NHTSA: Fatalities involving large trucks remain relatively unchanged

From Fleet Owner.

Fatalities in crashes involving at least one heavy commercial truck showed relatively no change, decreasing from 5,006 in 2018 to 5,005 in 2019, according to data released by the U.S. Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). On Oct. 1 NHTSA released a preview of 2019 data from the Fatality Analysis Reporting System (FARS) and preliminary estimates for the first half of 2020.

According to the agency, traffic deaths decreased nationwide during 2019 as compared to 2018. There were 36,096 fatalities in motor vehicle traffic crashes in 2019. This represents a decrease of 739 (down 2%) from the reported 36,835 fatalities in 2018, even though vehicle miles traveled (VMT) increased by nearly 1%. As a result, the fatality rate for 2019 was 1.10 fatalities per 100 million VMT – the lowest rate since 2014, down from 1.14 fatalities per 100 million VMT in 2018.

NHTSA also released preliminary fatality estimates for the first half of 2020. The second quarter of 2020, during the height of the COVID-19 public health emergency, showed a continued decline in overall traffic fatalities. The FARS data indicate that an estimated 8,870 people died in motor vehicle traffic crashes in the second quarter of 2020, a decrease of about 3.3% compared to the second quarter of 2019, which translates into 302 fewer fatalities as compared to the same period in 2019.

See the complete article from Fleet Owner online.

Trucker pay increasing as driver shortage grows, industry capacity tightens

From Transport Topics.

As capacity tightens in the trucking industry, some carriers are beginning to announce pay hikes. While the frequency of these increases are not yet nearing the rapid pace of hikes the industry saw during the busy year of 2018, some industry watchers said they would not be surprised to see more jumps.

“I’ve seen a number of companies over the last couple of weeks make statements that they are raising their driver pay,” said Jeremy Reymer, CEO of Indianapolis-based driver recruiting firm DriverReach, in an interview with Transport Topics. “I think we’ve lost a ton of drivers this year, because of COVID.”

Green Bay, Wis.-based Schneider National in an Oct. 6 statement provided to TT that it is raising pay for its team drivers. Those with one year or more of experience will receive 4 cents per mile more, while inexperienced team drivers, zero to one year, will receive an additional 2 cents per mile in pay.

See the complete article from Transport Topics online.

Understand Hours of Service regulations

From FMCSA.

FMCSA’s Educational Tool for Hours of Service (ETHOS) helps motor carriers and drivers better understand the HOS regulations going into effect on September 29, 2020. When drivers and carriers enter their duty statuses into the web-based log below, ETHOS will identify where potential violations of the following rules may have occurred:

  • 11-hour driving limit (property) or 10-hour driving limit (passenger)
  • 14-hour driving window (property) or 15-hour on-duty limit (passenger)
  • 30-minute break (property)
  • Sleeper berth provision

Click here to access FMCSA’s Educational Toll for Hours of Service.

Note from MTAC

Register for the free Hours of Service educational session during the MTAC virtual annual meeting at 2 p.m. on Oct. 29.

Insurance challenges for small trucking companies

One of the biggest expenses for a small business trucking company is insurance. Unfortunately, there are signals that this cost will only be increasing. A recent study by the American Transportation Research Institute (ATRI) found that insurance premiums increased by 12 percent to 8.4 cents per mile in 2018.

MTAC members should participate in the virtual annual meeting featuring our MTAC partner Bouvier Insurance. Bouvier will present a “state of the marketplace” overview on what small business trucking companies are experiencing regarding insurance coverage.

In preparation for this session, Bouvier wants to hear from MTAC members regarding what challenges they are facing with respect to insurance. So, let’s hear it! Send your insurance questions to Joe Sculley and he will share them with Bouvier.

Finally, remember to register for the free session, which begins at noon on Oct. 29.

Connecticut DMV and FMCSA announcements on credential extensions

The Connecticut DMV has published a document which clarifies the timelines of their recent actions regarding extended credentials (CDLs, IRP registrations, non-IRP registrations, etc). Rather than having extensions that are valid for 90 days or 180 days, the new document provides dates for all credentials covered by their extensions. Specifically:

  • Credentials that expired between March 1, 2020 and May 31, 2020 remain valid until Nov. 30, 2020.
  • Credentials that expired between June 1, 2020 and Nov. 30, 2020 remain valid until Dec. 31, 2020.

A copy of this DMV announcement is available here.

Members should act to renew these extended credentials as soon as they can. Appointments to go to DMV to conduct transactions for non-IRP registrations, and other credentials, can be made online at Connecticut’s DMV web portal. To make an appointment to go to DMV and complete IRP transactions (Add/Delete a Vehicle; Change Carrier; Weight Increase; Return Plate), call the IRP unit directly at (860) 263-5281.

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has also provided extensions to medical card expirations.

  • If a medical card was valid and expired between March 1, 2020 and May 31, 2020, it remains valid until Oct. 31, 2020.
  • If a medical card was valid and expired on or after June 1, 2020, it remains valid until Dec. 31, 2020.

A copy of this announcement from FMCSA is available online.

MTAC urges members who are still able, to have a physical completed by a Certified Medical Examiner (CME). Drivers should not let their medical cards expire solely because of this waiver. This waiver is meant for drivers who are truly unable to get an appointment with a CME. Members can use this FMCSA website to search for CMEs in Connecticut who are qualified to perform the physical examinations. Additionally, once the driver has obtained medical certification, the medical cards (short form) must be submitted to Connecticut DMV using this website.

CHRO extends sexual harassment prevention training deadline

The Connecticut Commission on Human Rights and Opportunities (CHRO) has announced that, pursuant to Executive Order 7DDD, as amended by Executive Order 9A, the Oct. 1st Sexual Harassment Prevention Training deadline has been extended to January 1, 2021 due to the Covid-19 Pandemic. This is a blanket extension and does not require a request to be made. If there are any questions, please contact CHRO.Questions@ct.gov.

With this extension, all employees (supervisors and non-supervisors) hired before Oct. 1, 2019, must now receive harassment prevention training by January 1, 2021. The Time’s Up Act also requires that any employee (supervisors and non-supervisors) hired after Oct. 1, 2019, must receive harassment prevention training within six months of hiring date. Training provided since Oct. 1, 2018 shall be credited towards the above training obligations.

The Time’s Up Act required the CT Commission on Human Rights and Opportunities (CHRO) to develop a free online training and education video that would satisfy the training requirements. The video from CHRO is available online. A certificate of completion for the online training can be requested online.

Expect a ‘checkmark’ recovery, says economic expert

From Fleet Owner.

“By ending the lockdown, I think we did the right thing and we got the economy growing again,” said Dr. Jeffrey Rosensweig, director of the John Robson Program in Business, Public Policy & Government at Goizueta Business School of Emory University.

Rosensweig, provided insights on economic trends affecting the heavy-duty commercial vehicle manufacturing market during “A Global Economic Outlook” presentation at the Heavy Duty Dialogue 2020 virtual fall meeting this week.

In March and April this year, lockdowns initiated at the state and federal levels in response to the COVID-19 pandemic created a significant slowdown in the economy. Since states began reopening in late April, economic activity started to increase, but at a slower pace than the sharp decline seen in the second quarter. Instead of the common “V” shaped economy swings, the decline and subsequent recovery pattern is more like that of a checkmark, or “Nike swoosh” design, noted Rosensweig.

See the complete article from Fleet Owner online.

Trump’s ‘tax holiday’ has few takers in Connecticut

From CT Mirror.

It’s been two weeks since President Donald Trump offered employers a way to temporarily fatten their worker’s paychecks, but in Connecticut there have been few takers.

Using his executive authority, Trump has allowed the nation’s employers to defer the payment of certain payroll taxes from Sept. 1 through the end of the year.

But few employers in Connecticut have taken advantage of Trump’s “tax holiday,” an idea that Congress has also rejected, both in negotiations of previous stimulus bills and in on again, off again, unproductive talks over new legislation to respond to the pandemic.

Mark Soycher, human resources counsel for the Connecticut Business & Industry Association, said he has received dozens of phone calls from Connecticut employers who had questions about the program.

“I’ve not heard from any employer that they are participating in it,” Soycher said. “Once employers look at it, the see it as a short-term loan.”

See the complete article from CT Mirror online.

Fed signals rates will stay near zero for at least three years

From Transport Topics.

The Federal Reserve left interest rates near zero and signaled it would hold them there through at least 2023 to help the U.S. economy recover from the coronavirus pandemic.

The Federal Open Market Committee “expects to maintain an accommodative stance of monetary policy” until it achieves inflation averaging 2% over time, and longer-term inflation expectations remain well anchored at 2%, the central bank said in a statement Sept. 16 following a two-day policy meeting.

The statement reflects the central bank’s new long-term policy framework in which officials will allow inflation to overshoot their 2% target after periods of underperformance. That shift was announced by Chair Jerome Powell last month at the central bank’s annual Jackson Hole policy conference.

The vote, in the FOMC’s final scheduled meeting before the U.S. presidential election Nov. 3, was 8-2. Dallas Fed President Robert Kaplan dissented, preferring to retain “greater policy rate flexibility,” while Minneapolis Fed President Neel Kashkari dissented in favor of waiting for a rate hike until “core inflation has reached 2% on a sustained basis.”

See the complete article from Transport Topics online.

Compliance Alert: Issues with extended vehicle registrations

MTAC members are aware that the Connecticut Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) has issued three separate extensions of expiring credentials, due to the COVID-19 pandemic. This message is to emphasize that these extensions are separate from each other. They are:

  • A 180 day extension for credentials that expired between March 10, 2020 and June 30, 2020.
  • A 90 day extension for credentials that expired between July 1, 2020 and July 31, 2020.
  • A 90 day extension for credentials expiring between August 1 and September 30.

Registrations that were extended in the first window were NOT then extended again by one of the subsequent extensions. For example, if a truck registration expired on March 15, the new expiration date was 180 days from that point (September 11, 2020). It was NOT then extended another 90 days because the new date fell between August 1 and September 30.

There is growing concern that carriers are all waiting until the absolute end of applicable extensions to complete the renewal process. To that point, MTAC was informed that during the first full week when DMV made appointments available for carriers to go to DMV to complete IRP transactions, there were only two appointments made.

MTAC wishes to respectfully reiterate a message we have been sharing consistently for a few months: Do not wait! Registrations that are renewed after the expiration date of any applicable extension may face late fees. Additionally, carriers probably would not want to go through a weigh station, or be pulled over for a roadside inspection, while operating on a registration that is expired after having received an extension.

Finally, as a friendly reminder, MTAC members should be aware that they will not be able to make any changes to their fleet (for example, vehicle additions) until they have paid for the registrations of the vehicles that had their registrations extended.

To make an appointment to go to DMV and complete IRP transactions (Add/Delete a Vehicle; Change Carrier; Weight Increase; Return Plate), call the IRP unit directly at (860) 263-5281.

Appointments to go to DMV to conduct transactions for non-IRP registrations, and other credentials, can be made online at Connecticut’s DMV web portal.