Special Edition V.36 (May 2020)
The Road to a Responsible and Quick Recovery is Now Before Us
American Trucking Associations

As Congress returns to Washington this week, lawmakers on Capitol Hill are grappling with the same question on the minds of most Americans: Where do we go from here? Having already passed four rounds of COVID-19 relief legislation, they must now decide on our next course of action as the country looks to turn from crisis to recovery.

Gauging the headlines, the road ahead might seem impassable.
Beyond the staggering human toll, the coronavirus has left a devastating trail of economic destruction in its wake—and its impact continues to spread. Before the pandemic swept the globe, America was sliding into a deepening infrastructure crisis, but COVID-19 has now brought it full bore:
As state transportation budgets run dry, the federal Highway Trust Fund hurtles toward insolvency. Thousands of jobs across the country, tied to urgent infrastructure projects in crucial battleground states, are now on the chopping block.

Disposable Surgical Masks Still Available Through MMTA
Supplies are Going Fast, Order Now if You Want Masks

As originally reported on April 30th and May 1st, the MMTA has procured 25,000 disposable surgical masks for sale to our members. As you might imaging, demand has been high and only 6,000 masks remain available.

Masks will be spoken for on a first come, first serve basis. Once our supply has been depleted, we will not order more unless member demand remains high.
CDC Issues Long-haul Trucker COVID-19 Guidelines

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has issued guidelines tailored to help long-haul truck drivers and their employers deal with the COVID-19 pandemic.

Many of the guidelines repeat the disease prevention recommendations that have been in place for the general public for months: social distancing, hand-washing and the use of personal protective equipment (PPE). But specific details aimed at truck drivers on the road and away from home for days underscore the potential for the virus to spread through the supply chain.

For example, the CDC recommends frequent cleaning and disinfecting of the driver door handle, steering wheel, seat belt and buckle, arm and headrest, seat covers, turn signals, wiper controls, dashboard, air ducts, radio, and temperature controls. In the sleeper berth, light switches, mattress trays, temperature controls and other flat surfaces should be cleaned frequently as well.

The agency notes key times to wash hands: before entering and leaving the cab, including for deliveries, loading and unloading of cargo, rest breaks, fueling, and other activities; before eating or preparing food; and after putting on, touching or removing face coverings.

ATRI Board Approves 2020 Top Research Priorities
May 12, 2020

Arlington, Virginia – The American Transportation Research Institute Board of Directors has approved the 2020 Top Research Priorities as identified by ATRI’s Research Advisory Committee. ATRI’s RAC developed the list of recommended research topics at its meeting held in Atlanta in March, and the ATRI Board reviewed and approved the list of recommended topics at its recent meeting. 

ATRI’s RAC selected research topics that examine workforce, infrastructure, legal, and operational issues, which align with multiple top concerns identified in ATRI’s annual Top Industry Issues Survey.

The 2020 ATRI top research priorities are:

  • Impact of Small Settlements on the Trucking Industry – as a follow-on to ATRI’s work on nuclear verdicts, this study will focus on those legal settlements of less than $1 million, including their frequency, fleet responses, and the consideration of verdicts versus settlements. 

  • Rethinking Mileage-Based Safety Metrics – given the growth in E-commerce and other changing industry trends that have changed fleet business models, trip lengths and route locations, this research will examine the potential new metrics for evaluating safety performance beyond traditional rates per million vehicle miles traveled. 

  • Owner-Operators/Independent Contractors in the Supply Chain – Owner-Operators and Independent Contractors play a critical role in the supply chain yet there have been legislative and policy actions at the state-level to dramatically change the independent contractor model. This research would assess the role of O/O and ICs including the type and extent of use, and financial and operational differences to better inform policy decisions. 

  • Cost-Benefit Analysis of Vehicle Miles Traveled Taxes – ATRI’s earlier highway funding analyses identified barriers to implementing a Vehicle Miles Traveled tax. For this research, ATRI would coalesce and examine multiple data sets associated with VMT tax deployment including implementation and enforcement costs, potential evasion, and the challenges of implementing at the state and local levels. 

  • Impacts of Rising Insurance Costs on Industry Operational Costs – ATRI’s annual Operational Costs of Trucking research has documented continual increases in the industry’s insurance costs; up 12 percent from 2017-2018. This research would dissect fleet resources and business decision-making processes to better understand what fleets are doing to cover these cost increases, from reprioritizing technology investments to cannibalizing other cost centers, such as safety.  
We will keep MMTA members posted as new information comes in. In the meantime, please do not hesitate to email Tim, Randy or Brian if you have questions.