UPS driver Patricia Clark attains 25 years of safe driving

Women make history every day, but Women’s History Month provides an opportunity to focus on those remarkable achievements.

In a male dominated career, Somerville Facility Driver Patricia Clark is the first female UPS driver in the Boston area to attain 25 years of safe driving. All without a single accident. She was able to achieve this remarkable goal while driving a large commercial vehicle on busy roads and through severe weather situations.

Patricia delivers in old Boston—the historic waterfront neighborhood of Charlestown. “It has the original brownstones. Cobblestone streets designed for horse and carriage. To get to this safe driving milestone in the extremely tight, old city environment makes her accomplishment remarkable,” said Business Manager Kevin Thibert.

Patricia joined the ranks of UPS as a part-time package handler in Watertown, Massachusetts thirty years ago. She was motivated to be a driver for the job security, good health care insurance and wages. She saw mostly men working in this field, but wasn’t deterred. She knew office work wasn’t for her. She liked the idea of working outdoors and on her own.

Now, with more than 25 years on the road, she agrees her success behind the wheel has been achieved by applying the UPS safe driving methods. “The safety training is really important. I practice it all day long. The methods have been tested, tried and proven successful,” Patricia shares.

Her safety tip to the public, “Remember, it’s expensive to get into an accident. When you get behind the wheel of a car, take it seriously. Slow it down. The way you travel to the address you are going will determine your outcome.”

UPS adds to its prestigious “Circle of Honor” each year to recognize employees who have delivered packages for a quarter of a century without an accident.

Patricia was recognized for her outstanding driving record along with 50+ other drivers in Massachusetts. She is the first women in the Boston area to join newly inducted drivers into the company’s elite organization.

Globally, 10,779 active UPS drivers are members of the Circle of Honor. Collectively they’ve racked up 15 billion safe miles during their careers. It’s enough to circle the earth at the equator about 600,000 times.

Transportation and Climate Initiative Concerns

Originally submitted on April 9, 2021.

TAM is committed to improving air quality in Massachusetts and supporting policies that safeguard the environment. And while we appreciate and applaud the efforts of the Baker administration to pursue these goals via the TCI-P, we have multiple questions and concerns about how the program will affect Mass trucking companies, particularly users of diesel fuel, when officially enacted.

TCI-P will inherently change behavior in the commercial transportation sector, but potentially not as it was intended. Diesel fuel in particular will continue to be utilized in Massachusetts, but it will simply be purchased elsewhere whenever possible.  Most troubling is that it will likely not significantly reduce emissions already being reduced from increasingly stricter diesel fuel regulations, and will actually drive businesses and jobs away from our state.

We understand that TCI-P is designed to reduce the amount of fossil fuel utilized for transportation in Massachusetts. But it is problematic that the commercial transportation sector is not considered separately. Diesel fuel and gasoline fees (taxes) should not be looked at equally; they are very different.

Unfortunately, in our opinion, the limited amount of participation across the region is problematic on many fronts as well, and seems to call into question the viability of the initiative at this point. Listed below is a sampling of some of the concerns we have with TCI-P, and we would welcome the opportunity to discuss these issues to obtain clarity and understand how these concerns are being addressed.

  • It is concerning to us that 9 of the 13 original potential participants in the program have declined to sign the Memorandum of Understanding, including Vice Chairman Larry Hogan (MD). Is there enough bandwidth with the remaining participants to create change?
  • The administrative bureaucracy that the TCI-P would create could make decisions that will raise the price of gas — and it appears that those decisions could be made by officials that have not been elected by the people of Massachusetts.
  • While the charge is not being framed as a ‘tax’ because of the point of regulation, we believe in practice the increase in gas and diesel fuel prices will be perceived negatively by residents of MA and will actually be considered a “tax” — along with current fuel taxes, excise and federal taxes that already exist.
  • IFTA diesel fuel excise taxes appear not to have been considered within TCI-P. IFTA fuel taxes are equitably paid to the state in which the fuel is consumed. The TCI-P fee will not be equitable and only charged on sales in Massachusetts. Out of state trucks, who will now be encouraged to obtain fuel outside of Massachusetts, will not contribute to the TCI-P model whatsoever.
  • Funds raised by this increase do not seem to take into consideration the needs of our current infrastructure. Given, in our opinion, that the increase will be perceived as a “tax” by the general public, the ability to increase fuel costs additionally at any time will/would be difficult and therefore roads and bridges will continue to deteriorate.
  • Since the program will not impact emissions in states outside of the agreement that do not have strong clean-energy policies, this could degrade Massachusetts air quality by blowing those dirty emissions into our state impacting the desired effect.
  • The trucking industry already has a long history of reducing carbon emissions, and that work continues. In addition, global automakers are pledging to go all electric within the next 10-15 years — suggesting that dirty emissions will decline significantly irrespective of the TCI-P agreement. In fact, TCI-P itself asserts that emissions during a ten-year period in the region will fall 19%, even without the initiative being enacted, because of federal emissions standards.
  • We are concerned that the funding for the initiative will not be sustainable. As we move to an increased number of electric vehicles, there will be less and less revenue generated for TCI-P funded projects.
  • Because of the projected increase in fuel cost, the program puts Massachusetts trucking companies at a disadvantage if they purchase fuel in our state. Significant fuel cost reduction will be achieved by simply crossing the border into non-participating states to buy fuel, and Massachusetts companies will be forced to do that to stay competitive.
  • Given the minimum opening price for a TCI-P credit and the average mileage of a Class 8 truck, we estimate there will be at least a 2 cent per mile cost. This is a significant cost increase and another reason companies will be forced to fuel outside of Massachusetts whenever possible.
  • Given the new documentation, record-keeping requirements and potential disruption of audits, the initiative adds a significant amount of work/cost for diesel suppliers that do not currently exist. We are concerned about the new burden this imposes on Massachusetts fuel supplier companies, including the cost for hiring newly created agencies to do necessary auditing. Again, this is an incentive for companies to domicile elsewhere, and for companies that are not able to move their operations, this is a significant cost that will ultimately put many of them out of business.
  • Fuel optimization systems, available to trucking companies currently, will route vehicles outside of the state to purchase fuel whenever possible to achieve the lower fuel cost from neighboring states, yet those trucks will still drive and impact Massachusetts roadways.

Trucking Industry’s Emission Reduction Progress

All figures are per US EPA

Year: 2002
Mandate/Technology: Exhaust Gas Recirculation (EGR)
Environmental Benefit: 50% NOx emissions reduction
Cost to Industry: $250 million annually

Year: 2006 – 2010
Mandate/Technology: Ultra Low Sulfur Diesel (ULSD)
Environmental Benefit: 97% reduction of sulfur in diesel
Cost to Industry: $4 billion annually (in combination with PM/NOx limits)

Year: 2007 – 2010
Mandate/Technology: US EPA PM and NOx limits; Diesel Particulate Filters (DPFs)
Environmental Benefit: 90% reduction of Particulate Matter (PM) “soot” 90% reduction of NOx
Cost to Industry: $4 billion annually (in combination with ULSD)

Year: 2014
Mandate/Technology: US EPA/NHTSA “Phase 1” Greenhouse Gas Emissions Standards and Fuel Efficiency Standards for Medium- and Heavy-Duty Engines and Vehicles
Environmental Benefit: 23% reduction of CO2 emissions
Cost to Industry: $8 billion

Year: 2021, 2024, 2027
Mandate/Technology: US EPA/NHTSA “Phase 2” Greenhouse Gas Emissions Standards and Fuel Efficiency Standards for Medium- and Heavy-Duty Engines and Vehicles
Environmental Benefit: additional 34 percent reduction of CO2 emissions
Cost to Industry: $20 – $30 billion

Massachusetts Trucking Industry Data

  • 86.9%: number of Massachusetts communities that depend exclusively on trucks to move their goods
  • 95%: percent of manufactured tonnage transported by truck in Massachusetts
  • $7.3 billion: total trucking industry wages paid in Massachusetts (2019)
  • 129,300: trucking industry jobs in Massachusetts (2019)
  • $56,154: average annual trucking industry salary in Massachusetts (2018)

As of January 2021, a typical five-axle tractor-semitrailer combination paid:

  • $5,760 state highway user fees and taxes
  • $8,906 federal highway user fees and taxes

TAM is anxious to get a better understanding of TCI-P’s plans to address these issues as well as many others. We stand at the ready to discuss all issues and to offer our expertise to further detail any and all of the issues we have raised.

Respectfully submitted

Kevin Weeks
Executive Director

MG+M Law Firm Logo

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.”

TAM Priorities

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

 

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.