President Donald Trump plans to nominate Raymond P. Martinez to run the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, according to an update posted to the White House’s website. Martinez is the current chief administrator of the New Jersey Motor Vehicle Commission.
For Martinez to become the official head of FMCSA, he must be confirmed by the Senate.
Martinez has served as head of New Jersey’s Motor Vehicle Commission under Gov. Chris Christie since 2010. Prior, he was commissioner of the New York State Department of Motor Vehicles. Martinez has also held positions as the Assistant General Counsel for the Long Island Power Authority and as Deputy U.S. Chief of Protocol and Diplomatic Affairs for the U.S. State Department, according to his bio on New Jersey’s website.
Mobile technology has revolutionized truck driving, making drivers more connected than ever before and changing how they work, relax and interact. The five ways it’s happened include:
Connection – Though trucking still comes down to a driver and a truck, the job is a lot less lonely than it used to be, thanks to the smartphone. No other piece of mobile technology has done more for truckers. It offers instant connections with friends, family and work; it’s also a safety device and source of entertainment.
“I don’t have to look for a pay phone on a street corner in the rain or cold, blowing wind. Now, I sit in my truck and make my phone calls,” said Gary Wiggins, a Texas-based owner-operator.
While smart phones keep drivers in touch with family and friends, they’re also business tools.
“I use my phone to call agents about loads. Then I have the agent email the pickup info and delivery info. Then I print that info out on my printer in the truck. After I deliver a load, I call the agent on my cell phone to let them know their load has been delivered. Then I scan the paperwork and BOL and email that to the company that I’m leased to to get paid. I get paid online, I pay my bills online,” Wiggins said.
Navigation – Truckers do still get lost on occasion, but it’s rarer than it used to be, thanks to GPS technology. Satellite navigation, backed by apps that provide up-to-date maps, weather conditions and road construction, makes it easier for drivers to arrive safely and on time.
Entertainment – Laptops, tablets and smartphones put a world of entertainment at the disposal of drivers. They can binge on Netflix in their sleepers, listen to audiobooks and music or play Xbox as well as they could in their living rooms. That makes nights on the road a lot more bearable.
Accountability – Drivers like to say that they could never be cooped up in an office; ironically, their whereabouts are probably more closely tracked than that of many office workers. GPS devices on trucks and e-logs tell employers exactly where drivers are and, in many cases, how they’re driving. Dash cams record video of driving behavior while engine telematics track speed and acceleration, all of it information employers can use to monitor drivers.
Drawbacks — Though there is no doubt that mobile technology has made trucking easier, safer and more profitable, some drivers feel something has been lost along the way.
“Electronics is a double-edged sword,” said William Kolias, an owner-operator in New Hampshire and driving instructor. While electronics has removed a lot of the inefficiency from the industry, it has pushed the human element – the driver – to the limit, he said.
Technology and trucking will remain linked and drivers will continue to adapt mobile technology to make their jobs easier and to remain competitive.
LONG BEACH, Calif. — Politicians in Washington agree on the dire need to modernize the ports, railroads and highways in the United States, but the “how do we pay for it” question sparks a debate between Democrats and Republicans.
At the Intermodal Association of North American exposition here, stakeholders discussed two funding ideas that are already the buzz on Capitol Hill: taxes and public-private partnerships.
“Our funding stream for infrastructure, especially freight movement, needs tremendous help. What we’ve relied upon primarily, the gas tax, is a nonsustainable funding stream. It will decrease as we go forward with better efficiency and less reliance on gas,” Rep. Alan Lowenthal (D-Calif.), co-chair of the Ports Caucus, told members of the expo late last month. “Right now, [lawmakers] are laying out the parameters. But we haven’t dealt with the 800-pound gorilla of how we’re going to pay for all of this with sustainable funding streams.”
The federal tax on diesel is 24.4 cents a gallon. For gasoline, it’s 18.4 cents per gallon.
In June, Lowenthal introduced House Resolution 3001 — The National Multimodal and Sustainable Freight Infrastructure Act — that would institute a new 1% ground transportation tax on freight transportation on railroads or in Class 7 and Class 8 trucks. Lowenthal believes the funding stream would be more stable than the gas tax.
“We already have it on air transportation, but we don’t have that kind of thing on surface transportation. The U.S. Department of Transportation estimates it would raise a minimum of $8 billion annually,” he said.
On public-private partnerships, or P3s, there was a skepticism that the idea should be used as frequently as President Donald Trump would prefer.
“I don’t think there should be this blatant, overall, ‘let’s do P3s for the sake of doing P3s’ mentality. In certain contexts, it might not be the most efficient way to deliver a project,” said Shant Boyajian, attorney in the infrastructure group of Washington, D.C., law firm Nossaman. “Every public agency should think when doing a project what’s the most efficient way to actually deliver it and maximize the value of money.”
Lowenthal added that while public-private partnerships make sense in some cases for urban infrastructure projects, they don’t make sense in the rural areas.
When revamping the nation’s infrastructure Jones Lang LaSalle economist Walter Kemmsies noted that the design should focus on a transportation network designed for imports and exports. He argued that when the national highway system was originally built, it was prioritized towards importing based on economic conditions after World War II.
“The problem is we’ve succeeded. We have a growing global middle class, but our industries do not get access to those markets,” he said. “If we’re to rebuild our infrastructure to support our exports, that’s where the employment and wage growth comes from. Does the U.S. produce what the global consumers are buying? Yes. But are we supplying the global customer? Increasingly, no. The world market is where we’ll get our best return on investment.”
A coalition of major carriers has petitioned the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration to immediately allow hair sample tests to satisfy federal rules requiring trucking companies to drug test truck drivers pre-employment. Currently, the agency only recognizes urine sample tests.
The Trucking Alliance, a carrier advocacy group that includes fleets like Maverick Transportation, Knight Transportation, J.B. Hunt and Dupre Logistics, submitted the petition.
The FAST Act highway bill passed last year opens the door for the agency to recognize hair tests in lieu of urine samples, but not until the Department of Health and Human Services creates guidelines for hair sample testing. The FAST Act requires HHS to finalize guidelines within a year of the law’s enactment, which would be Dec. 5, 2016 of this year.
The guidelines have not yet been finalized, however, and the Alliance says HHS likely will request more time to do so, further delaying carriers’ ability to test driver via hair sample, the Alliance argues.
Final highway bill: CSA revamp in, younger truckers and carrier ‘hiring standards’ out
The FAST Act highway bill brings with it a bevy of big and small regulatory changes for the trucking industry. Here’s what did and didn’t …
“On this issue, the private sector is already far ahead of the public sector in utilizing the latest methods to detect drug users,” said Lane Kidd, managing director of the Trucking Alliance. “While we wait on HHS and FMCSA, we can possibly save lives with this exemption by keeping many hard drug users out of our trucks and off our highways.”
Some carriers like J.B. Hunt already test drivers via hair sample, but such carriers must still spend the money to test drivers via urine sample too, a practice that could be ended if the agency accepted drug screening via hair analysis, the Alliance members argue.
The US shipping community received a reprieve Monday from worst-case potential disruption caused by an electronic logging mandate for truck drivers that takes effect Dec. 18. An association representing state law enforcement agencies said it would postpone putting drivers out-of-service for not complying with the mandate until April 1, 2018.
“Beginning April 1, 2018, inspectors will start placing commercial motor vehicle drivers out of service if their vehicle is not equipped with the required device,” the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance (CVSA) said in a statement. The April 1 “effective date” for applying electronic logging device (ELD) out-of-service criteria will give truckers and shippers time to adjust to the rule with “minimal disruption to the delivery of goods.”
Starting Dec. 18, “roadside enforcement personnel will begin documenting violations on roadside inspection reports and, at the jurisdiction’s discretion, will issue citations to commercial motor vehicle drivers operating vehicles without a compliant ELD,” CVSA said in a statement. But carriers in effect will have an additional three-and-a-half months to install ELDs.
The CVSA’s action alleviates fears that thousands of truckers could be placed out of service for not having ELDs starting Dec. 18, stranding freight a week before Christmas. That holiday logistical nightmare would likely have spiked spot market rates as trucks were dispatched to rescue stranded cargo and drivers. Concern about capacity shortages is already rising.
The Aug. 28 announcement clarifies how events are likely to unfold as the mandate takes effect and gives motor carriers struggling to prepare for the requirement, which effects approximately 3 million drivers, more breathing room. “Phased-in” enforcement of the mandate also may blunt attempts to delay implementation of the rule on Capitol Hill.
“The December deadline for this important safety regulation was established by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration [FMCSA] in 2015 following a decade of regulatory inquiry, study, litigation, and ultimately a congressional mandate,” CVSA executive director Collin B. Mooney said in a letter to FMCSA Deputy Administrator Daphne Jefferson.
He expressed “strong opposition” to any delay in the mandate. “Despite what opponents of the mandate may argue, the enforcement community is ready to begin enforcement of the requirement on Dec. 18,” Mooney said.
In short, truckers may receive a citation (and associated fine) if they do not have ELDs installed and operating Dec. 18, but they will not be ordered off the road and out-of-service. Information on companies and drivers that receive citations could be used by regulators to identify and investigate carriers suspected of not complying with the mandate.
Starting April 1, however, truck drivers that do not have ELDs will not drive away from a roadside inspection. They will be placed out-of-service by the state regulatory officials, roadside inspectors, and police officers represented by the CVSA, using its North American Out of Service Criteria. Someone else will have to pick up the freight being hauled by that out-of-service driver.
The electronic logging mandate is expected to have a far-reaching effect on US businesses and domestic and international supply chains, starting with a potential spike in port drayage costs. Truckload carriers and owner-operators may feel the brunt of the impact, but the advent of the ELD era could affect supply chain strategies that extend well beyond trucking procurement.
As Dec. 18 draws closer, many smaller trucking companies reportedly are far from ready to switch from paper logbooks to ELDs. A variety of groups, led by the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association, are seeking either an outright delay of the regulation or exemptions for specific types of trucking operations, such as drivers of rental trucks.
Companies that have not yet placed orders for ELDs may face shortages of the devices as the Dec. 18 deadline approaches. “The vendors don’t have barges sitting off the coast loaded with thousands of these devices,” John Seidl, a transportation consultant with Integrated Risk Solutions and former roadside inspector, said during an Aug. 3 JOC.com webcast.
Logistics executives, including C.H. Robinson Worldwide CEO John Wiehoff, have expressed concern that implementation of the ELD mandate in December could get “very messy.” The CVSA decision to phase in enforcement should alleviate the threat of an immediate pre-Christmas capacity snap and make a more gradual tightening of capacity over the next year more likely.
“CVSA member jurisdictions have used this phased-in approach in the past when implementing a significant change in regulatory requirements,” Mooney said in his letter. He said the CVSA board and FMCSA agreed the two-phase enforcement strategy would be the best approach and would “promote a smoother transition to the new ELD requirement.”
However, truckers, fleet operators, brokers, and shippers should not delay compliance plans. Those that do not take advantage of the “wiggle room” the phased-in approach affords may find themselves in a tight spot April 1.
SUNNYVALE, Calif., Sept. 21, 2017 /PRNewswire/ — Trimble (NASDAQ: TRMB) announced today that its FieldMaster Logs application has been registered with the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) as a self-certified Electronic Logging Device (ELD) solution.
FieldMaster Logs adds Hours of Service (HOS) and Driver Vehicle Inspection Report (DVIR) functionality as part of its robust Fleet Management portfolio. In order to prevent driver fatigue and reduce accidents, the FMCSA’s HOS rules restrict the number of hours a driver may operate his/her vehicle. Trimble’s FieldMaster Logs tracks driver activity, provides clear communication to the driver about hours remaining and gives robust reports to managers to measure their driver’s activity and availability. Using FieldMaster Log’s DVIR features ensure that drivers perform safety inspections of their vehicle and that vehicle issues are captured and communicated to the maintenance team.
Trimble’s Fleet Management portfolio offers reliable hardware and software solutions for capturing vehicle positions, tracking driver behavior and communicating with the vehicle’s engine bus to obtain diagnostic information. Monitoring these activities allows carriers to reduce fuel costs and improve driver safety.
“Trimble’s FieldMaster Logs application allows companies to improve productivity, profitability and most importantly, driver safety for our partners,” said John Cameron, general manager of Trimble’s Field Service Management Division. “We’re pleased to announce that our solution meets the FMCSA’s requirements for tracking HOS and DVIR activities, well in advance of the mandate’s deadline.”
In 2016, the FMCSA mandated that carriers who do not already have an Automatic Onboard Recording Device (AOBRD) installed on their vehicles must install a certified ELD solution by December 18, 2017. In addition, those vehicles that do have installed AOBRDs must replace them with certified ELDs by December 17, 2019.
To learn more about Trimble’s ELD options, join a webinar on Thursday, September 28 at 2:00 pm EDT. For more information or to register, visit: http://resources.trimblepulse.com/sign-up-for-our-eld-webinar.
About Trimble’s Field Service Management Division
Trimble’s Field Service Management Division provides visibility into field and fleet operations so businesses can streamline efficiency and increase productivity. The Field Service Management suite includes Fleet Management, Work Management and Scheduling, Worker Safety and Mobility solutions that transform the effectiveness of work, workers and assets in the field. The cloud-based portfolio allows Trimble to offer customers industry-specific, enterprise-level solutions for exceptional performance and ease of use. For more information, visit: www.trimble.com/fsm.
Trimble is transforming the way the world works by delivering products and services that connect the physical and digital worlds. Core technologies in positioning, modeling, connectivity and data analytics enable customers to improve productivity, quality, safety and sustainability. From purpose built products to enterprise lifecycle solutions, Trimble software, hardware and services are transforming a broad range of industries such as agriculture, construction, geospatial and transportation and logistics. For more information about Trimble (NASDAQ:TRMB), visit: www.trimble.com.
Costco, one of the world’s largest retailers, has stopped doing business with a California trucking company accused of trapping drivers in debt and then using it to force them to work overtime.
The action comes as brands across the U.S. face increased scrutiny for ignoring labor abuses in their supply lines, a widespread problem first revealed in a USA TODAY Network investigation in June.
Earlier this month, four prominent Democratic Senators, led by Sherrod Brown of Ohio, sent letters to 16 retailers, calling on them to root out “shameful” labor abuses first outlined by the USA TODAY Network.
Soon after, Costco Wholesale dropped Pacific 9 Transportation, one of the biggest port trucking companies in Southern California.
Hewlett-Packard also sent an auditor to investigate the company’s labor practices.
Both retailers declined to comment on their actions. Alan Ta, chief operating officer for Pacific 9, said that even before Costco withdrew, his company had stopped leasing trucks to drivers and launched a series of reforms to improve their pay.
A wave of pressure from retailers and manufacturers has hit port trucking operations across the industry, according to drivers who say their employers have been fielding calls from clients.
Those clients include Walmart, which pledged in a letter responding to the senators that it would cancel contracts with any trucking company that did not provide “assurances” it was following fair labor practices.
“The stories profiled in that article are deeply concerning,” Executive Vice President Jay Jorgensen wrote of the USA TODAY Network investigation, “Rigged.”
“Any motor carrier that fails to comply with law, such as those alleged in the article, would be in violation of our contract and would therefore be subject to cancellation,” he wrote.
The series revealed how port trucking companies in southern California have spent the past decade forcing drivers to finance their own trucks through company-sponsored lease-to-own programs they could not afford.
The longer drivers worked, the more trapped they felt. After just a few months, drivers typically had paid thousands of dollars towards a truck.
If drivers quit or got fired for any reason, most of them lost the truck and everything they had paid in. Many worked 20 hours a day to keep up with their truck payment and feed their family.
For years, Pacific 9 used the same kind of lease-to-own program.
Forty drivers have won California labor commissioner cases against Pacific 9, accusing the company of using the leases to cheat them of fair pay. Half of them testified that they had to work up to 19 hours a day, violating federal fatigue laws for truckers.
As the USA TODAY Network began investigating and as labor judgments piled up against Pacific 9, the company stopped using leases. In April 2016, facing almost $7 million in court-ordered back pay and penalties, the company filed for bankruptcy protection.
It has since started rehiring drivers as full-time employees and stopped charging them truck expenses.
Ta and many of his drivers said the company is now working to become a model for the rest of the industry.
Pacific 9’s sudden loss of business comes at a precarious time for the company – the tail end of drawn out bankruptcy negotiation with truckers.
Drivers and their attorneys sent at least two letters to the senators pleading with them to ease pressure on retailers using Pacific 9.
Rivera and Shackelford, a San Diego firm representing some Pacific 9 drivers, said Costco’s decision might “lead to the closing of Pacific 9 altogether,” undoing months of negotiations and possibly leaving drivers empty-handed.
“We believe this would be a tragedy,” the attorneys wrote.
Some drivers feel the same — even those who once testified about pervasive labor abuses inside the company.
“Pacific 9 has followed through on its commitments to us drivers,” wrote trucker Santiago Aguilar, who filed a labor claim against the company in 2013 and has since been rehired as an employee with full protections. Aguilar’s letter was signed by 13 others at the company. “Now, I get a fair day’s pay for a hard day’s work,” he said.
Pacific 9 is one of the busiest operators at the Long Beach and Los Angeles ports, according to port truck data obtained through a public records request.
Using the data, reporters tracked the movement of the company’s 160 trucks and found that they were on the clock for more than the 14-hour maximum set by federal law at least 7,500 times over three years. Almost all of the company’s rigs exceeded the time limit set for commercial truckers at least once.
But executives say those practices are a thing of the past.
“We have made significant change in our company and to our industry,” Ta said in an email.
Other companies that have used Pacific 9, either directly or as a subcontractor, include Hasbro and Goodyear. Hasbro did not respond to multiple requests for comment.
Goodyear spokesman Keith Price said the tire giant “took immediate action and ceased use of Pacific 9 within two weeks of the California Labor Commission’s ruling against them.”