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Member Spotlight – MG+M The Law Firm

MG+M Law Firm LogoFounded in 1984, Manning Gross + Massenburg LLP (MG+M) is a national litigation and trial firm with 13 offices across the country. Their experienced team of diverse attorneys offers a collaborative approach, national resources, and a broad counsel network that can rapidly deploy in response to litigation demands in all courts across the country.

David Willis leads the Boston location, and has represented transportation, shipping, and logistics companies for most of his 30-plus years. He began his career representing a small company with two trucks. Today, that has grown to representing national carriers with thousands of trucks. In addition, David holds a 200-ton coastal master’s license issued by the United States Coast Guard. David has held this license for decades. He began this aspect of his career in New Orleans working with an Admiralty and Trucking firm in the 1980s. His experience spans from the gulf coast to New England.

MG+M’s nationwide Trucking and Transportation Litigation practice group focuses on all aspects of the trucking and transportation industry to defend manufacturers, premises owners, retailers, and service providers in the areas of commercial litigation, freight and property claims, personal injury and wrongful death claims, and labor and employment claims. For more than 15 years, the attorneys involved in this expanding docket of cases have gained a thorough understanding of the complexities involved with trucking and transportation, including interstate transportation and the extensive regulatory frameworks of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations, the Transportation Equity Act of the 21st Century, and the Motor Carrier Safety Assistance Program.

Whether it is defending a tractor/trailer accident or other transportation related matters, MG+M takes a proactive approach – always keeping in close communication with their clients, insurers and claims administrators, private investigators, law enforcement, witnesses, and experts to provide a robust and collaborative defense using the latest technology, graphics, and computer animation.

MG+M’s experienced team of lawyers will defend each aspect of the case, in and outside of the courtroom, with a full understanding of the facts, the law, and the legal issues. Their team approach extends beyond the firm. MG+M works collaboratively with a team of trucking and transportation experts and private investigators on emergency accident investigations, because we understand the benefits of early response and effective liability assessment. MG+M’s 24-hour Rapid Response Team is a strategic network of experienced MG+M attorneys, experts and investigators ready to deploy and reach an accident scene to collect evidence and assess liability anywhere in the United States within 24 hours. This team is equipped to handle issues and claims wherever and whenever they arise.

To learn more about MG+M, visit their website page dedicated to trucking and transportation litigation.

In opposition to a truck-only vehicle miles traveled tax

The following communication was sent today to Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) clearly expressing the trucking industries opposition to a proposed federal truck-only vehicle miles traveled tax. The letter is also available as a PDF to be printed.


Dear Senator Warren,

On behalf of the Trucking Association on Massachusetts, I write to discuss our shared goal of pursuing meaningful investments in infrastructure in the weeks and months ahead. The trucking industry is eager to work with you, Congress and the Biden Administration to end the continuous cycle of underinvestment in our nation’s infrastructure. A bold investment in infrastructure will improve the safety and functionality of our nation’s transportation systems while reinvigorating a pandemic-stricken economy.

As that work begins in earnest, we want to convey our strongly-held view that any infrastructure investment must be grounded in long-term, sustainable funding, based on mechanisms where all road users contribute to rebuilding and revitalizing the American transportation network. The trucking industry will aid in those efforts, and welcomes the opportunity to contribute to infrastructure development in a meaningful and efficient way.

However, we strongly caution against discriminatory funding schemes that place the burden of supporting our infrastructure solely on the back of the trucking industry. Forcing the industry to cover the entire gap between available revenue and infrastructure funding needs will jeopardize economic stability, cripple our nation’s supply chain, and threaten to decimate recent economic gains. Moreover, it will irreparably fracture the broad stakeholder support that has facilitated the advancement of past highway bills. Therefore, any discriminatory funding schemes, like a truck-only vehicle miles traveled (VMT) tax, will be met with resolute opposition by the industry, and must be dismissed as a misguided and prejudiced funding gimmick.

Mandating that the trucking industry bear the brunt of our nation’s infrastructure investment via a truck-only VMT tax is unfair, imbalanced, and runs counter to public interest. In terms of feasibility, there are ample reasons why a truck-only VMT is an ill-conceived and dangerous solution. First, experts agree that proper implementation of a VMT tax will require at least five to ten years to generate revenue because the relevant technology has yet to be fully developed, large-scale field testing has not been conducted, data privacy and security issues have not been addressed, and VMT enforcement mechanisms have not been implemented to combat anticipated evasion. Second, current review of VMT fee pilot programs estimates that collection costs could be as high as 40 cents on the dollar. While full implementation will likely bring these costs down substantially, these estimates suggest collection costs could still be as high as 15%—more than 70 times greater than the cost to collect the fuel tax. Third, a VMT fee would require individual accounts for each taxed vehicle, which, if applied to all road users would affect approximately 270 million vehicles, creating a daunting administrative boondoggle to implement and oversee. Fourth, there is an assumption that electronic logging devices (ELDs), which are currently required in only 28% of commercial motor vehicles, can be used to track miles for the purpose of imposing a VMT fee. However, federal law prohibits government agencies from using ELDs for any purpose other than Hours of Service compliance.

The trucking industry stands ready and eager to work hand-in-glove with Congress and the White House towards stemming our deepening infrastructure crisis. As you and your colleagues work to advance meaningful infrastructure legislation, we urge you to consider funding mechanisms that are built around a system where all who benefit from the transportation system contribute fairly. And, we emphatically caution you against the pursuit of discriminatory funding mechanisms such as a truck-only VMT, which will seriously impede efforts to enact meaningful infrastructure legislation this Congress.

Thank you for your attention and thoughtful consideration of this important and timely matter.

Sincerely,

Kevin Weeks
Executive Director, Trucking Association of Massachusetts

 

Transportation workers can sign up for COVID vaccine March 22

Certain workers in Massachusetts will be eligible to schedule COVID-19 vaccine appointments as part of Phase 2, effective this coming Monday, March 22.

For a complete list of worker categories in this eligibility group, visit the Massachusetts government website related to vaccinations. This information is current as of Wednesday, March 17 and is subject to change.

Worker categories include, but are not limited to…

Food, meatpacking, beverage, agriculture, consumer goods, retail, or food service workers – All staff involved in the production, processing, storage, transport, wholesale and retail sale, preparation, and service of food and consumer goods, including farm and other agricultural workers, including farm stand and nurseries.

Medical supply chain workers – Workers directly involved in the manufacturing and production, packaging, transport, quality control, and sale of materials critical to the delivery of medical care.

Vaccine development workers – Workers directly involved in research, development, manufacturing and production, packaging, transport, quality control, and sale of vaccines (COVID-19 and others).

Transit/transportation workers – Drivers/operators, attendants, sales, administrators, maintenance staff, public and private bus, train/subway, passenger boat/ferries, passenger air, and automobile (including rental car, car service/limousine, taxi, and ride apps) transportation, bridge and road construction and maintenance workers, shipping port and terminal workers, commercial transportation.

Public works, water, wastewater, or utility workers – Utility: Electrical generation and supply system, natural gas delivery, nuclear power plant, water supply, telephone, cable/fiber optical/broadband/cellular service workers Public works including street repair, street lighting, public park, beach, and trail maintenance workers.

Sanitation workers – Drivers, solid waste handlers, recycling staff, street cleaners, sewer and storm water system workers

How to Schedule

Register in advance…

  • Preregister at VaccineSignUp.mass.gov to be notified when it’s your turn to schedule an appointment at one of 7 mass vaccination locations: Fenway Park, Gillette Stadium, Reggie Lewis Center, DoubleTree Hotel in Danvers, Eastfield Mall in Springfield, Natick Mall and former Circuit City in Dartmouth.

or

  • Use VaxFinder.mass.gov to search for appointments at pharmacies, health care providers, and other community locations

Member Spotlight – Tri Tank Corporation

Logo for Tri Tank Corp.Tri Tank Corporation was founded in 1977 and incorporated in 1978. The main objective was to provide parts, sales, and service for all makes of aluminum, stainless, and carbon steel tank trucks and tank trailers. Their customer base now ranges from major oil companies, common carriers, hundreds of small and medium sized oil dealers, local municipalities, and other local businesses of all types.

Currently they are a stocking dealer for Heil, Polar, LBT, Brenner JARCO and Transtech. At all times they have close to 40 tanks in-stock and on order.

Collectively the service department has 180 years of experience in the tank truck and tank trailer industry. Tri Tank has held the ASME “R” certification for welding aluminum, stainless steel, and carbon steel since 1984. They proudly employ ASE certified technicians. Their DOT cargo tank number is 1330. They currently have ten registered tank inspectors. George A. Terpening Jr., the founder of Tri Tank, oversees daily operations, and he is also the on-site design certified engineer.

During the past 40 years their staff has grown from four people to 50, and in the past eight years the business has been expanded to include utility trailers and truck equipment.

They have been in their current facility for 34 years. The 30,000s q.ft., 20-bay facility sits on 23 acres just a quarter mile from Exit #39 off I-90. Their parts department maintains a large inventory of replacement parts for trucks, trailers and equipment, and parts orders are shipped out daily via UPS.

Customer service and satisfaction is always their main priority.

Research documents realities of a National Vehicle Miles Traveled Tax

From the American Transportation Research Institute.

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.

“It’s clear that a VMT tax is a far more complicated and costly replacement for the fuel tax than many had anticipated,” said James Burg Trucking Company President and CEO Jim Burg. “If a system like this is going to work for everyone, many years of thoughtful planning and federal leadership are needed.”

Additionally, the report found that hardware costs alone would have an initial price tag of $13.6 billion and require ongoing replacement, telecommunications costs would be approximately $13 billion annually, and account administration would be an additional $4.3 billion each year. On top of these costs, credit card transactions for electronic payment and even the shipping costs for the hardware could each cost more than $1 billion.

“With policymakers preparing to lay out a vision for the future of America’s infrastructure, ATRI’s analysis could not come at a more critical time,” said ATA President and CEO Chris Spear. “Most experts agree that some sort of VMT system is a part of that future, and ATRI’s report makes clear that implementing it will take thoughtful leadership, cooperation from stakeholders and a strong plan to transition away from current funding streams.”

2021 TAM Priorities

The Trucking Association of Massachusetts has a variety of goals and priorities for 2021.

 

Protecting Trucking Companies in Massachusetts

TAM will continue to support legislation and create initiatives that ensure Massachusetts residents are served effectively, and to foster a better business environment in our state for Trucking.

  • Advocate for legislation that provides safer and cleaner vehicles
  • Promote awareness of the unforeseen impacts of the Transportation Climate Initiative to our economy and jobs
  • Advocate for better understanding regarding current tax laws that put all MA trucking companies at a disadvantage and exacerbates the ongoing exodus of trucking companies and jobs in Massachusetts

Workforce Development

TAM will continue to identify resources and develop innovative campaigns to help develop the trucking industry in our State.  Our State currently has many deterrents for Trucking companies to domicile in Mass which has led to a decline in jobs while other states have seen increased opportunities.

Best in Class Regulatory Support

The regulatory environment in Massachusetts for trucking is complex, far-reaching, and intense. TAM will continue to be relentless in its efforts to support Its members in their ongoing regulatory and compliance efforts.

Lawsuit Abuse

Abusive crash lawsuits threaten our supply chain, leading to empty grocery store shelves, more expensive goods and elimination of jobs.  Additionally, this litigious environment is creating major disruptions in the excess insurance market forcing trucking companies across the state and nation to close their doors.

Telling our Story

Trucking is one of the most under-appreciated industries in the country. Because the industry is so good at what it does, the average person doesn’t give a second thought to how products get to shelves or how vaccines get into arms. We have a great story to tell, and TAM will continue to be passionate in reminding everyone about the value of what we do.

RMV implements further federal credential extensions through May

The Massachusetts Registry of Motor Vehicles (RMV) has implemented further Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) extensions to the renewal timelines for expiring Commercial Driver’s Licenses (CDLs), Commercial Learner’s Permits (CLPs), and CDL Medical Certificates.

This extension does not apply to any CDL or CPL holders whose privileges were suspended or revoked for traffic offenses, or to non-domiciled CDL or CLP holders whose lawful presence has expired.

Credential Extensions

  • All CDLs and CLPs that expire between March 1, 2020 and May 30, 2021 will remain valid until May 31, 2021
    • CLP holders do not need to retake the general or endorsement knowledge tests if their permits originally expired during this time and have been extended.

CDL Medical Certificates

  • Certificates that expire between December 1, 2020 and May 30, 2021 will expire on May 31, 2021.
  • Commercial drivers must self-certify prior to the expiration date listed above or their CDLs will be downgraded to Class D licenses.

CDL Road Tests

  • The RMV has also waived the 14-day road test waiting period until May 31, 2021.

These changes are part of the continuing effort by the RMV to minimize in-person interaction between customers, RMV Service Center staff, and associated business partners.

Note

  • This is the last extension implemented by the RMV unless declared by the FMCSA.
  • The RMV is sending emails next week to commercial drivers informing them of the most recent extensions.

FMCSA extends Medical Exam waivers again

FMCSA issued another extension to the previous CDL/CLP and Medical Examination waivers that were set to expire the end of this month. This waiver becomes effective on March 1, 2021 and expires on May 31, 2021. Please read the specific provisions below, as the dates and applicability vary. As with the previous extensions, state drivers licensing agencies (SDLAs) have the authority to exercise discretion in extending these dates, consistent with the outline below. Carriers and drivers should check with the SDLA to confirm their state’s expiration periods.

For CDL/CLP Drivers, the waiver will:

  • Waive until May 31, 2021, the maximum period of CDL validity for CDLs due for renewal on or after March 1, 2020;
  • Waive until May 31, 2021, the maximum period of CLP validity for CLPs that are due for renewal on or after March 1, 2020, without requiring the CLP holders to retake the general and endorsement knowledge tests;
  • Waive until May 31, 2021, the requirement that CLP holders wait 14 days to take the CDL skills test;

Medical Requirements for CDL/CLP and non-CDL drivers:

  • This notice will waive, until May 31, 2021, the requirement that CDL holders, CLP holders, and non-CDL drivers have a medical examination and certification, provided that they have proof of a valid medical certification and any required medical variance that were issued for a period of 90 days or longer and that expired on or after December 1, 2020.
  • This notice will also waive, until May 31, 2021, the requirement that, in order to maintain the medical certification status of “certified,” CDL or CLP holders provide the SDLA with an original or copy of a subsequently issued medical examiner’s certificate and any required medical variance, provided that they have proof of a valid medical certification or medical variance that expired on or after December 1, 2020.

For State Driver License Agencies (SDLA):

  • This notice waives, until May 31, 2021, the requirement that the SDLA change the CDL or CLP holder’s medical certification status to “not certified” upon the expiration of the medical examiner’s certificate or medical variance, provided that they have proof of a valid medical certification or medical variance that expired on or after December 1, 2020. Additionally, the notice waives certain requirements with regards to SDLAs downgrading a driver’s CDL or CLP upon expiration of the medical examiner’s certificate or medical variance, provided the SDLAs have proof of a valid medical certification or medical variance that expired on or after December 1, 2020.

NOTE—in the notice, FMCSA reiterates that the extension “permits, but does not require” states to extend the validity periods and processes referenced above. This ultimately means that a SDLA may choose not to extend the validity periods, based on the operational status within their state. The full waiver notice can be found here. Carriers and drivers should review this waiver, and confirm with the SDLA, to ensure all terms, conditions, and restrictions are met.

Additionally, FMCSA also announced extension of waivers related to CLP holders operating with a CDL driver in the front seat, out of state CDL applicant testing, and third-party knowledge testing.

Virtual Truck Safety Symposium

Members of the Trucking Association of Massachusetts have been invited to the 2021 Virtual Truck Safety Symposium. The three-week, online event provides attendees with the latest information on safety issues and compliance initiatives facing the trucking industry.

The symposium is a collaborative effort organized by Trucking Association of New York (TANY), NYS Department of Motor Vehicles, NYS Department of Transportation, NYS Police, the governor’s Traffic Safety Committee, and Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration.

Symposium dates will be April 6, April 8, April 13, April 15, April 20, April 21 and April 22. Each date has two sessions per day. Most sessions are only one hour.

Event Information

For information concerning the symposium, ensure you monitor the TANY Learning Center. The at-a-glance agenda has been posted by TANY right here.

Week 1 – Technology

During Week 1, expect to learn about a variety of cutting-edge technology that’s available from vendors and manufacturers alike.

Week 2 – Training & Compliance

During Week 2, sessions will include information on using the Drug and Alcohol Clearinghouse, DataQs, the Crash Preventability Determination Program, a review of the hours-of-service changes, and a panel discussing training, buy-in, and oversight among others.

Week 3 – Credentialing & Audits

During Week 3, attendees will hear from both agency and industry presenters, learning how to prepare for various audits and gaining valuable information on off-site compliance reviews.

Trucking at the heart of the economy

While not always front and center, it may well be impossible to overstate just how central trucking is to the American economy and to American life. While Americans often think of the nation as a country of farms and factories, as much as anything we are a country of roads.

And on those roads are millions of trucks – driven by 3.6 million professional drivers as part of an industry that employs nearly 8 million people. That industry, trucking, is the lifeblood of our economy. Powering economic growth, raising our quality of life and now, during these unprecedented times, just making life possible.

In 29 other states, trucking is the top job, but in Massachusetts, the industry employs 129,360 – making it one our state’s most common jobs. But beyond the jobs our industry creates, our industry is a lifeline for communities across our state. Today in Massachusetts, 86.9% of cities and towns are solely dependent on trucks to deliver their food, fuel, clothing, and other goods. Trucks serve as that critical connection between our homes and our jobs and the rest of the world.

Nationwide, trucks move 11.84 billion tons of freight annually – accounting for 72.5% of all freight hauled in the U.S. And as an industry, trucking had gross revenues of nearly $792 billion according to the most recent data. This would conjure images of an industry of giant companies, but trucking is a small business industry. In 2020, 91.3% of trucking companies operated six or fewer trucks; and 97.4% of fleets had 20 trucks or less. There are certainly several large and successful trucking companies that are household names, but there are many, many more smaller companies doing their part to keep America moving.

All of these companies, regardless of size, share several common values including a dedication to doing their job efficiently, but more importantly, safely. As an industry, trucking spends more than $10 billion a year in technology and training that go above and beyond what federal regulations require. The highways are our offices, and we want them to be safe for everyone.

Trucking provides jobs for men and women across the country, and those jobs deliver the quality of life Americans expect from our economy. It is an industry dedicated to service, safely connecting our factories to ports, our farms to our supermarkets and our warehouses to our front porches, keeping America moving through all manner of challenges.