TETC sends letter of appreciation to trucking industry

The Eastern Transportation Coalition (formerly the I-95 Corridor Coalition) asked TAM to pass on their letter of appreciation to our industry for the risks and challenges faced by truckers. They want to recognize your commitment to move goods efficiently and safely during this time. The Coalition’s Executive Board is made up of the Secretaries and Commissioners of Northeast State DOTs, including Stephanie Pollack, Secretary and CEO. Massachusetts Department of Transportation.

The text of the letter is included below, but you can download the PDF with signatories listed.

Dear Kevin:

As the nation’s supply chains face unprecedented challenges related to COVID-19, one of the most critical factors has been the ability to meet customer and public health needs in a reliable and timely manner. While each modal component of the transportation system has been an important player during this time, the trucking industry has been at the very heart of it.

On any day, but certainly over these last several months and continuing, the industry collectively and truck drivers specifically, ensure that critical supplies reach the doors of America’s businesses, homes, and medical facilities. The drivers have accomplished this not only with great diligence and dedication, but often with great personal sacrifice.

The undersigned, as the Executives of our respective state agencies and comprising the Board of the Eastern Transportation Coalition, give recognition and thanks for the outstanding professionalism and commitment of the trucking industry and its hard-working and dedicated individuals during this time. The Coalition, a partnership of State Departments of Transportation and related agencies, acknowledge and appreciate the role that the truck drivers and the trucking industry play every day in the well-being of our states’ and the national economy. With trucks carrying a significant portion of the 6.5 billion tons of freight moving in our corridor annually, this event has shown an even greater emphasis and importance to that role.

As we move ahead on the road to recovery from COVID-19, please extend our sincere gratitude to your industry members – the companies and the dedicated drivers. As our individual states and as the Eastern Transportation Coalition collectively, we will reach out to you and your members to discuss how to further support the critical role the trucking industry plays in moving goods in this corridor and throughout the nation.


Patricia Hendren, Executive Director, TETCoalition
Jennifer Cohan, Secretary, Delaware DOT Russell McMurry, Commissioner, Georgia DOT
Gregory Slater, Secretary, Maryland DOT
Kevin Thibault, Secretary, Florida DOT
Bruce Van Note, Commissioner, Maine DOT
John R. Cooper, Director, Alabama DOT
Joseph Giulietti, Commissioner, Connecticut DOT
Stephanie Pollack, Secretary, Massachusetts DOT

Diane Scaccetti, Commissioner, New Jersey DOT
Marie Therese Dominguez, Comm, NY State DOT
Eric Boyette, Secretary, North Carolina DOT
Yassmin Gramian, Secretary, Pennsylvania DOT
Christy Hall, Secretary, South Carolina DOT
Clay Bright, Commissioner, Tennessee DOT
Joe Flynn, Secretary, Vermont AOT
Stephen Brich, Commissioner, Virginia DOT
Shannon Valentine, Secretary, Virginia DOT

McConnell expects new virus relief bill this month

From Transport Topics.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell predicted Congress will pass one final coronavirus rescue package later this month and appealed to everyone in public life to urge people to wear masks to control the spread. …

McConnell said he’s “pretty sure” that a bill will come together in the next couple of weeks. He said it will be crafted in his office with consultation from the administration and then negotiated with Democrats, who endorsed a $3.5 trillion package approved by the House in May. Senate Republicans have dismissed that plan and are discussing a package of as much as $1 trillion in total spending.

Read the full post at Transport Topics online.

FMCSA may “Exercise Discretion” enforcing random drug testing

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration announced that in some locations, it may “exercise discretion” and not enforce minimum annual random drug and alcohol testing rates in areas still affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Due to the ongoing impacts of the emergency, motor carriers may not be able to fully comply with 49 CFR Part 382, that mandates certain testing requirements.

The notice, dated July 6, 2020, can be found online at the FMCSA website. In part, the notice states…

In recognition of these barriers to full compliance in some locations, the Agency may exercise discretion to determine not to enforce the minimum annual percentage random testing rates for drugs and alcohol, and the requirement that each employer ensure that the dates for administering random drug and alcohol tests are spread reasonably throughout the calendar year, as set forth in 49 CFR 382.305(b)(1) and (2) and 49 CFR 382.305(k), respectively. FMCSA emphasizes, however, that employers capable of meeting these requirements must continue to do so.

Employers must continue to select drivers at the required rate of 50 percent of their average number of driver positions for controlled substances, and 10 percent for random alcohol testing during the calendar year 2020. If a test is unable to be completed due to the COVID-19 public health emergency, the motor carrier must maintain written documentation of the specific reasons for non-compliance.

Read the complete notice [PDF].

IRP plates expiration extended by three months

The RMV has extended the expiration date for International Registration Plan (IRP) plates from June 30 until Sept. 30, 2020.

Law enforcement agencies have been made aware that many jurisdictions have granted waivers or extensions for registration dates.

While the new expiration date for IRP registrations provides flexibility for RMV business partners and customers, the RMV currently accepting and processing IRP registrations and encourage you to renew your plates now.

Click here for information on how to renew your IRP plates.

New York, New Jersey, Connecticut – New quarantine restrictions on travelers

The Governor’s of New York, New Jersey and Connecticut have announced a joint incoming travel advisory that all individuals traveling from states with significant community spread of COVID-19 quarantine for 14 days. Unfortunately, as of this moment, the announcement did not indicate whether the quarantine requirement would include truck drivers.

Our understanding is that essential workers, including truck drivers, are not subject to the 14-day quarantine as long as they are practicing social distancing precautions and other measures that safeguard the public health. It is expected that the additional protocols for essential workers will be issued soon since these new travel restrictions went into effect today.

FMCSA grants waiver from some CDL and CLP regulations

Waiver in Response to the COVID-19 National Emergency – For States, CDL Holders, CLP Holders, and Interstate Drivers Operating Commercial Motor Vehicles.


FMCSA grants, until September 30, 2020, a waiver from certain regulations applicable to interstate and intrastate commercial driver’s license (CDL) and commercial learner’s permit (CLP) holders and to other interstate drivers operating commercial motor vehicles (CMVs). FMCSA has initiated this action in response to the President’s declaration of a national emergency under 42 U.S.C. § 5191(b) and the public health emergency declared by the Health and Human Services Secretary related to Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) and section 4 of Executive Order No. 13924, Regulatory Relief to Support Economic Recovery, 85 FR 31353 (June 9, 2020).

This waiver is effective July 1, 2020 and expires on September 30, 2020.

The full waiver, including a PDF is available online at the FMCSA website.

A Notice of Enforcement Policy Regarding Expiring Driver’s Licenses and Medical Examiner’s Certificates During COVID-19 National Emergency has also been posted.

FMCSA will exercise its enforcement discretion to not take enforcement action for the following:

  • 49 CFR 383.23(a)(2) – a CLP or CDL holder operating a CMV with an expired license, but only if the CLP or CDL was valid on February 29, 2020, and expired on or after March 1, 2020.
  • 49 CFR 383.37(a) – a motor carrier that allows a CLP or CDL driver to operate a CMV during a period in which the driver does not have a current CLP or CDL, but only if the CLP or CDL was valid on February 29, 2020, and expired on or after March 1, 2020.
  • 49 CFR 391.11(b)(5) – a CMV driver (i.e., CLP, CDL, or non-CDL license holder) or motor carrier that allows a CMV driver to operate a CMV during a period in which the driver’s operator license has expired, but only if the driver’s license was valid on February 29, 2020, and expired on or after March 1, 2020, and the driver is otherwise qualified to drive under 391.11.
  • 49 CFR 391.45(b) – a CMV driver or motor carrier that allows a CMV driver to operate a CMV during a period in which the driver does not have the current medical certificate and any required medical variance as required by 49 CFR 391.45(b), but only if the driver has evidence of a medical certification and any required medical variance that was valid on February 29, 2020 and expired on or after March 1, 2020.

FMCSA extends Emergency Declaration

Please review the most recent updated FMCSA update.  It is important to note that it does not cover all the carriers that have been covered up to now, so please review carefully.

President Trump signs PPP Flexibility Act

The PPP Flexibility Act makes several critical changes to the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), which was created under the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act). The changes provide relief to many businesses currently using PPP loan proceeds and preparing to seek loan forgiveness within the requirements of the CARES Act.

Key Points

  • The forgiveness period is extended from 8 weeks to 24 weeks (which should almost guarantee that everyone can get the entire amount forgiven)
  • The maximum amount that can be used for items other than payroll is increased from 25% to 40%

You can find additional information concerning the PPP Flexibility Act online at National Law Review.

RMV re-opens Boston Haymarket B2B Service Center

Due to the evolving situation with COVID-19 (coronavirus) and in an effort to continue protecting RMV staff, customers, and business partners, the RMV is re-opening an additional B2B Center at the Boston Haymarket RMV today (June 8).

This is in addition to the existing Attleboro, Chicopee, Milford, and Wilmington dedicated B2B Service Centers. New IRP transactions will not be processed at Haymarket (Boston) B2B.

In following social-distancing practices, these B2B facilities and services will be for drop-off B2B transactions/bundles only.

The RMV continues to serve members of the general public on an appointment-only basis at additional locations, consolidated into the larger service centers, and has redeployed teams from nearby, closed offices to ensure staffing resources are available to assist customers and business partners like you.

Please note: Any B2B service requests appearing at other open service centers will be redirected to Attleboro, Chicopee, Haymarket (Boston) Milford, and Wilmington RMVs.

In keeping with recommendations from the Massachusetts Department of Public Health, the RMV has also adopted enhanced cleaning practices for its facilities, purchased additional contactless hand sanitizer dispensing stations, issued anti-viral disinfectant wipes and individual-size hand sanitizers to certain employees, and expanded areas to be disinfected.

OSHA revised guidance for recording COVID-19 illnesses

On May 19, OSHA revised its April 10 interim guidance regarding the enforcement of the agency’s injuries and illness recording requirement of COVID-19 cases. The most notable revision is the elimination of enforcement discretion in areas where there is ongoing community transmission of COVID-19, and where the ability of employers in specific industries to determine work-related transmission is difficult.

OSHA expects all employers to investigate employee COVID-19 illnesses to determine whether the illness is likely work-related, based on information reasonably available to the employer. If, after a reasonable and good faith inquiry, the employer cannot determine whether it is more likely than not that exposure in the workplace played a causal role concerning a particular case of COVID-19, the employer does not need to record that COVID-19 illness.

Click here for a summary of the revised OSHA guidance.