Baker files commercial driver safety legislation (H.3980)

As you may know, the Baker-Polito Administration has been reviewing the processes and procedures that led to the tragedy in New Hampshire involving a pick-up truck with an attached trailer and a group of motorcycle operators and riders. As part of that review, the governor has filed legislation [Bill H.3980] to make changes to the state portions of the commercial drivers license (CDL) program.

Among the items included in the legislation:

  • applicants for commercial driver’s licenses will have to demonstrate a history of good driving and will be ineligible for licensure if they have been suspended or disqualified from driving at any time in the past three years;
  • the bill also proposes to raise suspension periods for operators with commercial driver’s licenses who commit multiple, serious traffic violations from 60 to 120 days for drivers who commit two serious traffic violations during a three-year period, and raises the minimum suspension period from 120 to 240 days for drivers who commit three serious violations in that window;
  • require drivers to provide next day notification to employers and the Registry if they are convicted of violating any state or local motor vehicle traffic law or if they have their right to operate a motor vehicle revoked or suspended by any state; and
  • require any employer hiring commercial drivers to sign up for the state’s Driver Verification System, a free service that provides automatic notification to employers when an employee’s commercial driver’s license status changes.

The legislation, which was admitted to the Massachusetts legislature late Friday afternoon, will be most likely assigned to the Joint Committee on Transportation. The Trucking Association of Massachusetts has been reviewing this legislation and plans to weigh in with the legislature accordingly.

To review the text of the legislative filing, visit the Massachusetts Legislature’s website. Sponsored by Gov. Baker, the legislation is titled An Act to Promote Commercial Driver Safety. You can also download a PDF of the legislation.

TAM will have more updates on this matter as it progresses through the legislature.

ATA – Truck tonnage index fell in June

From the American Trucking Association.

American Trucking Associations’ advanced seasonally adjusted (SA) For-Hire Truck Tonnage Index decreased 1.1% in June after falling 4% in May. In June, the index equaled 115.2 (2015=100) compared with 116.5 in May.

“Tonnage continues to show resilience as it posted the twenty-sixth year-over-year increase despite falling for the second straight month sequentially,” said ATA Chief Economist Bob Costello. “The year-over-year gain was the smallest over the past two years, but the level of freight remains quite high. Tonnage is outperforming other trucking metrics as heavy freight sectors, like tank truck, are witnessing better freight levels than sectors like dry van, which has a lower average weight per load.”

Visit the ATA website for the complete press release.

Higher diesel taxes effective July 1

From Matt Cole at the Commercial Carrier Journal – Fleet Management Magazine.

With the turn of the calendar to July, truck drivers will see increased diesel fuel prices in 12 states due to rising fuel taxes.

While some states’ increases are less than a cent, some states’ taxes on diesel will be immediately noticeable. All of the following fuel tax increases took effect Monday, July 1.

Although taxes on diesel here in the Commonwealth have not changed, drivers and operators in Connecticut and Rhode Island will see 2.6 cent and 1 cent increases respectively. Connecticut taxes are now 46.5 cents per gallon, and Rhode Island 34 cents per gallon.

For additional information on the diesel fuel tax increases in other states, read the full article.

 

Weeks, TAM joins Massport Truck Access Steering Committee

Massport is investing more than $850 million in the Conley Container Terminal during the next 18 months. As they expand to handle additional volume and larger container ships, they want to ensure they promote and preserve the dedicated truck routes throughout the Seaport District. Protecting these routes will keep trucks off local neighborhood streets while continuing to serve commerce and global trade throughout New England.

The Truck Access Group Steering Committee will help Massport’s efforts in further advocacy and ensure that the industry’s voices are heard as the South Boston Waterfront continues to develop. TAM will be one of the members of this committee.

We will keep you informed about committee activity and report back accordingly after each meeting. Meetings are anticipated to begin in early Fall 2019.

Cruz, Marks join TAM leadership board

The Trucking Association of Massachusetts is pleased to announce the addition of two additional board members. Rolando Cruz is the safety and recruiting director from Capital Driver Leasing, and Richard Marks is the president of 28 Freight.

We are looking forward to working with them in the coming years. We are always looking for people to become involved in our association beyond a basic membership. If you have any interest in a greater participation contact our office. If you are receiving our newsletter and are not a member but would like to hear more about us, visit the website and drop us a line.

Rolando Cruz
Safety/Recruiting Director, Capital Driver Leasing

Rolando is a Massachusetts Army National Guard veteran and a certified director of safety thru the North American Transportation Management Institute.

He grew up fascinated with trucks and had many family members influence his passion for the industry. He became a lease driver with Contract Transport Services (CTS) in 2004 and was employed with CTS from 2004 to 2013 during which time he became their lead driver trainer and driver mentor for new and current company drivers. In 2014 he was approached by Bill Crowley to become the operation manager for Capital Driver Leasing (CDL). After a few years he assumed the roll of safety recruiting director and has been in that roll ever since. He is excited to venture into the industry in a more global scale and assist companies to achieve their safety, viability and sustainability goals.

Richard P. Marks

President – 28 Freight LLC., d.b.a TruckCourier

The Boston-based Marks family have been in the freight transportation and trucking industry, since 1928. Rich joined the family at its Hub Group, Boston operation in 1985 and focused on providing intermodal, railcar, highway and logistics solutions to wide variety of shippers and industries. In 2005, Rich departed Hub Group after a 20 year career and formed Marks Logistics, a 4PL freight management company, providing supply chain consulting and logistics support services to small and mid-sized shippers across the North American marketplace.

Earlier this year, in a move designed to pave the way for continued growth, Rich and his partners formed 28 Freight and announced the acquisition of Marks Logistics and TruckCourier, the leading provider of expedited trucking and courier services in the Northeast.

Employer and employee contributions to PFML program delayed

The Massachusetts Department of Family Leave recently implemented legislation – passed by the legislature and signed by the governor – to delay the start of employer and employee contributions to the Paid Family and Medical Leave program (PFML) until Oct. 1, 2019.

Current Status

  • The start date for PFML has been pushed back to Oct. 1
  • To address this shortened period for the state to collect funds for the start of the program in 2021; the collection amount is now 0.75% of qualified employee earnings
  • The notice period – for informing employees about their rights under the PFML – has been extended to Sept. 30
  • Employers that have, a more or as generous, a program of paid family and medical leave have until Dec. 20, 2019 to apply for an exemption from the payroll collection
  • The final PFML regulations was posted June 17 on the Department of Family and Medical Leave’s website

The department sent out the following notification on June 14.

The Massachusetts Legislature and the Baker-Polito Administration have enacted legislation to delay the start of employer and employee contributions to the Paid Family and Medical Leave program (PFML) by three months to October 1, 2019.

This delay will allow employers across the Commonwealth more time to prepare their organizations and workforces for PFML. Please read below to see how this delay will affect you and your responsibilities under the law.

Required Withholding Now Starts October 1
The start date for required PFML contributions is now October 1, 2019. On that date, employers must begin withholding PFML contributions from employee qualifying earnings.  Employers will be responsible for remitting employee and (if applicable) employer contributions for the October 1 to December 31 quarter through MassTaxConnect by January 31, 2020.

Contribution Rate Change
The PFML law requires that the Department adjust the contribution rate to offset the shorter period for collections that will result from the three month delay. As a result, the total contribution rate has been adjusted from 0.63% to 0.75% of employee qualifying earnings. This adjustment will ensure that full funding will be in place for the commencement of benefit payments in January 2021.

Timeline Extended for Required Employee Notices 
Employers now have until September 30, 2019, to notify all covered individuals of their rights and obligations under PFML. Check the Department website at mass.gov/pfml in the coming days for updated notices to provide to your workforce.

Timeline Extended for Exemption Applications
Employers that offer paid leave benefits that are at least as generous as those required under the PFML law may apply to the Department for an exemption from making contributions. Employers will now have until December 20, 2019, to apply for an exemption that will excuse them from the obligation to remit contributions for the full period commencing with the October 1 start date.

PFML Regulations Will Be Final and Effective on July 1, 2019
The final regulations will be posted on the Department website at mass.gov/pfml on Monday, June 17, 2019. The regulations will be formally published under the title 458 CMR 2.00 DEPARTMENT OF FAMILY AND MEDICAL LEAVE.

More about PFML
Beginning in 2021, PFML will provide temporary income replacement to eligible workers who are welcoming a new child into their family, dealing with a serious illness or injury, caring for an ailing relative, or dealing with complications resulting from the military deployment of a family member. The program is funded by payroll-based contributions from employers, employees, and certain contract workers.

To learn more about PFML, including information about how this new program impacts your organization, more background on exemptions, and details on contribution levels, please visit mass.gov/pfml.

2019 Massachusetts Truck Driving Championship recap

The Massachusetts Truck Driving Championship – sponsored and supported by the Trucking Association of Massachusetts was held at the beginning of the month. The event was a success and we had a beautiful weekend for the drivers.

Thank you to the sponsors, volunteers and the more than 60 drivers who came out this year. A full year of accident free driving, regardless of fault is a major accomplishment in todays distracted society. Your personal and professional pride was very obvious.

Congratulations to the nine drivers that will represent Massachusetts at the ATA National Competition in Pittsburg in August. This year’s Grand Champion Award goes to Rich Sweeney from XPO Logistics.

  • Straight Truck, Bill Colantuone, FedEx Express
  • 3 Axle Van, Jerry Dube, XPO Logistics
  • 4 Axle Van, Jeremy Paulsen, XPO Logistics
  • 5 Axle Van, Roland Bolduc, FedEx Express
  • Sleeper, Brian Singelais, Frito-Lay
  • Flatbed, Andy Barilone, Regency
  • Tanker, Rich Sweeney, XPO Logistics
  • Twin Trailer, Bill Oakes, FedEx Freight
  • Step Van, Bob Ledoux, FedEx Express

Full scores and results have now been posted.

WGBH News interviewed a few competitors, including Roland Bolduc, a 15-time state champion and three-time national champion.

From WGBH.

Some 70 professional truck drivers from across the state gathered in a parking lot in North Andover on Sunday, June 3, for this year’s state Truck Driving Championships. The winner in each of nine categories — ranging from delivery vans to twin trailers — earned a trip to the American Trucking Association’s National Truck Driving Championships this August in Pittsburgh. Believe it or not, this national competition has been happening annually since 1937.

For the full article and audio, visit the WGBH website.

Additional Results

Top Pre-trip Inspection Awards to Andy Barilone from Regency (truck class) and Tom Westgate from FedEx Ground (step van).

Highest written test score was Roland Bolduc from FedEx Express.

Rookie-of-the-Year Awards go to Sarah Gudaitis from Frito-Lay (truck class) and Christiano Julio from FedEx Ground (step van)

Our student driver award goes to Nick Jacobson.

The James Dolliver Professional Excellence Award was presented to JB Baer form Hood Distribution. Well deserved!

This year we not only had a great showing of drivers but also lots of family and friends.

Linda Greenburg, Board member of TAM, was able to make a contact with WGBH Radio for event coverage this year.

WGBH Reporter Edgar Herwick spent a good part of Sunday interviewing drivers, judges and committee for the story. Even though Edgar had no idea what the championships were about before the event, he was able to capture the flavor of the competition by the end of the day.

The Truck Driving Championships would not be possible without the commitment from our sponsors with monetary donations and use of company equipment.

Thank you to Don Lane and Mark Greenburg at NETTTS for securing the site from Osgood Landing and covering the cost of the site, the portable bathrooms and the sound system.

Financial contributions this year from Advantage Truck Group, Boyle Transportation, RDI Logistics, J&S Transport, Cumberland Farms, FedEx Express, FedEx Freight, FedEx Ground, Frito-Lay, Ballard Truck Center, Old Dominion Freight Lines, Regency Transportation, Highway Driver Leasing, Hood Distribution, Anthem Propane and OB Hill Trucking and Rigging.

JB Baer handled the procurement of equipment from Regency Transportation, EJ Wyson, FedEx Express, FedEx Freight, FedEx Ground, Old Dominion, RDI Logistics, Hood Distribution, Stop & Shop and YRC Freight.

Mass Professional Truck Drivers Association supplied the equipment trailer. Additional equipment trailer from FedEx Express.

Volunteers

This year we had 45 volunteers for course setup, pre-trip inspection, course problems and scoring.

Pre-Trip Inspection – Steve Hanley from FMCSA was in charge of the Pretrip inspection assisted this year by 3 members of the Massachusetts State Police Truck Team: Trooper Patrick Haynes, Trooper Patrick Scanlon & Trooper Steve Browning. Also working Pretrip, Rick Lane – Griffin Greenhouses, Doug Freese – Ross Express, John Luongo – MA DPU and Wayne Peasley.

There is no question that the pre-trip inspection process can be nerve wracking, especially the waiting.

Course – The course designer and Roadeo Master was Bob Darling from EJ Wyson. The Saturday setup crew included: Don Herzog (ret ABF), Pete Delgrego (FedEx Express), Kevin Loggie, Kevin Weeks (TAM), Harold Carter (Regency) & Fred Schenk (J&S Transport), Bill Darling, JB Baer (Hood Distribution) & Dave, Alex & Alan Misenheimer (Dominos)

On Sunday: Many thanks to the volunteers from the New Hampshire Drivers Assoc. New Hampshire conducted their competition on Saturday and the volunteers helped us out on Sunday: Mickey & Linda Rafeal, Neil Nogues, Pete Borges, Paul Robichaud, Michele Wells & Pat Osborn.

From FedEx Express – Pete Delgreco & Karen Tierney; FedEx Ground – Trish & Chris Vallee; FedEx Freight -John Dolan, David & Mindy Bryant, Joel Colon, Mirge Rosario

From Domino’s Pizza (CT) – Dave, Alex & Alan Misenheimer. From A Duie Pyle (PA) -Leo Flack, John & Patty Reed.

From Regency – Dan Lacroix & Harold Carter. Hood Distribution – JB Baer. From Old Dominion – Keith Adams & Rob Guba. From XPO Logistics – Hesse Wagner.

From Boyle Transportation – Amanda Blue.

Also working the course this year – Shirleen Bolduc & Jade Andre. Our announcer was Brittany Singelais, assisted by Patty Reed.

Our scorer was Colleen Kane from TAM. Thank you Colleen, another great job.

Written Test – Dan Lacroix, Regency Transportation.

Special thanks to Trish Vallee for getting so many new drivers involved from FedEx Ground in the step van class. Largest step van class ever.

To all the drivers, thank you for your participation and putting yourself “on the line”. We hope to see you all at future championships.

To all the volunteers, thank you for taking time out of your busy schedules to promote a positive image of the trucking industry.

Photo Gallery

Trucking industry – Key trends & outlook

The Thomas Industry Update website, covering the Supply Chain, provides an overview of the trucking industry including data from the American Trucking Association.

From coast to coast, across mountain ranges, and through the extensive North American highway system, the trucking industry keeps our modern society well-stocked with a dynamic inventory of products and goods. Dubbed the “lifeblood of our economy” by President Donald Trump, not only does this industry facilitate the nationwide distribution of food, clothes, medicine, and other consumer products, it also supports a substantial portion of America’s revenue and workforce.

Read the full article on the Thomas website.

Route 1 Chelsea – Extended lane closures begin May 13

On Monday evening, May 13 crews will mobilize in preparation for Route 1 southbound lane closures which will be put in place on May 14 from the County Road Overpass through the Chelsea Curves to the Tobin Bridge. Existing northbound lane reductions will also be extended through the work zone.

Beginning May 14, drivers and MBTA bus passengers can expect increased travel times on sections of Route 1 North and South, especially during peak hours. All on- and off-ramps will remain open at this time.

Crews will be taking one of the three travel lanes out of service for the project that will last the next two construction seasons.

These closures are necessary to minimize the length of closures and construction, and reduce impacts like noise and night-work, for required maintenance and structural rehabilitation of Route 1 and the Tobin Bridge.

Please take the time to pass this information on to your drivers.

Current Advisories (PDF)

Additional Resources (PDF)

TAM meets with governor to discuss rolling stock

The Trucking Association of Massachusetts (TAM) remains at work attempting to advance the association’s rolling stock initiative.  Last week, TAM President Steve Normandin, Legislative Chairman Ed Rodricks, Board Member Andrew Boyle, Executive Director Kevin Weeks as well as Chris Spear, President & CEO of the American Trucking Associations (ATA) met with Governor Charlie Baker, House Minority Leader Brad Jones and the Governor’s Legislative Director Kaitlyn Sprague to discuss both the rolling stock issue and the future of financing the Commonwealth’s transportation infrastructure.

On rolling stock, the governor remains committed to making the Commonwealth friendly to the growth of industries like trucking that provide good jobs and support the growth of other industries.  In particular, the Governor appreciated the fact that the removal of the rolling stock tax will lead to an increase in cleaner and safer trucks being used within the Commonwealth.

On transportation infrastructure, TAM representatives reiterated the importance of including the trucking industry as part of any and all conversations around the issue of funding the Commonwealth’s transportation infrastructure. Already, TAM is proud to have been named part of the Massachusetts Business Coalition on Transportation, which was started by the Greater Boston Chamber of Commerce as a means of coalescing key sectors behind a transportation initiative.

TAM will continue to carry its message about its role as the backbone of the Massachusetts economy throughout the legislative session. 

Learn more about the Massachusetts Business Coalition on Transportation at the Greater Boston Chamber of Commerce website.