Renew extended credentials now

MTAC has been advised that most motor carriers are waiting until the end of applicable credential extensions to begin renewing their vehicle registrations. This is not good, as it could cause a bottleneck of paperwork at DMV and contribute to potential delays in processing that would impact all carriers.

Perhaps more importantly, 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. This should be seen as an incentive to begin the process of renewing expired/extended registrations (in addition to all credentials) as soon as possible.

As a reminder, recent extensions specific to Connecticut DMV include:

  • 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.

Connecticut DMV’s IRP office is now taking appointments for carriers who need to go to the DMV to: Add/Delete a Vehicle; Change Carrier; Weight Increase; Return Plate. Please call the IRP unit at (860) 263-5281 to schedule an appointment.

Appointments for other transactions can be made online at Connecticut’s DMV web portal.

Finally, MTAC provided a recap earlier this year on what members can do to renew several different types of credentials that were extended, which can be viewed online.

Connecticut’s sexual harassment prevention training law

MTAC has recently received questions from members about Connecticut’s sexual harassment prevention training law, known as the Time’s Up Act. There are a few key provisions regarding sexual harassment prevention training in the law, which was passed during the 2019 legislative session. For companies with three or more employees, those provisions include:

  • Any employee (supervisors and non-supervisors) hired after Oct. 1, 2019, must receive harassment prevention training within six months of hiring date.
  • All employees (supervisors and non-supervisors) hired before Oct. 1, 2019, must receive harassment prevention training by Oct. 1, 2020.
  • 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.

MTAC members may consider having their employees participate in this free online training if they still need to comply with the requirements outlined above.

A certificate of completion for the online training can be requested online.

Trucking industry asked to rank top concerns

From ATRI.

The American Transportation Research Institute, the trucking industry’s not-for-profit research organization, today launched the 2020 Top Industry Issues Survey. The annual survey asks trucking industry stakeholders to rank the top issues of concern for the industry along with potential strategies for addressing each issue.

Now in its 16th year, ATRI’s annual analysis not only ranks the issues overall but also provides details on where critical topics are ranked differently by motor carriers and professional drivers. The report also allows stakeholders to monitor issues over time, to better understand which issues are rising, or falling, in criticality.

“Completing this survey only takes a few minutes, but its impact can be immeasurable. The data ATRI provides maps a course for the industry to speak with a collective voice on our most important issues,” said ATA Chairman Randy Guillot, president of Triple G Express and Southeastern Motor Freight, New Orleans, Louisiana.

Industry stakeholders are encouraged to complete the survey available through ATRI’s website. The survey will remain open through Oct. 16, 2020.

FMCSA pilot would allow younger drivers in interstate commerce

From Transport Topics.

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration has announced a proposal and request for comment on a new pilot program to allow drivers ages 18-20 to operate commercial motor vehicles in interstate commerce.

A Sept. 4 Federal Register notice said the agency proposes to allow 18- to 20-year-old commercial driver license holders to operate CMVs in interstate commerce while taking part in a 120-hour probationary period and subsequent 280-hour probationary period under an apprenticeship.

The proposed pilot also would allow participation by 19- and 20-year-old commercial drivers who have operated CMVs in intrastate commerce for a minimum of one year and driven 25,000 miles.

See the complete article from Transport Topics online.

IRS Guidance: Employee Social Security deferral

From Wipfli.

On August 28th the IRS issued Notice 2020-65 providing guidance on implementation of the August 8th presidential executive order that allows the deferral of employee social security taxes for the period September 1, 2020 through December 31, 2020.

The deferral of the employee taxes is not mandatory and employers will need to decide whether they want to opt in. The potential to defer the withholding only applies with respect to employees whose gross pay for the pay period is less than $4,000 for a bi-weekly pay period (or equivalent for other payroll periods, e.g. $2,000 for weekly payroll). No deferral is available for any payment to an employee of taxable wages of $4,000 or above for a bi-weekly pay period.

The notice allows employers to delay the withholding and deposit of the taxes until the period beginning January 1, 2021 and ending April 30, 2021. However, if employers choose to withhold payroll taxes for the period September 1, 2020 to December 31, 2020, the deposit requirements are unchanged. They are not allowed to hold the funds to see if Congress passes legislation to eliminate payment of the deferred tax, nor are they allowed to withhold taxes during September through December and not remit until January through April of next year.

See the complete post from Wipfli online.

New CT budget is $2.1 B in the red, but all may not be gloom and doom

From CT Mirror.

The coronavirus continues to hit Connecticut’s economy hard, and — at least on paper — state finances are feeling the pain as well.

But things might not be as dire as they seem.

Though Gov. Ned Lamont’s administration projects a whopping $2.1 billion deficit for the new fiscal year, which began July 1, that is based partly on pessimistic stock market projections from April that — at least so far — haven’t come to pass.

And while Comptroller Kevin P. Lembo certified the administration’s deficit forecast Tuesday, the state’s chief fiscal watchdog also cautioned against making any knee-jerk budget adjustments.

“It’s very early on in the process, so we’ll have to watch that closely and adjust as things move forward,” Lembo said during an afternoon press conference, urging Lamont to stay in close consultation with legislative leaders. The budget “should not be on auto-pilot. It needs maintenance.”

Some legislators want to crack open the state’s record-setting $3 billion rainy day fund, which Lamont has been loathe to do. Others fear the governor will pursue emergency spending cuts amidst the pandemic — which also hasn’t happened yet.

See the complete article from CT Mirror online.

CVSA safety enforcement operation catches more than 66,000 drivers

From Transport Topics.

Law enforcement officers and inspectors nabbed more than 66,000 drivers engaging in unsafe behavior on U.S. and Canadian roadways, issuing more than 71,000 warnings and citations as part of Operation Safe Driver Week, the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance announced Sept. 2.

The stepped-up enforcement event, which took place July 12-18, was CVSA’s first special initiative of the year after postponements and cancellations of other enforcement campaigns due to COVID-19.

“However, despite the challenges associated with the pandemic, 3,681 enforcement officers from 55 Canadian and U.S. jurisdictions interacted with 29,921 commercial motor vehicle drivers and 36,500 passenger vehicle drivers during this year’s special enforcement event,” CVSA said in a statement.

The percentage of crashes involving some type of driver-related behavior is estimated at 94%. CVSA — in partnership with the federal government, the law enforcement community and the motor carrier industry — launched Operation Safe Driver to reduce the number of deaths and injuries from dangerous driving.

See the complete article from Transport Topics online.

Appointments available for IRP transactions

The Connecticut Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) has announced that they will make appointments available in order to conduct certain in-person transactions involving International Registration Plan (IRP) registrations. Effective Sept. 8, 2020, IRP will take appointments for the following transactions:

  • Add/Delete a Vehicle
  • Change Carrier
  • Weight Increase
  • Return Plate

Please call the IRP unit at (860) 263-5281 to schedule an appointment.

A copy of this notice from the Conn. DMV has been posted online.

Uncertainty surrounds executive order payroll deferral

From Wipfli.

On August 8, President Trump signed an executive order temporarily delaying the withholding, deposit and payment of the employee contribution of Social Security payroll taxes from September 1 to December 31.

The order is only applicable to those employees that make less than $104,000 annually.

President Trump’s executive action suspending the employee portion of the payroll tax won’t be mandatory for businesses, according to Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin.

“We can’t force people to participate, but I think many small businesses will (participate) and pass on the benefits,” Mnuchin said August 12 on Fox Business.

The order creates uncertainty for employers because the taxes are only deferred, not eliminated. As stated in the order, the president will urge Congress to pass legislation forgiving the deferred tax.

Additionally, it is uncertain who decides to defer the employment taxes. Is it a decision made by the employer or is it made on an individual basis?

See the complete post from Wipfli online.

Work with TAT to put the brakes on human trafficking

As COVID-19 has increased vulnerabilities among at-risk population groups, we wanted to make you aware of some great resources TAT has available for your organization in its ongoing efforts to combat human trafficking. Please help us get the word out!

Freedom Drivers Project Virtual Tour

Experience the incredible imagery and the powerful truth TAT’s Freedom Drivers Project (FDP) conveys about human trafficking any time, any place, via your phone, tablet or computer. The FDP is a dynamic, visual tool demonstrating both the reality and devastation of trafficking through facts and survivor artifacts, as well as the critical role the transportation and energy industries are playing in combating this crime. To further enhance the experience, schedule TAT staff to host a webinar along with the tour. We can work with you to create a memorable and impactful training event. Here’s a preview of our new virtual tour.

Interested? Contact TAT to schedule your tour today!

Trucking and Truck Stop Toolkits

From factual information on the crime of human trafficking, to helpful guidance in creating policies and protocols at your workplace, as well as a step-by-step training implementation guide, TAT’s new toolkits for the trucking and truck stop industries, are an essential resource in equipping your company to combat human trafficking.

View more material from Truckers Against Trafficking online.