Reminder: Employers must conduct annual queries by Jan. 5

From FMCSA.

If an employer has already conducted a query on all currently-employed CDL drivers, that employer has met the annual query requirement, and is not required to conduct a query for one year from the query date.

Employers may also designate a consortium/third-part administrator (C/TPA) to conduct these queries on their behalf. Employers can log in to their Clearinghouse accounts and access their Query History page (under My Dashboard > Queries) to verify which drivers have been queried, and when each completed query was conducted.

If an employer has not yet conducted a query on each currently-employed CDL driver, the employer must conduct this annual check to meet the compliance requirement.

What do employers need to do to satisfy the annual query requirement?

Per § 382.701, employers of CDL drivers must conduct a query of the Clearinghouse at least once per year for each CDL driver they employ. A limited query satisfies the annual query requirement.

Employers must obtain a general consent from CDL drivers they employ before conducting limited queries in the Clearinghouse to view these drivers’ information (you can download a sample limited query consent form).

You can log in to the Clearinghouse and conduct your annual queries today.

What if an employer conducted a pre-employment query this year?

The pre-employment query will satisfy the annual query requirement for that driver. You are not required to query that driver until one year after that pre-employment query.

To learn more about queries and consent requests, download the Queries and Consent Requests Factsheet.

What is a query plan?

Before an employer can conduct queries in the Clearinghouse, the employer must purchase a query plan. Download the How to Purchase a Query Plan job aid for full instructions.

Log in to the Clearinghouse

If you don’t have a Clearinghouse account, register today.

Biden introduces Buttigieg as transportation choice

From Transport Topics.

Pete Buttigieg, the former Democratic presidential candidate as well as former mayor of South Bend, Ind., will be nominated to lead the U.S. Department of Transportation under the Biden administration.

In a statement announcing the pick, President-elect Joe Biden described Buttigieg as “a patriot and a problem-solver who speaks to the best of who we are as a nation,” and that he wants him to lead the Transportation Department “because this position stands at the nexus of so many of the interlocking challenges and opportunities ahead of us.

“Jobs, infrastructure, equity, and climate all come together at the DOT, the site of some of our most ambitious plans to build back better,” Biden said. “I trust Mayor Pete to lead this work with focus, decency, and a bold vision — he will bring people together to get big things done.”

See the complete story from Transport Topics online.

Trucks carry first doses of COVID-19 vaccine to hospitals

From Transport Topics.

As the first doses of a COVID-19 vaccine begin to ship, trucking experts on the ground level of the distribution effort said the logistical elements are in place for a successful rollout of an estimated 50 million doses of the vaccine between now and the end of January.

“We have dedicated and hardworking people around the world who have been trained to store, handle, transport and deliver vaccines,” UPS Inc. CEO Carol Tomé said. “We’re pleased to support our health care partners with smart, efficient logistics for these vaccines that will protect communities and save lives.”

Operation Warp Speed is the federal joint effort between government and private industry to develop and distribute a COVID-19 vaccine. The initial distribution phase began at the Kalamazoo, Mich., Pfizer plant, where the vaccine — co-developed by pharmaceutical firms Pfizer and BioNTech SE — was moved by truck and air to UPS and FedEx distribution hubs and then on to 636 locations across the country. Atlanta-based UPS has set up a special 24/7 command center at its Worldport aviation hub in Louisville, Ky.

See the complete article from Transport Topics online.

MTAC’s Sculley elected to ATRI Research Advisory Committee

From ATRI.

The American Transportation Research Institute today released the names of those individuals appointed by the ATRI Board of Directors to serve on the 2021-2022 Research Advisory Committee (RAC). Among other activities, ATRI’s RAC is responsible for annually identifying the top research priorities for the trucking industry. RAC members represent a diverse cross-section of trucking industry stakeholders including motor carriers, industry suppliers, commercial drivers, shippers, law enforcement, academia and government.

“ATRI’s RAC members serve a critical role in identifying and prioritizing the trucking industry’s top research needs. We congratulate all those appointed by the ATRI Board to serve in this important role and look forward to working with them,” said Rebecca Brewster, ATRI President and COO.

The complete ATRI release, including list of all Research Advisory Committee members, is available online.

UPS says it can handle vaccine rollout, holiday parcel rush

From Transport Topics.

UPS Inc. said it has the capacity to handle the rollout of coronavirus vaccines and an unprecedented holiday package rush this month after investments in automation, tracking technology and dry-ice production.

The courier is the primary end-to-end distributor for Pfizer Inc.’s vaccine, as well as for kits to prepare the shots and dry ice shipments to keep the inoculations at extremely cold temperatures, UPS sales chief Kate Gutmann said in an interview. The vaccine and kits will have tracking devices that allow shipments to be monitored at all times.

“We’re planning enough capacity on the ground and in the air to make sure that there is no limit around the UPS side,” Gutmann said.

The initial vaccine shipments will coincide with the busiest shipping weeks of an extraordinary peak season in which virus-averse consumers are going online to order a record deluge of goods for home delivery. U.S. approval of the Pfizer vaccine is expected soon, now that the Food and Drug Administration has published a report saying there are no safety concerns to prevent its authorization.

See the complete article from Transport Topics online.

FedEx: Putting the speed in Operation Warp Speed

From The Daily Memphian.

It’s FedEx’s time to shine — and by extension, Memphis’ time — when shipments of COVID-19 vaccines start moving from manufacturers to hospitals, clinics and pharmacies across America in latter December.

A Dec. 3 visit by Vice President Mike Pence and top public health officials to the home turf of Memphis-based FedEx drove home the critical role of FedEx in distributing the vaccines touted as the cure for a devastating global pandemic.

FedEx, American rival United Parcel Service and Germany’s DHL are all expected to play major parts in vaccine distribution. But Pence, leader of the Trump administration’s COVID-19 task force, singled out “a great American company,” FedEx, to highlight at a roundtable discussion on vaccines and their distribution.

“When we started to get word that we might have a vaccine by the end of the year, people said, ‘It’s one thing to develop a vaccine, it’s another thing about distributing it to millions of Americans…,’” Pence said.

See the complete article from the Daily Memphian online.

Trucks already pay, don’t penalize these heroes with tolls

Letter to the Editor by MTAC President Joe Sculley.

Paul Choiniere’s Nov. 29 column states, “But if those trucks gas up elsewhere, Connecticut will see no increased revenue from them, because Connecticut does not have tolls.” This is false, as I detailed in a previous letter to The Day, which the paper graciously published on July 26, 2018.

Connecticut does in fact collect tax and fee revenue from out-of-state trucks, regardless of where they fuel up. My previous letter referenced the fact that Connecticut had received $26 million to $30 million annually from out-of-state trucks. Since that letter was published, Connecticut did see increased revenue from those trucks. Data from the state shows that more than $40 million in combined revenue was collected through the International Registration Plan and the International Fuel Tax Agreement in 2018.

An out-of-state truck does not even need to stop in Connecticut in order to pay these taxes. If a commercial truck weighing more than 26,000 pounds drives through Connecticut, it must pay taxes on the miles it drives and the fuel it uses while in the state.

On a related note, the trucking industry has played a vital role during the COVID-19 pandemic by getting food to grocery stores so that shelves emptied by panicked shoppers could be refilled. Trucking companies continue to transport medical equipment to hospitals and medicine to pharmacies. They are going to play a big role in getting vaccine doses to where they need to go.

See the complete letter to the editor online.

Will Connecticut legislators raise the gas tax?

From CT Mirror.

With tolls off the table in 2021, state officials could look to gasoline tax hikes to salvage Connecticut’s imperiled transportation program.

And while neither Gov. Ned Lamont nor legislators have proposed an increase, one of the arguments most frequently used to defeat it — Connecticut’s gas taxes are among the nation’s highest — no longer holds true.

An analysis of states’ fuel tax burdens by the American Petroleum Institute showed Connecticut’s levies — which contribute about 36 cents per gallon to the price — rank slightly below the national average and 15th nationwide.

The API, a national trade association for the oil and natural gas industry, did rank Connecticut’s 69-cents-per-gallon diesel tax ninth overall among states, and seven pennies greater than the national average.

“I do anticipate a conversation around fuel taxes” during the next General Assembly session, said Rep. Roland Lemar, D-New Haven, co-chairman of the Transportation Committee. The session convenes Jan. 6.

See the complete article from CT Mirror online.

FMCSA extends emergency declaration to Feb. 28

FMCSA has announced that they have expanded and extended the Emergency Declaration that was set to expire on Dec. 31. This extension includes the same regulatory relief for motor carriers and drivers providing direct assistance in support of relief efforts related to COVID-19, as included in the Sept. 11 modified and extended declaration. The primary change with this current declaration is the inclusion of vaccine transportation.

The expanded declaration is limited to the transportation of:

  1. Livestock and livestock feed;
  2. Medical supplies and equipment related to the testing, diagnosis and treatment of COVID-19;
  3. Vaccines, constituent products, and medical supplies and equipment including ancillary supplies/kits for the administration of vaccines, related to the prevention of COVID-19;
  4. Supplies and equipment necessary for community safety, sanitation, and prevention of community transmission of COVID-19 such as masks, gloves, hand sanitizer, soap and disinfectants, and;
  5. Food, paper products and other groceries for emergency restocking of distribution centers or stores.

Please note, this expanded declaration became effective at 12:00 A.M. December 1st, and expires on February 28th, 2021.

As with previous declarations, emergency regulatory relief is provided from parts 390 through 399 of the FMCSRs, including the hours-of-service regulations. Emergency relief does not include certain FMCSR’s related to the safe operation of CMVs, such as controlled substance and alcohol testing, financial responsibility requirements, CDL requirements, operation of a CMV while ill or fatigued, size and weight requirements, and additional FMCSR’s which are outlined in the declaration.

We encourage everyone to review the applicability, restrictions, and limitations which are included in the exemption online.

Get answers to ELD-related questions

FMCSA provides answers to frequently asked questions about ELDs. Consult these FAQs when you have an ELD-related question, as the answer may already be at your fingertips.

Some of the questions included in FMCSA’s FAQ include:

  • What are the key requirements of the ELD rule?
  • Who must comply with the Electronic Logging Device (ELD) rule?
  • What are the exceptions to the ELD mandate?
  • What is the carrier’s responsibility in ensuring that they are using a registered device?

See the answers to these questions, and many more, at this FMCSA website.