Special Edition - V57

The MMTA’s quarterly Board & Membership meetings will be held remotely via Zoom video conference on January 13, 2021 starting at 7:30am. In order to join the meeting, you will first have to register online and then instructions and a link unique to you will be emailed to you prior to the meeting. If you have any questions about registration, please contact Brian at the MMTA.

We hope this format will encourage additional participation and we look forward to seeing you on January 13th at 7:30am!
Maine Vaccine Update

We have received numerous inquiries about Maine’s vaccination plan as it related to the trucking industry, which has prompted this update. As MMTA members already know, we have been communicating with the Governor’s Office about the Maine CDC’s Vaccination Plan and where the trucking industry falls in the delivery of these vaccines. Unfortunately, we have not been able to get complete clarity on this very important issue, but below is an update on the most recent information we have from the State.  

To be fair, some of the administrative problems with the distribution of the vaccine is likely due to the fluctuating doses being ordered and received by the State. MMTA’s objective continues to be to convince the Governor to utilize us as a partner so we can relay important information to our critical industry in an effort to prepare individuals and organizations for the inevitable operational considerations.

What we know:
  • Maine has prioritized vaccinations by the following categories:
  • Phase 1a: Health care workers and residents of long-term care facilities.
  • Phase 1b: People age 75 and older and frontline essential workers.
  • “Frontline essential workers” includes fire fighters, police officers, corrections officers, food and agricultural workers, Postal Service workers, manufacturing workers, grocery store workers, public transit workers, those who work in the education sector (teachers, and support staff), and daycare workers.
  • Phase 1c: People ages 65-74, people ages 16-64 with high-risk medical conditions, and other essential workers.
  • Phase 2: All people ages 16 and older who are not in Phase 1, with vaccine starting to become available to the general public.
  • MMTA COMMENTARY: The Governor knows our position that the trucking industry should be in Phase 1b to secure the supply chain. We have clearly communicated that it is important to protect against disruption to the delivery of critical supplies such as food, water, medicine, ventilators, medical supplies, and many other necessities that are reliably delivered every single day by the trucking industry.
  • We are told that people will learn about access to vaccines through the Maine CDC, employers, and their medical providers. 
  • MMTA COMMENTARY: We have offered to get engaged in this process since we have access to 1,600 member companies, and have not had any response to this offer. We still do not know how employees in the trucking industry will be identified, notified or processed.
  • We do not know when to expect Phase 1b or 1c to start, but the State indicates the general public isn’t expected to receive vaccines before the summer.
  • The Maine CDC has published an online resource that answers a lot of questions about the vaccine with links to additional resources. It can be found at maine.gov/covid19/vaccines.

As information develops, we will pass it on to members.

In Maine, as previously reported, Governor Mills has issued an executive order which extends the expiration of driver licenses for the period of the declared emergency, and for 30 days thereafter. The declared emergency remains in effect and has been extended each 30 days since March.

Federally, FMCSA has also issued an extension of the waiver for CDL’s and CLP’s that became effective 1/1/2021 and is set to expire on 2/28/2021. This waiver is outlined in the blue text below.

The Transportation Security Administration (TSA), however, did not renew the exemption for waiver of the Security Threat Assessment (STA) which is required in order to obtain or renew a hazmat endorsement. This exemption expired on 12/31/2020.

The result of TSA not extending their waiver is that expired CDL’s with an HM endorsement will not be valid for the transportation of hazmat. The CDL will remain valid due to the executive order and waiver by FMCSA, but not for the transportation of hazardous materials requiring placard. Essentially the hazmat endorsement is invalid upon expiration of the CDL.

Maine delegation seeks rule change to ease lobster shipping
Bangor Daily News

PORTLAND, Maine — The congressional delegation from Maine is pushing for a federal rule change it said would make it easier to transport live lobsters.

The four-member delegation sent a letter to federal officials on Tuesday, calling on the U.S. Department of Transportation to clarify a federal rule about the definition of agricultural commodities. The rules set maximum hours and safety standards for commercial truck drivers.

The delegation members said a previous farm bill changed the statutory definition of livestock to include animals such as fish and crawfish, but did not explicitly include lobsters. Lobsters are one of the most valuable exports from Maine, which is where most of the U.S. lobster industry is based.

FMCSA proposal would require rear guards to be inspected annually

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration intends to require annual inspection of rear impact guards.

A notice of proposed rulemaking that would require rear guards to be examined as part of a commercial motor vehicle’s annual inspection was published in the Federal Register on Tuesday, Dec. 29. As part of the proposal, FMCSA also would alter the labeling requirements for rear impact guards and exclude road construction controlled horizontal discharge trailers from the rear impact guard requirements.

The proposal is in response to a petition from the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance as well as a recommendation from the Government Accountability Office.

“While the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations have required rear impact guards for more than 65 years, they are not included on the list of components … that must be inspected during the annual commercial motor vehicle inspection,” FMCSA wrote in the notice. “This means that a vehicle can pass an annual inspection with a missing or damaged rear impact guard.”

Cost of truck repair hits record high in 2020, miles between breakdown fall

Truck maintenance kicking off the second half of 2020 fell in line with what could be the anthem for all of last year – a little bit of good mixed with a little bit more bad.

Motor carriers logged 34,629 miles between unscheduled roadside repairs in the third quarter 2020, according to the most recent quarterly benchmarking report compiled by FleetNet America – a slight dip from Q2 but a decrease of more than 5,000 miles from Q3 2019. The truckload segment saw the biggest segment gain – logging 23,223 miles between roadside repairs – equaling the distance posted in 2Q 2020 and doubling mileage from Q3 2019.

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.