Transport Topics- Federal trucking regulators are cracking down on state driver licensing agencies, requiring that they keep a closer watch for commercial motor vehicle drivers with drug or alcohol violations, and removing their driving privileges within 60 days after being notified of a test failure.

The new final rule closes the “knowledge gap” by ensuring that all state licensing agencies are able to determine whether drivers licensed in their state are subject to the agency’s driving prohibition, FMCSA said.

Commercial Carriers Journal- Despite published reports, the California Trucking Association’s case against California’s restrictive AB 5 independent contractor law is still pending with the U.S. Supreme Court.

An article published by news agency Reuters claimed that SCOTUS had denied CTA’s petition for the Supreme Court to hear its case, which challenges the California law that codified the ABC test for determining independent contractor status, which would effectively ban the leased owner-operator model in the state.

Instead, the Supreme Court denied hearing a case from drayage carrier Cal Cartage, which, while similar, was limited to the carrier’s ability to use independent contractors. The SCOTUS decision on the Cal Cartage case has no bearing on CTA's case, which is still pending SCOTUS review and applies to the trucking industry as a whole.

Commercial Carriers Journal- Motor carriers are seeing an unexpected trend: Drivers are working less despite getting record pay increases.

CCJ survey conducted the first week of September found that 83% of fleets increased driver pay at least once in 2021, but 29% have seen driver availability decrease in the busy summer months.

Transport Topics- A medical advisory board to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration has recommended that medical examiners be permitted to offer truck drivers alternative treatment options to sleep apnea machines that are subject to a massive recall.

The advisory board recommended that examiners be given up to 90 days to find options that can provide the same level of treatment as the Philips Respironics continuous positive airway pressure machines that are being pulled from the market.

Related articles:

Commercial Carriers Journal- More than 28,000 commercial vehicles were pulled over during the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance’s annual Operation Safe Driver Week, which was held July 11-17 across North America.

Among citations written to commercial vehicle drivers, speeding topped the list with 1,690 citations and 2,549 warnings issued. Failure to use a seat belt was the next highest violation with 1,225 citations and 954 warnings. Other top violations for truck drivers included failure to obey traffic control device, texting/using a handheld phone, improper lane change and following too closely.

Transport Topics- A new report from the American Transportation Research Institute suggests that a small tax on electricity used specifically for transportation would produce much-needed support for the federal Highway Trust Fund, revenue from which pays for work on the nation’s roads and bridges.

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Group also issues call for driver input on job motivations and satisfaction
The American Transportation Research Institute (ATRI) has launched the 2021 Top Industry Issues Survey. The annual survey asks trucking industry stakeholders to rank the top issues of concern for the industry along with potential strategies for addressing each issue. 

Industry stakeholders are encouraged to complete the survey available through ATRI’s website by clicking here or using the above embedded QR code. The survey deadline is October 15.
Commercial Carriers Journal- The Department of Transportation (DOT) is requesting information from trucking and other transportation industries to assist DOT in preparing a report for President Biden on supply chain disruptions.

DOT is accepting comments in the Federal Register through October 18.
Transport Topics- Legal experts and researchers say juries generally carry negative attitudes about corporate America — and the trucking industry specifically — into the courtroom, making motor carriers susceptible to strategies that plaintiff attorneys employ to steer jurors toward sky-high “nuclear” judgments against fleets.

Fortunately, there also are strategies trucking defense attorneys can use to soften these negative attitudes, and deflect the plaintiff attorneys’ strategy known as the “reptile theory,” which is intended to make jurors angry at trucking companies.

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