Monthly Edition - March, 2021
Trucking Industry Applauds Introduction of DRIVE Safe Act

Arlington, VA — The American Trucking Associations applauded the introduction of the DRIVE Safe Act in both the U.S. House and Senate by a group of bipartisan legislators. The legislation addresses the economy’s growing shortage of professional truck drivers by expanding job opportunities for younger members of the trucking workforce, while also strengthening safety training and technology safeguards for select candidates looking to participate in interstate commerce early in their careers.

The DRIVE-Safe Act was introduced by Sens. Todd Young (R-Indiana), Jon Tester (D-Montana), Joe Manchin (D-West Virginia), Tom Cotton (R-Arkansas), Angus King (I-Maine), Krysten Sinema (D-Arizona), Jerry Moran (R-Kansas) and Jim Inhofe (R-Oklahoma) in the Senate, and by Reps. Trey Hollingsworth (R-Indiana), Jim Cooper (D-Tennessee), Henry Cuellar (D-Texas), Elissa Slotkin (D-Michigan), Jared Golden (D-Maine), Troy Balderson (R-Ohio), Ashley Hinson (R-Iowa), Bruce Westerman (R-Arkansas) and Darin LaHood (R-Illinois) in the House.

While 49 states permit individuals to obtain a commercial driver’s license and operate large commercial vehicles before they turn 21, federal regulations prohibit those same drivers from crossing state lines until they turn 21. These restrictions bar a vital population of job seekers from interstate trucking, exacerbating the driver shortage as qualified candidates are lost to other industries. The DRIVE Safe Act would allow certified CDL holders already permitted to drive intrastate the opportunity to participate in a rigorous apprenticeship program designed to help them master interstate driving, while also promoting enhanced safety training for emerging members of the workforce.

Anti-Independent Contractor Bill Introduced in Congress

It should come as little surprise that the new Congress, led by efforts in the House and likely supported by the Biden Administration, has introduced legislation that will effectively eliminate the owner/operator business model. Earlier this month, the House approved the Protecting the Right to Organize Act (PRO Act) having to do with independent contractors.

The American Trucking Associations has been a longtime member of the Coalition for a Democratic Workplace, who sent a letter to all 535 Congressional offices opposing this measure. The effort has high hurdles to overcome in the Senate, but this is an issue to pay attention to if you are an independent contractor or if your business uses IC’s and owner/operators.

New Research Documents the Realities of a National Vehicle Miles Traveled Tax

Arlington, Virginia – The American Transportation Research Institute today released a new report detailing the costs of deploying and operating a national vehicle miles traveled (VMT) tax. This study was identified as a top research priority by ATRI’s Research Advisory Committee in 2020.  

With a goal of understanding the opportunities and challenges of a federal system, the research first explored the technical and administrative requirements of charging every U.S. driver for miles driven. Next the costs of operating a VMT tax program were calculated, including those associated with technology, data communications and account management.

It was found that replacing the federal fuel tax with a VMT tax that is assessed on 272 million private vehicles could result in collection costs of more than $20 billion annually – or 300 times higher than the federal fuel tax. The central reason for this large increase in costs is the shift in collection points – from a couple hundred fuel terminal operators to every registered motor vehicle in the U.S.

ATA Task Force to Pursue Predatory Towing at Crash Scenes
Transport Topics

An American Trucking Associations council has begun a towing-scam initiative after receiving reports of excessive overcharging for nonconsensual towing of damaged heavy-duty trucks and trailers removed from crash scenes.

In some states, it's not uncommon for a tow truck operator to arrive unsolicited at an accident scene, pull a tractor-trailer out of a ditch, tow it away and on the scene present the carrier with an inflated invoice, even hold the carrier’s truck hostage until the bill is paid, said Jennifer Wieroniey, executive director of ATA’s National Accounting & Finance Council.

ATA’s NAFC continues to hear of carriers being gouged for simple tows by unscrupulous towing companies, Wieroniey said.


In an effort to encourage the most participation possible, the MMTA reached out to its leadership and members to ask which format they would prefer – a virtual meeting via Zoom, or an in-person meeting at the MMTA in Augusta. Not surprisingly, many responses said they prefer the convenience and safety of a virtual meeting, while others expressed a desire to get back to the obvious benefits of meeting face-to-face. So we are going to try to do something that usually never works and make everyone happy by doing both… at the same time.

In-person attendance (meeting starts at 7:30am) will be limited to the first 20-people to register (click here). If more than 20-people want to attend in-person, we will maintain a waiting list in case someone’s plans change and they can’t come to Augusta. Those who want to participate by Zoom can do so by CLICKING HERE to register and you will get the link and passcode emailed to you. To minimize the inevitable technical difficulties, we will not be allowing phone participation – only in-person or by Zoom.

  • Click here to register to attend in-person.
  • We ask that you let us know if your plans change and you decide not to attend in-person so we can offer your spot to someone on the waiting list.
  • You will be required to adhere to MMTA’s COVID protocols, including having your temperature taken upon arrival, signing in and out of the building at the front door, wearing a mask (no face shields allowed) when you are inside the building, appropriate social distancing, etc. Any proposed deviation from these rules need to be brought to MMTA’s attention prior to April 14th.
  • We will not provide any refreshment, so bring your own coffee. Sorry, no eggs and bacon… this time.

  • Click here to register to attend virtually via Zoom.
  • Once registered, you will receive an email notification with your link and password.
  • We will have multiple cameras set up in the conference room so you will be able to see the in-person participants. The Zoom participants will be displayed on the big screen in the conference room and sound will be carried over the conference room’s audio system. The only downside that we anticipate is when people in the room speak, we will only have one live mic for people on Zoom to hear them. So whoever is at that mic will have to reiterate the question/point, which is to say we ask for everyone’s patience.
  • Unfortunately, MMTA will not be able to provide technical assistance on the day of the meetings. We are gambling on this being an effective way to get the greatest participation possible, but we won’t be able to measure success or failure until after we try it.

John W. Austin Memorial Scholarship Fund Increases Future Awards - APPLICATION NOW OPEN

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 this 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 this year, 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.

Featured Virtual Training: Defensive Driving Training (4/2/21)

Defensive driving is the only way to stay accident free on today’s highways. Join us and brush up on your skills and have 3 points credited to your Maine CDL.

April 2, 2021 from 8:00 am to 1:00 pm

$70.00/attendee for MMTA members
$95.00/attendee for non-members


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.