Here are five things worth knowing in the world of trucking today, Feb. 28:
1. Iowa truckers speak out against ELD mandate
Chad Hartzler is an operations manager at Peterson Transportation Inc. in Manson, IA, and he says productivity is down and profits are being hurt due to new federal rules requiring truckers to use electronic logging devices to monitor their hours of service, the Des Moines Register reports. The Register noted that some smaller Iowa trucking companies contend the new rules "have created an inflexible work environment where truck drivers' sleep patterns are being interrupted and they are driving too fast to get somewhere." The report also noted that even though the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration has granted some relief as it has implemented the regulations, "smaller trucking companies such as Peterson Transportation, which has 65 employees, say they are being squeezed by the changes and are appealing to Congress for help." The Register has more.
2. Trucking continues push for higher fuel tax to fund infrastructure
The American Trucking Associations is urging lawmakers and the White House to gradually increase fuel taxes in steps by 20 cents a gallon to raise $340 billion over 10 years for infrastructure spending, The Wall Street Journal reports. The industry has been pushing for higher fuel taxes because it worries the alternative would be more tolls. However, according to WSJ, they “face an uphill climb, as the last time the gas tax was raised was 1993, and many Republican legislators are dead set against tax increases of any kind.” A new economic report from the White House downplays the effectiveness of fuel taxes, and questions whether truckers are paying enough under the current system. The report was issued a week after President Trump sent his infrastructure funding outline to Congress that called for a bill that will generate at least $1.5 trillion over 10 years.
3. Lawsuit alleges firm intentionally misclassified its port drivers
Truckers filed a class-action lawsuit on Monday alleging that the Southern California units of port trucking company XPO Logistics “deliberately” misclassified drivers as independent contractors rather than employees to deprive them of wages and benefits, The Los Angeles Times reports. The suit seeks class-action status on behalf of nearly 160 or more drivers, according to the report. The suit also alleges that the trucking firm failed to pay the drivers minimum wage and pay wages for missed meal and rest periods. The LA Times has more.
4. Truckers lobby for bill to combat human trafficking
Commercial truck drivers are lobbying Colorado state lawmakers for a bill requiring all truckers become educated about the signs of human trafficking, CBS 4 Denver reports. According to the report, that education would be incorporated into the training all drivers endure when obtaining their commercial driver’s license. The bill would be focused on education only, the report noted. It would not mandate truck drivers report trafficking if they see it.
5. St. Louis tow truck drivers to public: ‘Slow down, move over’
St. Louis metro area tow truck drivers have come together to urge motorists to "slow down, move over," KMOV St. Louis reports. According to the report, on Sunday morning a group of tow truck drivers from both Missouri and Illinois gathered in Bethalto to try and get the word out about the dangers of their profession. "They say it's more important than ever after two of their own are recovering," KMOV reports. "One was hit by a car in St. Charles County last week. The other was shot in St. Louis earlier this month."