The Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association (OOIDA), in a push for better enforcement of existing regulations, filed a petition on May 19 with the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) urging immediate action to improve broker transparency.
Editor’s note: Written by Oswaldo Flores, safety and compliance product manager for Teletrac Navman. This is one in a series of periodic guest columns by industry thought leaders.
With much of America’s trucking operations grounded for the past several months during the COVID-19 outbreak, fleet managers are eager to get back to work. But what does that look like in a world where trucks have been sitting idle for 90-days or more?
One month ago, 27 State Driver Licensing Agencies (SDLAs) were closed, along with most government offices, due to COVID-19 concerns. If you wanted to obtain your commercial driver’s license (CDL) and join the trucking industry, or even a commercial learner’s permit (CLP) to get started, you had about a 50/50 shot that your state would allow it.
The odds have improved to 66%, with only 17 states completely closed now, but several roadblocks still remain between prospective drivers and a job in trucking.
In general, the chances of a truck driver catching COVID-19 are small compared to other essential workers. They’re by themselves most of the work-day and come in contact with few people in their off hours. And, many shippers and receivers are practicing ‘no-touch’ and ‘no leaving cab’ encounters.
Now the bad news.
Because drivers are statistically unhealthier than the average American – often suffering a compromised immune system from hypertension, diabetes, obesity and sleep apnea – they are more susceptible to poor outcomes if they do contract the virus.
Truckers have kept much of the economy afloat as large portions of the nation shelter in place to avoid spreading the coronavirus.
But those truckers have delivered badly needed food, household goods and medical supplies at risk to themselves. They have to fuel their vehicles. They need rest and food stops. They take loads and drop cargo off at docks. Every point of contact is a point of risk.
Commercial Truck Trader has compiled advice for ways truckers can stay safe on the road until the pandemic subsides.
NTEA —The Association for the Work Truck Industry has joined the National Auto Dealers Association, American Trucking Associations and more than 100 other state and local organizations urging Congress to suspend the 12% federal excise tax (FET) on heavy trucks and trailers through 2021 as they consider additional legislation to respond to the coronavirus pandemic and assist with U.S. economic recovery.
“Not knowing where drivers will find available parking at the end of each day continues to be a challenge and a stressor for truckers,” said Brian Heath, CEO of Drivewyze.