NTA INVITED TO CO-HOST UPCOMING SUMMIT
NTA recently received an invitation from the Mayor of Irving, Texas to co-host the 14th Annual Transportation & Infrastructure Summit and 4th Annual Global High-Speed Rail Forum in Irving, TX this coming August. As a member of the transportation industry, NTA knows the value of a conference which brings together policymakers, elected officials at all levels of government, transportation and engineering experts, and members of the private sector in order to improve our transportation infrastructure.
The time to revitalize our old national transportation infrastructure is now. We must pave a new path that truly builds upon the challenges and opportunities that are now before us. NTA feels now is the time for cities, counties and trade organizations to come together to play their role as we shape national transportation policy. This will be a truly unique event to be a part of because elected officials and industry professionals from across the continent will come together to discuss every mode of transportation in depth, all to achieve the same goal – a safer and more efficient transportation system.
ANOTHER ASSAULT ON OWNER OPERATORS
After years of trying to avoid politics in my articles, those idiots in Sacramento are really making it hard. There was a time when the California Trucking Association (CTA) was called the 800-pound gorilla, but that was back when they had Joel Anderson and Karen Rasmussen running the show. After they left, the CTA went back to being just a plain old trucking association. But our industry needs a voice – another 800-pound gorilla! There are just too many issues that need to be addressed. I guess what I hate more than anything is for someone who knows next to nothing about transportation to start telling those of us in this industry how to do things – especially those hypocritical ignoramuses in Sacramento who are driving California into bankruptcy.
California Assembly Speaker John Perez introduced a bill that would ban independent truckers from California ports. Assembly Bill 950 mandates that all drivers be employees of the companies they work for. AB 950 would kill thousands of small businesses and prevent many drivers from feeding their families and creating jobs. If you are an owner operator, this bill will greatly affect your ability to find work at California ports. Not a port trucker? AB 950 is the first step to eliminating independent owner operators throughout the trucking industry. Today it is the ports – tomorrow it might be the agriculture, construction or over-the-road drivers. Stand up today and make your voice be heard! Everything that starts in California spreads like a virus across the country. Let’s try to stop this one now.
Assembly Speaker Perez represents the 46th District, which includes downtown Los Angeles, East LA, Vernon, Maywood and Huntington Park. Many of the independents that work in the ports live in these cities, so his constituents are the ones that will be the most affected (negatively) by this bill. If you live in one of these cities, you should call him at his office on 4th Street (213-620-4646) to let him know how glad you are that he is trying to put you out of business. I thought government was supposed to be focused on saving jobs right now – not killing them!
One of the reasons why I object so much to this bill is that it uses falsehoods and exaggerations to promote its points. In one part it says, “Non-employee truck operators cannot freely report many safety concerns without fear of retaliation against them, as only employees enjoy thorough protection from retaliation.” Wrong! Port work falls under interstate commerce and is protected by the federal regulations, which include extensive “whistleblower” provisions (29 CFR 1978.105 and 49 CFR 380.503).
As an owner operator, an independent trucker has no “boss” to answer to other than himself, so who will come after him? Further, if an owner operator is presented with an unsafe or illegal load, he has the option to turn it down. In regards to safety issues with an owner operator’s truck, the new CSA scoring system now makes it advantageous, financially, for independents to avoid getting safety violations during roadside inspections because it could make them less desirable to hire. So, it is in their best interests to police themselves in regards to maintenance.
The other part of AB 950 that I think is stupid and misrepresented involves workers’ compensation. The bill says, “Non-employee truck operators typically lack workers’ compensation insurance.” Well, anybody with reasonable intelligence knows that workers’ compensation only covers the employees of a company – not the owner. As most independent truckers in the port are sole proprietors (they have no employees), they have no coverage because by law they are exempt. What it boils down to is that this bill is simply about taxes – making owner operators into employees so that the nearly bankrupt State of California can collect more taxes. The democratic-controlled State of California wants you to pay 35% in taxes as an employee rather than 15% if you are a corporate business. Go figure!
FMCSA ISSUES CHANGES TO CDL REQUIREMENTS
A regulation will now restrict commercial driver licenses in a way the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) said will create uniformity across the states and prevent fraud. The new rule will require all drivers to now obtain a commercial learner’s permit (CLP) before getting their commercial driver’s license (CDL), a requirement that currently differs between states. It will also establish a minimum age of 18 for holding a CLP, require states to verify an applicant’s Social Security number, and limit the ID’s required to obtain a CLP to align more with Department of Homeland Security standards. It also will prohibit CLP applicants from using interpreters when taking the written portion of the test, which is issued only in English. The rules will become effective 60 days after being published in the Federal Register.