driving championships in 2006, and this is his second trip to the National Truck Driving Championships. He succeeds Jeffrey Langenhahn, a professional truck driver with Con-way Freight, as the Bendix Grand Champion.

ATA also honored Brook Figgins, a professional driver for FedEx Freight, as the 2015 Rookie of the Year after competing in the sleeper berth division. The Wisconsin driving championship team won honors as the highest scoring state.

This year’s NTDC featured 431 competitors from all 50 states, representing 85 different companies. Together, these champions of safety have driven more than 665 million accident-free miles.

In their respective classes, drivers tested their expertise in the driving skills they use daily. The competition course inside the America’s Center Convention Complex and Edward Jones Dome challenged their knowledge of safety, equipment and the industry. The skills course tested drivers’ ability to judge distances, maneuver tight spaces, reverse, and position their vehicle exactly over scales, before barriers or around curves.

2015 National Truck Driving Championship Winners:

Grand Champion:  Ronald Emenheiser, Walmart Transportation, Yorkana, Pa.

National Rookie of the Year: Brook Figgins, FedEx Freight, Trinidad, Colo.

State Team Trophy: Wisconsin

Vehicle Condition Award:  Ricky Boone, Old Dominion Freight Line, Inc., Candler, North Carolina – 3-Axle class

Neill Darmstadter Professional Excellence Award:  Douglas Padgett, Robinson Terminal Warehouse Corp., Alexandria, Virginia – Flatbed class

Life-Time Volunteer Award:  Susan Webb, Wisconsin Motor Carriers Association

National Champions:

Straight Truck Class

  • First Place: Jeremy Steger, Con-way Freight, Plymouth, Wis.
  • Second Place: Loren Hatfield, ABF Freight System, Inc., Maumelle, Ark.
  • Third Place:  Ernest Budlowski, Con-way Freight, Shelton, Conn.

3-Axle Class

  • First Place: Donald Logan, FedEx Freight, Eskridge, Kan.
  • Second Place: Dwayne Heaverin, FedEx Express, Dry Ridge, Ky.
  • Third Place: Paul Butkowski, FedEx Freight, Sauk Rapids, Minn.

4-Axle Class

  • First Place: Bradley Lester, FedEx Freight, Happy Valley, Ore.
  • Second Place: David Hall, ABF Freight System, Inc., Austin, Ark.
  • Third Place: James Quarles, Walmart Transportation, Laurens, S.C.

5-Axle Class

  • First Place: Eric Ramsdell, Walmart Transportation, Wittmann, Ariz.
  • Second Place: Chad Rudesill, FedEx Ground, Tickfaw, La.
  • Third Place: Basher Pierce, FedEx Freight, Sophia, N.C.

Flatbed Class

  • First Place: Scott Woodrome, FedEx Freight, Middletown, Ohio
  • Second Place: Roland Bolduc, FedEx Express, East Longmeadow, Mass.
  • Third Place: John Wiley, Walmart Transportation, London, Ky.

Tank Truck Class

  • First Place: Brian Singelais, Sr., A. Duie Pyle, Inc., Webster, Mass
  • Second Place: John Maddox, Jr., Ergon Trucking, Inc., Stringer, Miss.
  • Third Place: David Magee, FedEx Freight, Huntingdon, Tenn.

Twins Class

  • First Place: David Mogler, FedEx Freight, Commerce City, Colo.
  • Second Place: Gerald Thompson, Con-way Freight, Grand Island, N.Y.
  • Third Place: Jeffrey Langenhahn, Con-way Freight, Plover, Wisc.

Sleeper Berth Class

  • First Place: Ronald Emenheiser, Walmart Transportation, Yorkana, Pa.
  • Second Place: Wayne Gootee, Walmart Transportation, Brooklyn, Mich.
  • Third Place: Eric Courville, FedEx Freight, Breaux Bridge, La.

Step Van

  • First Place: Andrew Tuck, FedEx Ground, Xenia, Ohio
  • Second Place: Nick Frazier, FedEx Ground, Granby, Mo.
  • Third Place: Dean Harris, FedEx Freight, Shawnee, Kan.

Free Training: Certified Logistics Technician Credential

goodwin-college-logGreat news! We have an opportunity to support another group of job seekers and current workers, seeking to upgrade their skills, in the Certified Logistics Technician (CLT) program at Goodwin College this fall.

We are reaching out to determine employer and potential participants’ interest in this program and credential. The CBIA Education Foundation, anticipates being able to offer this at no cost for eligible job seekers and at a subsidized cost of only $275 for employers who wish to refer entry-level incumbent workers.

cbia-education-foundation-logoImmediate Action Required: Contact Program Manager Debra Presbie at (860) 244-1932 and let her know if you have job-seekers or incumbent workers to refer to this training initiative. A decision to offer this program will be made by Aug. 7 in order to allow sufficient time for program recruitment.

The course would begin on Sept. 14 and will be offered in a hybrid format (combining classroom and online instruction) on alternate Monday evenings from 6 p.m. to 8:50 pm. After completion, students will earn two nationally recognized credentials from the Manufacturing Skills Standards Council (MSSC.) Earning the CLT credential allows the award of three college credits to be applied toward an associate degree in Supply Chain and Logistics. Additional information specific to the program is listed below.

Download a PDF with the course information.

Certified Logistics Technician (CLT) Credential

workforce-solutions-logoThe CBIA Education Foundation received a grant from the Workforce Solutions Collaborative of Metro Hartford to support entry-level education/training and career development in the growing Transportation, Distribution and Logistics industry. Fifteen unemployed or underemployed residents of the greater Hartford area will be selected for the summer 2015 course at Goodwin College. Come learn about the CLT credential, program eligibility requirements, and application process.

BMM125-—The Certified Logistics Technician (CLT) Credential

3 CREDITS | Starts Monday, Sept. 14

Goodwin College’s three-credit Certified Logistics Technician (CLT) program covers nationally validated skills required for supply chain and logistics. The program is focused on training front line employees who work in factories, warehouses, transporters, and distribution centers. Students will be credentialed by the Manufacturing Skill Standards Council (MSSC) as a Certified Logistics Associate (CLA) and as a Certified Logistics Technician.

Certified Logistics Associate (CLA)

  • Global supply chain logistics life cycle
  • Logistics environment
  • Materials handling equipment
  • Safety principles
  • Safe material handling and equipment operation
  • Quality control principles
  • Workplace communications
  • Teamwork and workplace behavior to solve problems
  • Using computers

Certified Logistics Technician (CLT)

  • Product receiving
  • Product storage
  • Order processing
  • Packaging and shipment
  • Inventory control
  • Safe handling of hazmat materials
  • Evaluation of transportation modes
  • Dispatch and tracking
  • Measurements and metric conversions

Students who successfully complete the modules will earn their CLT credentials from MSSC. Earning the CLT credential allows the award of three college credits to be applied to an associate degree in Supply Chain and Logistics.

Hartford rest stop planned for truckers & motorists

Connecticut has a well-documented shortage of safe areas where truck drivers can get the mandated rest they require. Pride Convenience Inc. from Massachusetts is responding with a proposal to build a retail rest stop in Hartford’s North Meadows area, adjacent to I-91. The facility will include ample parking for trucks and cars, as well as fuel, a convenience store, fast food options and a 1,000-square-foot outdoor pet park.

The Hartford Business Journal provides some details on the facility and notes ground-breaking may happen as soon as September.

State transportation and private-trucking officials say the facility would be a much-needed, welcome solution to a statewide shortage of trucker rest areas.

Pride founder Robert “Bob” Bolduc said his company has purchased several land parcels from the city and private landowners, totaling about 6 ½ acres at the northeast corner of Jennings Road, at the I-91 interchange in the city’s North Meadows.

With the pulling of city building permits and state and federal environmental clearances to install underground fuel storage tanks underway, construction of the 16-pump travel center could begin sometime in September, Bolduc said. Opening is set for Independence Day 2016, staffed with 45 full- and part-time workers, mostly from Hartford, he said.

MTAC has regularly pointed out the paucity of areas where commercial motor vehicles are allowed to park and rest in Connecticut. Building a Hartford rest stop is a welcome development and we look forward to meeting the folks who are investing in this important and needed facility.