Monthly Edition - August 2020
FMCSA Extends and Modifies Emergency Declaration

The FMCSA has extended—and modified—the emergency declaration that was set to expire on August 14th. The modified declaration provides regulatory relief for motor carriers and drivers providing direct assistance in support of relief efforts related to COVID-19, and has been expanded to included emergency restocking of distribution centers and stores.

Specifically, the 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. 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;
  4. Food, paper products and other groceries for emergency restocking of distribution centers or stores. 

Please note, this modified declaration is not effective until 12:00 A.M. (ET), August 15, 2020 and expires on September 14th, 2020.

MMTA NOTE: This Emergency Declaration does not provide for the routine delivery of food, paper, and groceries. Motor Carriers who deliver these items on a routine basis and are not providing relief to an emergency are not afforded relief from Parts 390 through 399.

Under this declaration, 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 posted to the FMCSA’s website.

Trucking Fares Better Than Overall Economy, Experts Say
Transport Topics

The trucking and freight economy appears to be doing better than the overall U.S. economy as fleets adjust to contend with supply chain changes caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

American Trucking Associations Chief Economist Bob Costello said the jobs report, released by the Department of Labor on Aug. 7 was reasonably encouraging for the industry.

“In terms of trucking, there were 2,000 jobs added, that’s good. I have been hearing a lot of anecdotal reports that freight was really good in July,” Costello told Transport Topics. “I also heard the spot market was pretty good.”

Trucking industry key to evaluating fuel tax alternatives, new study finds
The Eastern Transportation Coalition

Understanding the unique demands of the trucking industry is key to evaluating fuel tax alternatives, according to a newly published study from the Eastern Transportation Coalition (the Coalition), a partnership of 17 states and the District of Columbia that connects public agencies across modes of travel to increase safety and efficiency.

The Coalition’s pilot study, conducted between October 2018 and March 2019, included more than 50 tractor-trailers traveling more than 1.4 million miles across 27 states and provided a close look at how a mileage-based user fee (MBUF) model would affect the trucking industry.

Mileage-based user fees charge motorists for their road use instead of the amount of fuel they purchase. This model is seen as a possible alternative to state and federal fuel taxes, which are experiencing declining revenue due to inflation, improved fuel efficiency, and a changing vehicle fleet. Previous MBUF studies have largely focused on passenger vehicles.

User fee study reveals cost penalty for fuel-efficient trucks

The nation’s first multi-state mileage-based user fee (MBUF) truck pilot project concluded that using one rate for all trucks can put fuel-efficient trucks at a disadvantage when it comes to paying for roads and bridges.

The results of the study, released Tuesday by the Eastern Transportation Coalition (formerly the I-95 Corridor Coalition), are to be used to assess the MBUF as an alternative to raising federal diesel taxes and other approaches to funding transportation infrastructure.

“Though neutral on whether such a model presents the ultimate answer to the fuel tax conundrum, the Coalition believes evaluating these fees in real-world scenarios is central to finding a sustainable solution,” according to a statement.

CVSA's International Roadcheck Rescheduled for Sept. 9-11
Transport Topics

The postponed International Roadcheck event has been rescheduled for Sept. 9-11, the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance announced Aug. 10.

CVSA officials postponed the event in March due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Although the coronavirus pandemic understandably shifted priorities and personnel during the spring, the commercial motor vehicle law enforcement community has reasserted its focus on the roadside inspection program and enforcement duties,” CVSA President Sgt. John Samis with the Delaware State Police said in a statement. “Jurisdictions are nearly back to their pre-pandemic capacity with a strengthened concentration on identifying and removing unfit vehicles and drivers from our roadways using federal safety standards and the out-of-service criteria.”

MMTA Events and Awards Update - Click HERE

2020 MMTA Safety Director of the Year - NOMINATIONS NOW ONLINE
September 9, 2020 Truck PAC Golf Tournament - ONLINE REGISTRATIONS HERE
John W. Austin Memorial Scholarship Fund Increases Future Awards

After decades of helping Maine students achieve their educational and training goals, the MMTA is pleased to announce exciting changes to the John W. Austin Memorial Scholarship Fund starting with next year’s applicants.

In the past, scholarships have generally been for $1,000 for graduating high school seniors seeking higher education, including technical training, in areas relevant to the motor carrier industry. Starting in 2021, the number of awards will be limited to nine, but the amount of the awards will be a one-time scholarship payment for up to $2,500 each. As has been the case in the past, the online application will be available starting January 1st and the submission deadline remains May 1st.

Additionally, the criteria to be selected for one of the nine scholarships has changed to reflect an emphasis on careers and instruction specific to the trucking industry in an attempt to focus on technical training. See below for the new qualifications and requirements for applicants.

Please join us in spreading the word about this scholarship opportunity for graduating high school seniors next year. If you know of a student who will be a senior this fall, have them bookmark and set a reminder to apply after the first of the year. If you want to contact your school system’s guidance department so they can help promote the scholarship program, you can send them a copy of the promotional letter found HERE.

We can’t think of a better way to honor the memory of our good friend John Austin than being able to deliver educational opportunities to kids who might not otherwise be able to afford it.

The qualifications for a candidate to be considered for one of the nine scholarships include:

  • Candidates must be a graduating high school senior seeking higher education or technical training. Selection preference will be given to those pursuing opportunities in areas directly relevant to the motor transportation industry.
  • Candidates must provide high school transcripts along with application.
  • Candidates must submit an informal narrative answering the following questions:
  • What are your career objectives and how will this training help meet those goals?
  • How did you become interested in the career you selected?
  • Describe how your prospective education is tied to the trucking industry and why it is important?
  • Candidates must submit two letters of recommendation from non-family sources, such as a teacher, counselor, supervisor or local trucking company.
  • Scholarships are for one year only.
  • Scholarships are awarded without regard to race, ethnicity, sexual orientation or religion.
  • Scholarships are awarded based on academic achievement, community involvement, and information included in the application submission.
  • If selected to receive a scholarship, they must provide their first semester transcripts and proof of enrollment in the second semester prior to March 1st in order for the scholarship to be paid.
CVSA’s Brake Safety Week August 23-29, 2020

The Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance will be holding brake safety week, Aug. 23-29, 2020. The Maine State Police, Troop K will be participating as will other commercial safety enforcement agencies in North America.

Each year there is also an unannounced one-day brake safety enforcement initiative conducted by CVSA affiliated agencies.

During both the announced and unannounced brake safety enforcement campaigns, CMV inspectors will conduct brake system inspections (primarily Level IV Inspections) on large trucks and buses throughout North America to identify out-of-adjustment brakes and brake-system violations. The week is an annual outreach and enforcement campaign designed to improve commercial vehicle brake safety throughout North America.

REMINDER - MMTA Still Has Cloth Face Coverings

The Maine Emergency Management Agency, in coordination with FEMA, has provided the Maine trucking industry with 20,000 FREE cloth face coverings for distribution to companies and drivers and we have about 4,000 remaining. The masks are made by Hanes and, according to MEMA, are washable up to 50 times. MaineDOT delivered the masks and they are now ready for pickup/delivery.

In an effort to distribute the masks in an orderly fashion, we are asking members to fill out an  online form found HERE. You will be asked to select whether you want to pick up the masks at our Whitten Road office, or have us send them to you at your expense.

Please note that we may limit quantities to ensure everyone who needs masks has an opportunity to receive them. We further understand that there may be an additional disbursement of free face coverings in the future, but recommend you place your order as soon as possible.

If you have any questions, please contact Makala ( or Victoria ( at MMTA.
MMTA Sponsored NATMI CSS & CDS Fleet Safety Certification Now Virtual

In an effort to further improve professionalism in the trucking industry, the MMTA is working with the North American Transportation Management Institute (NATMI) to offer CSS & CDS Fleet Safety Certification courses for transportation safety professionals. Originally set to be held at the MMTA offices in Augusta, the courses and exams will now be exclusively held virtually via Zoom due to the reality of social distancing requirements, company travel restrictions, and prospective students belonging to high risk groups requiring them to remain home even as restrictions are lifted.

When: September 14-18, 2020 from 8am to 5pm each day.

The courses below are applicable toward NATMI’s nationally recognized, university accredited certification programs. Taking the courses is the first step toward earning a credential that will help you become a more competent professional, earn industry recognition and credibility in court testimony.  If you have the job experience, you can pay one lump sum that covers all fees for certification, and complete the process within a 60-day time frame – or less.

Once registered, participants will receive a Zoom link to connect to the course leader and other participants for a completely interactive learning experience.

PLEASE NOTE: the minimum number of students to hold this course is four so please share this article and the link above with any of your counterparts who might benefit from improved safety and compliance knowledge and professional certification.
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.