snow traffic jam

Imagine an extensive traffic jam – with electric vehicles

snow traffic jamEarlier this month in Virginia, commercial and personal vehicle drivers along a 40-plus mile section of I-95 experienced significant weather delays. Snowfall and cold weather resulted in some drivers stuck in place for more than 20 hours. Many ran out of fuel or battery power waiting to get moving. No power means no heat in sub-freezing temperatures. This was not a pleasant or safe experience.

An editorial by Charles Lane from the Washington Post on Jan. 4 suggests the event would have been much worse if there were more electric vehicles on the road. Although both electric and internal combustion engine vehicles certainly will all eventually run out of power, getting them moving again is the problem.

It is much easier to rehabilitate a disabled [internal combustion engine] ICE vehicle. Rescuers can deliver gallons of gas in convenient jugs; gas stations are still far more numerous than EV charging stations; and ICE car batteries can be jump-started in minutes.

Lane notes outside of a breakthrough in fast, mobile charging, battery powered vehicles would have to be towed. This would have been a significant challenge for law enforcement and personnel charged with clearing the vehicles.

Read the full editorial at the Washington Post’s website.

Edward Rodricks

TAM chairman, trucking industry leader Ed Rodricks passes away

Edward RodricksWe are deeply saddened to announce the passing of longtime Board Member and TAM Chairman Ed Rodricks. Ed passed away Thursday, Dec. 30.

We are thankful for his outstanding leadership, friendship, guidance and wisdom. He will be greatly missed by the TAM family, the trucking industry and his community.

Ed’s contributions to TAM and the trucking industry are numerous. His positive impact throughout our region will be felt for many years to come. He was respected by everyone that worked for him and with him. He was a true leader and will be missed by many.

Our condolences to his wife Valerie and the entire Rodricks family at this most difficult time.

Services for Ed will be at 10 a.m. Saturday, Jan. 8 at St. John’s Church in East Bridgewater, details can be found online here.

FMCSA emergency declaration

FMCSA extends Emergency Declaration 2020-002

This morning, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) extended Emergency Declaration 2020-002 to Feb. 28. 2022, subject to the restrictions and conditions set forth herein unless modified or terminated sooner.

From the FMCSA.

FMCSA is continuing the exemption and associated regulatory relief in accordance with 49 CFR § 390.25, because the presidentially declared emergency remains in place and because, although the number of COVID-19 cases began to decline in the U.S. following widespread introduction of vaccinations, persistent issues arising out of COVID-19 continue to affect the U.S. including impacts on supply chains and the need to ensure capacity to respond to variants and potential rises in infections. Therefore, a continued exemption is needed to support direct emergency assistance for some supply chains.

The American Trucking Associations sent out an email today with additional information. It included the following:

The declaration published today is limited to the transportation of:

  1. Livestock and livestock feed;
  2. Medical supplies and equipment related to the testing, diagnosis, and treatment of COVID-19;
  3. Vaccines, constituent products, and medical supplies and equipment, including ancillary supplies/kits for the administration of vaccines, related to the prevention of COVID-19;
  4. Supplies and equipment necessary for community safety, sanitation, and prevention of community transmission of COVID-19 such as masks, gloves, hand sanitizer, soap, and disinfectants; and,
  5. Food, paper products, and other groceries for emergency restocking of distribution centers or stores;
  6. Gasoline, diesel, jet fuel, and ethyl alcohol; and,
  7. Supplies to assist individuals impacted by the consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic (e.g., building materials for individuals displaced or otherwise impacted as a result of the emergency).

This declaration applies only to 395.3 “Maximum Driving Time for Property-Carrying Vehicles”. This declaration becomes effective at 12:00 a.m. December 1, 2021 and expires February 28, 2022 unless modified or terminated sooner. Reporting requirements previously established remain in effect. To be eligible, the transportation must be both (1) of qualifying commodities and (2) incident to the immediate restoration of those essential supplies. We strongly encourage everyone to review the applicability, restrictions, and limitations listed within the waiver.

The FMCSA has also extended the CDL and CLP waivers under certain circumstances. Details can be found on the FMCSA website concerning the waiver and updated today.

Additionally, FMCSA has extended waivers related to third-party CDL skills test examiners, and CLP holders operating a CMV.

Rear impact guard inspection

FMCSA to require rear impact guard yearly inspection

Effective Dec. 9, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) will add rear impact guards on the list of items that must be examined as part of the required annual inspection for each commercial motor vehicle. In addition, FMCSA amends the labeling requirements for rear impact guards, and excludes road construction controlled horizontal discharge trailers from the rear impact guard requirements.

These changes are consistent with those made by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration to the corresponding Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards. This final rule responds to rulemaking petitions, as well as a recommendation from the Government Accountability Office.

The vehicles subject to this additional inspection item are trailers and semitrailers with a GVWR of 4,536 kg (10,001 lbs.) or more that were manufactured on or after January 26, 1998.

The published document as released by the FMCSA has been posted here in the National Archive. The Executive Summary includes…

Section 393.86 of the FMCSRs, “Rear impact guards and rear end protection,” requires rear impact guards to be installed on most CMVs to reduce the incidence of passenger compartment intrusion during underride crashes in which a passenger vehicle strikes the rear of the CMV. Regulations requiring rear impact guards have been in the FMCSRs since 1952. The FMCSRs require that all CMVs be systematically inspected, repaired, and maintained to ensure that all required parts and accessories—including rear impact guards—are in safe and proper operating condition at all times (§ 396.3(a)(1)). Operation of a CMV with a missing or noncompliant rear impact guard is a violation of the FMCSRs.

Every CMV must be inspected at least once every 12 months. 49 CFR 396.17. A motor carrier may not use a CMV unless each component identified in Appendix A to Part 396, Code of Federal Regulations, “Minimum Periodic Inspection Standards,” has passed the required annual inspection. While the FMCSRs have required rear impact guards for more than 65 years, they have not been included on the list of components in Appendix G that must be inspected during the annual CMV inspection. This means that a vehicle can pass an annual inspection with a missing or damaged rear impact guard.



US DOT logo

Federal infrastructure legislation includes benefits for Massachusetts

US DOT logoThe historic bipartisan infrastructure legislation will deliver for Massachusetts by repairing roads and bridges, improving transportation options, building a national network of chargers to accelerate the adoption of electric vehicles, upgrading our nation’s airports and ports, and much more.

A PDF document with some information concerning the Massachusetts benefits – and all other states – has been posted on the US Department of Transportation website.

In Massachusetts there are 472 bridges and over 1,194 miles of highway in poor condition. Since 2011, commute times have increased by 10.9% in Massachusetts, and on average, each driver pays $620 per year in costs due to driving on roads in need of repair. The Bipartisan Infrastructure Law is the single largest dedicated bridge investment since the construction of the interstate highway system.

Based on formula funding alone, Massachusetts would expect to receive approximately $5.3 billion over five years in Federal highway formula funding for highways and bridges. On an average annual basis, this is about 48.4% more than the State’s Federal-aid highway formula funding under current law.

Read the complete Massachusetts-related PDF.

American Trucking Association logo

Trucking industry associations file lawsuit over vaccine mandate

A press release from the American Trucking Association.

Suit Filed in Fifth Circuit, Which Has Preliminarily Stayed Mandate

Arlington, Virginia – Today, the American Trucking Associations, along with the Louisiana Motor Truck Association, the Mississippi Trucking Association and the Texas Trucking Association led a number of groups representing various facets of the supply chain in suing the Biden Administration over its employer-based COVID-19 vaccine mandate.

“To be very clear, ATA and its member companies support efforts to encourage all Americans to get vaccinated against COVID-19 – our trucks and drivers have been on the front line in fighting this pandemic since the beginning, moving personal protective equipment, test kits, the vaccine itself and much more as the country locked down, but we believe that the Biden Administration has overstepped its statutory authority in issuing this Emergency Temporary Standard,” said ATA President and CEO Chris Spear. “This standard arbitrarily picks winners and losers, and puts employers in an untenable position of forcing workers to choose between working and their private medical decisions, which is something that cannot be allowed.

“We told the administration that this mandate, given the nature of our industry and makeup of our workforce, could have devastating impacts on the supply chain and the economy and they have, unfortunately, chosen to move forward despite those warnings,” he said. “So we are now, regrettably, forced to seek to have this mandate overturned in court.”

ATA and its state partners filed their challenge in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit, and they were joined in the suit by the Food Marketing Institute, the International Warehouse Logistics Association, the National Association of Convenience Stores, the National Retail Federation, the National Association of Wholesaler-Distributors and the National Federation of Independent Business.

“We are asking the court to stay implementation of the mandate because we believe the Occupational Safety and Health Administration did not satisfy the statutory requirements for issuing this Emergency Temporary Standard instead of going through the proper rulemaking process,” said Nicholas Geale, ATA vice president of workforce policy. “A stay pending full review is essential to ensure our members can continue to keep the supply chain moving without the enormous disruptions this unlawful ETS will cause the trucking industry and our nation’s consumers – including the 80% percent of American communities that depend exclusively on trucks for their needs.”

FMCSA logo

Update now to the new FMCSA ELD public certificate

Note: This message applies only to ELD providers with devices that support telematics (web services and email) transfer. It does not affect ELDs that support only the local transfer option (Bluetooth and USB).

For those who have not completed the update to FMCSA’s new ELD public certificate, this is your final reminder before the November 12, 2021 deadline. On November 12, 2021, FMCSA’s old ELD public certificate will no longer be accepted. This means that, beginning November 13, 2021, ELDs that have not had the necessary software updates will not be able to transfer files via email.

To keep your telematics devices in full compliance with the ELD regulations, you must take the steps below by November 12, 2021.

Download the new FMCSA ELD public certificate

  • Visit the Develop and Test Your Device page in the ELD Provider Portal (login required).
  • Look in the Data Transfer section and click on FMCSA ELD public certificate (exp. 07/19/2024) to start the download.
  • Download the ELD Interface Control Document (ICD) for additional instructions.

Update your customers

Once ELD providers update their device software to use the new FMCSA ELD public certificate, they must inform their customers of the software update and advise them to accept the software update on their devices to avoid any interruption in service.

Deadline: November 12, 2021

The deadline for providers to update to the new FMCSA ELD public certificate is November 12, 2021, which is the date when the current public certificate will no longer be accepted. If providers have not completed the certificate update on their telematics devices by this date, their ELDs will not be able to transfer files to FMCSA via the email transfer method and the device will not be in compliance with the ELD regulations.

Can ELD providers use the new certificate before November 12, 2021?

Yes. While FMCSA’s system will continue to accept the current FMCSA ELD public certificate until November 12, 2021, as of September 9, 2021, the system also accepts the new certificate so that providers can begin the certificate update as soon as possible. ELD providers are strongly encouraged to complete this certificate update well in advance of the November 12, 2021 deadline to avoid any interruption in service to customers.

What if the device does not support email transfer?

If a device supports the local transfer option (both Bluetooth and USB), it is not required to support email transfer. If a device supports the telematics option, even though web services is FMCSA’s preferred transfer method, the device must support both web services and email to be considered compliant.


For further instructions, consult the ELD Interface Control Document (login required).

ATA pushes back on vaccine mandates

American Trucking Association President and CEO Chris Spear noted any vaccine mandates placed on the trucking industry – including drivers –  will result in additional disruptions to an already strained supply chain.

The Biden administration’s plan requires companies with more than 100 employees to mandate vaccines or weekly COVID testing.

“The first rule of any public health policy should be ‘do no harm,'” said Spear. “Unfortunately, these latest mandates and the unintended consequences they’ll create fall short of that standard.”

For additional information, read the article by Jason Cannon on the Commercial Carrier Journal website.

Boyle Transportation logo

Boyle Transportation earns “Best Fleets to Drive For” award

Boyle Transportation logoBoyle Transportation has again received top honors in the Best Fleets to Drive For program at the 2021 Truckload Carriers Association Annual Convention in Las Vegas. Boyle has won the award for two consecutive years.

In a year with record participation and more than 150 fleet nominations, Nussbaum [Transportation Services] and Boyle stood out from the competition by leading in innovation, driver development and workplace culture efforts. Nussbaum was named best-in-class in the large carrier category, while Boyle won the small carrier category division.

Congratulations to Marc and Andrew Boyle and the entire Boyle Transportation team!


truck driver appreciation week logo

Truck Driver Appreciation Week

During the week of September 12 – 18, the trucking industry and its customers will come together to honor professional drivers nationwide.  SmartWay carrier partners that demonstrate economic and environmental leadership by moving goods in the cleanest and most efficient way possible could not do it without the commitment of their drivers. Let’s all thank a truck driver for their hard work.

Two truck drivers in front of truck