Friday, December 10, 2010

Virginia Hauling Permits: The Fine Print Could Cost You

            Recently, we have had two clients who both received overweight citations despite having valid Virginia hauling permits. Both motor carriers failed to carefully read the large amount of fine print attached to the permit and made mistakes which resulted in costs which could have been avoided.

            The first motor carrier failed to note that Virginia Hauling Permits only apply to state roads and do not allow a motor carrier to travel on roads owned by a county or other local municipality. The carrier was stopped two blocks from its destination because it failed to obtain a permit from the city of Portsmouth for the oversized and overweight farm machinery it was delivering.

            The second motor carrier was traveling on its designated route but failed to note the structure restrictions listed on the permit and allegedly crossed two bridges on I-66 without a proper escort. The carrier was stopped and received a citation from a Virginia State Trooper.

            Frequently, police officers will issue overweight and oversized citations to the driver and not to the motor carrier. Overweight and oversized violations are class one misdemeanors in Virginia which means that unless a compromise is worked out beforehand, the driver must appear on the hearing date. This places logistical and monetary costs on a motor carrier to route its driver back to Virginia for the hearing in addition to legal fees for the defense.

            I was able to successfully defend both motor carriers from the citations they received, but both tickets could have been avoided if the carriers had taken the time to read the permit carefully. If you are planning an oversized or overweight move in Virginia, please ensure you read the fine print on the Hauling Permit as well as the terms of the Virginia Hauling Permit Manual which can be found on the Virginia Department of Motor Vehicle’s website at:


If you have received an overweight or oversized citation in Virginia our firm has the experience needed to defend you, contact us today!

Sincerely,
Jeffrey E. Cox, Esq.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Vicarious Liability: Why The FMCSA Is The Ultimate Judge Of Highway Safety

Please see the following link for the article "Vicarious Liability: Why The FMCSA Is The Ultimate Judge Of Highway Safety " published in the Transportation Lawyers Association October 2010.

http://transportationlaw.net/articles/Vicarious%20Liability-TTL_October_2010.pdf

It is also available on our website at http://transportationlaw.net/articles.html

Yours truly,
Henry E. Seaton, Esq.

Monday, September 20, 2010

"Can An Unlicensed Broker Recover Commissions From A Motor Carrier?" By Ronald H. Usem, Esq.


Please see the following article titled "Can An Unlicensed Broker Recover Commissions From A Motor Carrier?"  by Ronald H. Usem, Esq. Huffman, Usem, Saboe, Crawford & Greenberg, PA The Logistics Journal, August 2010.

This article discusses the case litigated on appeal by Henry Seaton.

Monday, August 23, 2010

This Morning-Hank Seaton on XM 171 Discussing CSA 2010

Today from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. EST, Hank Seaton and Rick Gobbell will be featured on XM 171 - The Road Dog Show, speaking about "Safety and Common Sense - Why Second Guessing the FMCSA under CSA 2010 Should not be Required."

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Proposed Freight Broker Regulations

Please see below for FMCSA news transmitted from Rick Gobbell, our Transportation Safety Consultant.
Hank Seaton
 
HEADLINE: Senate Bill Targets Broker Fraud; Independent truckers, brokerage industry back bill raising bond requirement
 
Byline: Thomas Gallagher
 
A bipartisan Senate bill aimed at defending businesses from fraudulent freight brokering schemes is being backed by independent truckers and freight brokers.
 
The Motor Carrier Protection Act of 2010 would help the Department of Transportation crack down on fraud affecting both groups, industry officials said.
 
The law would prevent “bad brokers” from not paying truckers, said Todd Spencer, executive vice president of the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association.
 
It would also prevent carriers from brokering freight without the proper authority, said Robert Voltmann, president and CEO of the Transportation Intermediaries Association.
 
Significantly, the bill would raise the federally mandated broker bond from $10,000 to $100,000 and establish significant penalties for violations of broker regulations.
 
Sen. Olympia Snowe, R-Maine, and Sen. Amy Kobuchar, D-Minn., introduced the bill last week. TIA and OOIDA are working to get similar legislation in the House.
 
“This isn’t about re-regulating brokers and carriers, it’s about fighting creeps, about fighting fraud,” said Voltmann, who says brokerage scams are increasing.
 
Beyond raising the broker bond, the bill would establish strict guidelines for companies that provide brokers with surety bonds and on how they administer bonds.
 
Trucking companies would be required to have a broker or freight forwarder license and bond in addition to their motor carrier operating authority to broker freight.
 
Brokers and freight forwarders would have to renew their operating authority annually with the DOT’s Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration.
 
Revenue from operating authority fees would help FMCSA enforce the rules.
End.
 
6. DC Velocity (logistics publication); Wednesday, June 16, 2010
 
HEADLINE: Senate bill takes aim at alleged abuses by freight brokers; Measure would tighten government oversight over intermediaries, raise penalties for regulatory violations
 
Byline: Mark B. Solomon
 
Legislation was introduced in the Senate on June 15 to crack down on allegedly fraudulent behavior by truck brokers and other intermediaries against smaller trucking concerns, notably one-person owner-operators.
 
The bill, the Motor Carrier Protection Act of 2010, was introduced by Sens. Olympia J. Snowe (R-Maine) and Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.). The legislation would make it more expensive for brokers, freight forwarders, and other intermediaries to operate, and would deal harshly with third-parties engaging in illegal practices.
 
The bill increases the bond placed by brokers to $100,000 from $10,000 and for the first time, imposes bonding requirements on freight forwarders. The legislation also sets stricter government requirements for entities seeking broker and forwarder authority, and levies tough penalties—such as unlimited liability for freight charges—for such violations as conducting brokerage activities without a bond or license.
 
In addition, brokers and forwarders would be required to renew their operating authority on an annual basis and would lose their authority if they failed to do so. The bill also sets strict regulations on bond companies and the way bonds are administered. It also requires truckers to have a brokers or forwarders license or bond before they can tender freight to another carrier for compensation. In a statement, the senators said the bill provides smaller trucking firms with the tools to retaliate against corrupt practices by brokers. Currently, these companies have little or no legal recourse to fraudulent actions by intermediaries, the lawmakers said.
 
"All too often, motor vehicle operators fall victim to the deceitful behavior of fly-by-night brokers and freight forwarders who engage in preposterous criminal activities, such as financial fraud," said Sen. Snowe, a member of the Subcommittee on Surface Transportation and Merchant Marine Infrastructure, Safety, and Security, which has jurisdiction over the legislation.
 
"Many truckers are small, independent businesses that fraudulent freight forwarders and corrupt brokers too often easily prey upon," said Sen. Klobuchar. "This legislation ensures trucking operators have the tools and protections necessary to prevent fraud, and also modernizes and strengthens federal oversight of this industry."
 
Perhaps the biggest problem for smaller truckers is not getting paid in a timely manner for freight they receive from brokers, or in some cases not being paid at all. Over the last five years, about one-quarter of all owner-operators have had trouble collecting payments from brokers or other intermediaries, according to a survey by the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association (OOIDA), the trade group representing owner-operators.
 
"People grossly misrepresent [themselves], and sometimes they are selling nothing but hot air. We all pay a price for that. Truckers pay up front, and it has cost too many their livelihoods and their businesses," said Todd Spencer, executive vice president of OOIDA.
 
Officials of the Transportation Intermediaries Association, which represents many of the nation's intermediaries, were unavailable for comment at press time.
 
End.
 
7. eTrucker.com; Wednesday, June 16, 2010
 
HEADLINE: Bill would increase broker scrutiny
 
Byline: Jill Dunn
 
Sen. Olympia Snowe has introduced a bill that would strengthen regulatory oversight of brokers and freight forwarders.
 
On June 14, the Maine Republican introduced S. 3483, the Motor Carrier Protection Act of 2010, which was referred to the Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation with one co-sponsor.
 
The Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association and the Transportation Intermediaries Association contributed to the bill. When introducing the bill, Snowe said little federal oversight is currently provided, other than requiring brokers to pay a $10,000 bond.
 
“According to trucking experts, a broker can rake in revenues far in excess of that $10,000 upfront payment in less than a month, allowing them to disappear in the night, losing their bond but more than making up for it in revenues stolen from hard-working truck operators who are left with nothing to show for their delivery, and no way to recoup those losses,” she said.
 
One group operated 12 freight broker companies over a three-year period in Georgia, defrauding truckers and evading law enforcement by continually changing business names and locations. The bill increases bond to $100,000 and applies the bonding requirement to freight forwarders.
 
The bill also:
 
• Ups requirements for entities seeking broker/forwarder authority.
• Establishes strict penalties for violations, including unlimited liability for freight charges for brokerage activities without a license or bond.
• Authorizes private damages remedies against companies that violate Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration regulations.
• Implements an annual registration requirement to renew broker/forwarder operating authority and generate revenue for FMCSA enforcement.
• Establishes strict regulations on bond providers and how bonds are administered.
• Requires separate registration numbers per authority and whatever authority used in a transaction must be in writing.
 
End.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Increased Regulations Proposed for Carriers Forwarders and Brokers

A recent Senate Bill (June 14, 2010) sponsored by Senators Snowe and Klobuchar, S. 3483, which has been referred to the Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation proposes major new regulatory provisions including:
  1. An annual registration fee
  2. New distinctive registration numbers for motor carriers, forwarders, and brokers
  3. New eligibility entry requirements for forwarders and brokers including demonstration of qualified experience and character
  4. New financial security measures for brokers and freight forwarders to pay claims in the amount of $100,000
  5. Penalties for unlawful brokerage activities.
See proposed bill below.

John Husk

Monday, May 17, 2010

FREE Seminars: Wed., June 23, 2010 - Charlotteville, VA

CLICK HERE TO RSVP ONLINE!


Please RSVP to info@transportationlaw.net to attend in person Two FREE Seminars in Charlottesville, Virginia!

June 23, 2010
RECENT DEVELOPMENTS IN THE TRANSPORTATION INDUSTRY
8:00AM 12:15PM
Seaton & Husk L.P., Kalbaugh, Pfund, & Messersmith P.C., Great West Casualty Co. and its Agency Partners Cordially invite you to attend this free seminar.
Topics: CSA 2010,The Employee Free Choice Act,Carmack, COGSA, & Contract Issues, Trends in Catastrophic Losses 
- Please click here to view the full agenda and invitation.

PROTECTING YOUR BOTTOM LINE: A Presentation of Important Issues and Solutions for Motor Carriers and Brokers In Today's Uncertain Transportation Climate 

12:30PM – 2:30PM
 Please join Seaton & Husk, LP for a free afternoon session. 
    - "Carrier's Rights as Creditors in Bankruptcy," by John T. Husk, Esq. 
    - "Avoiding the Dirty Dozen in Freight Contracts, " by Henry E. Seaton, Esq.
    - Please click here to view the invitation and description.


LOCATION
Holiday Inn Monticello
*1200 5TH Street Southwest  (Please note this revised street number)
Charlottesville, VA
(434) 977-5100 
Click here to view and print both invitations.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

CCPAC Newsletter: 2010 SPECIAL SPRING CONFERENCE EDITION

Please see the link below to view the CCPAC 2010 Special Spring Conference Edition newsletter which includes Henry E. Seaton, Esq.'s article "FMCSA Sends Elimination Of Cargo Filing Rule To President For Okay" on page 1.

2010 SPECIAL SPRING CONFERENCE EDITION
ProClaim is the official newsletter of freight claim professionals worldwide.
An exclusive publication and all copy rights reserved by CCPAC
.

Friday, May 7, 2010

Congress to Scrutinize Harbor Truck Leasing; DeFazio calls for investigation of alleged owner-operator scams by motor carriers


Please see below for news transmitted to us by Rick Gobbell, our transportation safety consultant.
John T. Husk, Esq.


HEADLINE: Congress to Scrutinize Harbor Truck Leasing; DeFazio calls for investigation of alleged owner-operator scams by motor carriers
Byline: William B. Cassidy
A key House Democrat called for an investigation into motor carrier leasing practices in the harbor trucking industry to root out alleged abuses of drayage owner-operators.
Rep. Peter DeFazio, D-Ore., called for an investigation after allegations that some drayage motor carriers were imposing leases on owner-operators that in effect rendered them employees or failing to pass on equipment subsidies to owner-operators.
“We’ve seen an explosion in scam lease purchase agreements,” Joe Rajkovacz, director of regulatory affairs for the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association, said at a hearing on the clean truck programs at the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach.
Many drayage carriers “give lip service” to federal regulations requiring written contracts with owner-operators specifying compensation, insurance requirements and any charges the company may assess, he said. “It is sharecropping or involuntary servitude.”
“We need to look further into this, to look at whether these leases are sham leases or not,” said DeFazio, chairman of the House Subcommittee on Highways and Transit, which held the May 5 hearing into the impact of the Los Angeles and Long Beach plans.
DeFazio questioned whether carriers that received subsidies from the Port of Los Angeles to buy clean trucks passed those subsidies on to owner-operators leasing the equipment.
“Is the owner-operator getting a discounted price for the clean truck?” he asked John Holmes, deputy executive director of the Port of Los Angeles. “Have you required they discount the price if they are using owner-operators?”
“The short answer is no, sir,” Holmes said, explaining that the port provides truck subsidies only to carrier and “we would like to think” they pass it through to drivers.
“Like to think?” said DeFazio. “I hope you’re going to hang around for subsequent testimony because I think that’s a kind of Pollyannish view of the world here.”
He called for a joint investigation into truck leasing by the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee and the House Committee on Education and Labor.
Complaining of “disturbing and contradictory testimony,” DeFazio said, “We may be using our subpoena power to better understand these leases if we can’t get cooperation.”
OOIDA’s Rajkovacz said what owner-operators need is better enforcement of existing federal regulations. “For them to be a vibrant part of the marketplace, federal regulations to protect them from unscrupulous practices by motor carriers need to be enforced.”
End.

Monday, May 3, 2010

Video from Henry Seaton and Big Truck TV: The Carmack Amendment vs Contract Law

A new video from Henry Seaton and Big Truck TV is now available. 

 The Carmack Amendment vs Contract Law (4:18)
The Carmack Amendment vs Contract Law

Henry E. Seaton, Esq. / Big Truck TV
The Carmack Amendment was put in place to bring order to cargo claims. It stated that the carrier was liable to the goods, but the carrier also had the right to mitigate those losses as much as possible. But that was 100 years ago. Since then, many shippers have used contracts to undermine the spirit of the Carmack Amendment. Henry Seaton discusses what he calls the Reject it, Crush it, Dump it approach many shippers take and what carriers can - and should - do about it.

For more webinars and videos, please visit our site below:

KRS Chapter 281 Motor Carrier Transportation Contracts

Please see below from the Law Offices of John L. Alden.

John T. Husk, Esq.
Seaton & Husk, LP

Please click on the link below for the new Kentucky law dealing with motor carriers and "Promisee."

Monday, April 26, 2010

More Negative IC Bills Introduced Into Congress


Yesterday, Senator Sherrod Brown (D-OH) introduced S3254 and Representative Lynn Woolsey (D-CA) introduced HR5107 which aim to crack down on the use of independent contractors. The legislation text for Brown's bill is not yet available online but Woolsey's legislation is available here. A press release from Brown's office is available here as well.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

CSA 2010 Data Preview Now Available for Motor Carriers

April 12, 2010 - CSA 2010 Data Preview Now Available for Motor Carriers!

 
FMCSA is pleased to announce the Comprehensive Safety Analysis (CSA) 2010 Data Preview, which will allow individual motor carriers to review their safety performance data by the CSA 2010 Behavior Analysis and Safety Improvement Categories (BASICs). The Data Preview begins on April 12, 2010 and ends on November 30, 2010, the national launch date for the CSA 2010 safety enforcement program.  

During the data preview period, motor carriers are encouraged to closely examine their performance data and immediately address any safety problems.  This is also an opportunity for motor carriers to update and verify their safety performance data online.

This important step is designed to focus motor carriers on identifying and addressing unsafe behaviors that can lead to crash risk. It also underscores FMCSA’s commitment to data integrity and the motor carrier industry’s responsibility for ensuring commercial vehicle safety.

Complete details on the Data Preview and the CSA 2010 implementation schedule are published in the Federal Register. The CSA 2010 implementation schedule supports the critical importance of incorporating the findings from over 30 months of operational model testing in nine CSA 2010 pilot states.
 

 https://csa2010.fmcsa.dot.gov/

Monday, April 5, 2010

FMCSA may delay full CSA 2010 implementation

FMCSA may delay full CSA 2010 implementation
Posted By CCJ Staff On April 2, 2010 @ 8:25 am In CCJ Daily Newsletter, Feature in Slideshow, Headline Links, Industry News, News, Newsletters | No Comments
CSA 
2010
Full implementation of Comprehensive Safety Analysis 2010 will be delayed to 2011, the American Trucking Associations said Thursday, April 1. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s original plan was to begin implementing the program in July 2010 and to have all states fully functional by December of this year. ATA says it now appears that although certain phases of CSA 2010 will begin this fall, full implementation will not be completed until spring 2011 or perhaps summer 2011.

FMCSA spokesperson Candice Tolliver says that as part of the agency’s commitment to launch a comprehensive and effective CSA 2010 program, FMCSA is in the process of incorporating the feedback received from partners and stakeholders in the CSA 2010 pilot states. Tolliver says FMCSA expects to issue a Federal Register notice in the coming weeks that will address the CSA 2010 implementation timeline and data preview for commercial motor carriers.

ATA says that as announced on its free member webinar on CSA 2010 earlier this week, FMCSA plans to provide motor carriers with a limited preview of their CSA 2010 data beginning on April 12. ATA says it will provide members with instructions on how to access their data as soon as these details become available; while this preview will include carriers’ safety events (roadside inspections and crashes) and resulting violations, it will not reflect carriers’ scores in each of the Behavioral Analysis and Safety Improvement Categories (BASICs).

FMCSA also announced that beginning Nov. 30, motor carriers and the general public will be able to view more complete CSA 2010 Carrier Safety Measurement System (CSMS) data, including scores in each of the BASICs, according to ATA; however, as previously indicated, the public will not be able to view the Crash Indicator scores because of concerns about the quality of the underlying crash data.

ATA also says that FMCSA on Nov. 30 will begin issuing warning letters to deficient carriers, but will not utilize the full range of CSA 2010 interventions; instead, FMCSA will use the CSMS (instead of Safestat) to prioritize motor carriers for standard onsite compliance reviews.

Article printed from Commercial Carrier Journal: http://www.ccjdigital.com

Monday, March 29, 2010

With healthcare behind them, politicians eye Independent Contractors

March 24, 2010
Dear Independent Contractor,
With the healthcare bill passed, Washington politicians will be gearing up to focus their attention elsewhere, including legislation that threatens the way millions of Americans make a living and support their families: independent contracting. Proposed federal legislation includes a complex set of new rules defining who is allowed to be an IC – more complex rules with threatened heavy penalties to deter companies from hiring ICs.
As highlighted in a recent San Jose Mercury News article, politicians continue to either miss or ignore important facts about our healing economy – particularly in Silicon Valley and other tech centers where thousands of highly-skilled ICs work in the technology sector. In an area – and industry – hit especially hard by the recession, why would our lawmakers want to do something to hamper growth and recovery? The answer is simple: hidden agendas and budget deficits.
The proposed legislation – sponsored by Sen. John Kerry, D-Mass., and Rep. Jim McDermott, D-Wash. – would give the IRS more power to go after employers. Additionally, it would increase fines tenfold, meaning some fines would end up being $1 million. Startling, isn’t it?
Many politicians either refuse to see or ignore the fact that ICs are part of the solution – able to speed up economic recovery and allow businesses of all sizes to survive in today’s economic climate.
Some experts now fear a startling trend — U.S. small businesses becoming hesitant to hire ICs for fear of steep fines and confusing classification issues.
Those of us who are independent contractors – or who hire them – must act now, before it’s too late. After all, every day we’re a little closer to new laws that could do irreversible damage.
If you’re an IC – or a company that relies on them – visit www.cficf.org to voice your opinion about proposed legislation that threatens your livelihood. And as another reminder, look for continuing updates and news at www.twitter.com/IndContractors.
Sincerely,
David Dunnigan
Executive Director
Coalition for Independent Contractor Freedom

NJ Court finds Owner-Operator to be Employee for Worker's Compensation Purposes


WORKERS' COMPENSATION — SCOPE OF EMPLOYMENT
39-2-7290 Chaverri v. Cace Trucking Incorporated
, App. Div. (per curiam) (8 pp.) This appeal concerns whether an injury of petitioner, Guillermo Chaverri, occurred during the scope of his employment with respondent, Cace Trucking Incorporated. Chaverri was the owner and driver of a tractor trailer. He entered into a written lease agreement with Cace whereby Chaverri agreed to use his tractor trailer to perform hauling services exclusively for Cace. Chaverri further agreed to maintain, register and insure the tractor trailer at his own expense. Chaverri was performing maintenance on the tractor portion of the vehicle at his residence when he injured his right eye, causing him to lose the sight in that eye. The appellate panel concludes as a matter of law that the injury occurred during the scope of Chaverri's employment with Cace and consequently reverses the contrary ruling of the compensation judge.”

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

CCJ: White House clears EOBR rule


Posted By Avery Vise On March 22, 2010 @ 5:04 am In CCJ Daily - IMG, CCJ Daily Newsletter, Feature in Slideshow, Headline News, Industry News, News, Newsletters | No Comments


NoDriverLogs

A final rule mandating electronic onboard recorders for carriers that have a history of serious noncompliance with hours-of-service rules could be just days away now that the White House Office of Management and Budget has cleared the measure. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration is expected soon to publish the rule in the Federal Register. Details of the final rule won’t be public until FMCSA announces it. According to OMB’s website, the White House insisted on at least some changes to the rule that was submitted by the U.S. Department of Transportation.

As proposed in January 2007, the regulation also would incorporate new performance standards for EOBRs installed in commercial motor vehicles manufactured two years after the rule’s effective date. Onboard HOS recording devices meeting FMCSA’s current requirements and voluntarily installed in CMVs manufactured before that date could continue to be used for the remainder of the service life of those CMVs. FMCSA had proposed to encourage industrywide use of EOBRs by providing certain relief from audit and recordkeeping practices.

FMCSA completed work on the rule during the Bush administration, but the White House failed to clear it before President Obama was inaugurated. A governmentwide review of pending rulemakings delayed the regulation, but DOT sent a final rule to the White House in December.

The EOBR issue isn’t settled once FMCSA publishes this rule, however. The agency has said it will consider further expanding the number of motor carriers required to install EOBRs as part of a rulemaking that also will address supporting documents for HOS compliance. FMCSA says it will consider reducing or eliminating paperwork burdens associated with supporting documents in favor of expanded EOBR use.

According to a monthly DOT report, FMCSA now plans to complete work on the EOBR/supporting documents proposal in July with publication in December. Meanwhile, the American Trucking Associations has sued FMCSA to move forward with a supporting documents rule. One of the major concerns is the agency’s decision in December 2008 to begin using satellite positioning data routinely in audits of driver logs. ATA argues that motor carriers’ obligations for maintaining supporting documents should be clear and established by regulation.

Regulatory action on EOBRs comes as safety advocates and many in Congress are calling on mandatory EOBRs industrywide. For example, Rep. James Oberstar, chairman of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, proposed a highway authorization bill last year that would mandate use of EOBRs in all CMVs subject to HOS rules.

Article printed from Commercial Carrier Journal: http://www.ccjdigital.com

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Video from Henry Seaton and Big Truck TV

A new video from Henry Seaton and Big Truck TV is now available.  
Unlike Wine, Cargo Claims Don't Get Better With Age (4:51)
Henry E. Seaton, Esq. / Big Truck TV

When it comes to fighting cargo claims, time is not on the carrier's side.  Henry Seaton believes a carrier has less than 24 hours to get their on-hand notice filed to have a chance at challenging or mitigating a cargo claim, so speed is of the essence.  Seaton offers valuable advice on how carriers should approach their claim to maximize their chance of a successful challenge.
More webinars and videos are available on our website at http://transportationlaw.net/webinars.html.

Friday, March 5, 2010

IMPORTANT DOT Updates


The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) announced today regulatory guidance addressing the states’ collection of fees under the Unified Carrier Registration (UCR) Plan and Agreement authorized by SAFETEA-LU.  Under the regulatory guidance, states participating in the UCR Plan and Agreement can continue to collect fees from for-hire and private motor carriers, brokers, freight forwarders and leasing companies using the 2009 fee schedule pending the issuance of a new UCR rule.  Currently, 41 states participate in the UCR Plan and Agreement, and use the revenue to fund motor carrier safety and enforcement activities including roadside safety inspections, compliance reviews and safety audits for new truck and bus companies entering the industry.  
The FMCSA published a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) for a new UCR Plan and Agreement rule on September 3, 2009. The regulatory guidance is on public display in the Federal Register March 1 and will appear in print in the Federal Register on March 2.
What does this mean?  The UCR Board was expecting actual fee brackets (not a continuation of 2009 until 2010 is established) so there will probably be a telephonic conference call to determine the next step.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

PSP and CSA 2010 Items


This maybe helpful research on CSA2010-driver records.

Hank Seaton

-----------------------------------

The Pre-employment Screening Program (PSP) that has been talked about in CSA2010 circles is becoming a reality. Enrollment in this program is now available. To obtain further information on PSP and to enroll, click here http://www.psp.fmcsa.dot.gov/Pages/default.aspx 

To stay current with CSA2010, go to http://csa2010.fmcsa.dot.gov/ 

Click below for the documents: 
PSP_-_TrudkingInfo_FEB24_2010.pdf
PSP_-_Automotive_Fleet_FEB24_2010.pdf

Monday, March 1, 2010

FMCSA is Not at Work Today/Where is the Stimulus?

Please see below.
Hank Seaton

Oberstar: Federal highway funding in jeopardy

Published March, 01 2010
Highway
The U.S. Senate’s failure to overcome the objections of a single Republican senator meant funding for federal highway, transit and highway safety programs was set to run out at midnight Sunday, Feb. 28, Congressman Jim Oberstar said Friday, Feb. 26.
Oberstar – who is chairman of the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure – said the expiration also may force employee layoffs at the U.S. Department of Transportation, including the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, Federal Highway Administration, National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and the Research and Innovative Technology Administration.
The current surface transportation authorization act – the Safe, Accountable, Flexible, Efficient, Transportation Equity Act: A Legacy for Users (SAFETEA-LU) – was due to expire Sept. 30, 2009, but has been kept alive by a series of extensions while Congress considers a replacement authorization bill. The latest extension expired Sunday, Feb. 28.
“I find it outrageous that one senator can kill a piece of legislation and cause chaos for our cities and states,” said Oberstar, referring to Sen. James Bunning (R-Ky.). The Senate adjourned Friday, Feb. 26, without approving cash and health insurance benefit extensions for the unemployed after Bunning insisted that Congress first pay for the $10 billion package. The highway funding is part of the jobs bill.
“There are going to be other bills brought to this floor that are not going to be paid for, and I’m going to object every time they do it,” Bunning said on the Senate floor. “… At the present level of debt and if the present administration’s budget is passed, the debt of the United States will be unsustainable. ‘Unsustainable’ to me means that there is a chance of one of the rating agencies downgrading the rating on our debt. We cannot allow that to happen.”
A different bill pending in the House would extend SAFETEA-LU through the end of 2010; that bill may come up for a vote as early as Tuesday, March 2, and it is possible that the employees would not be furloughed if there is assurance that enactment of a funding bill is imminent.
In the meantime, states may have to suspend work on some road and bridge projects while they wait for their reimbursement payments from the federal government.
DOT said that it will furlough nearly 2,000 employees without pay starting today, March 1, temporarily shutting down highway reimbursements to states worth hundreds of millions of dollars, national anti-drunk driving efforts and multimillion dollar construction projects across the country.
“As American families are struggling in tough economic times, I am keenly disappointed that political games are putting a stop to important construction projects around the country,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood. “This means that construction workers will be sent home from jobsites because federal inspectors must be furloughed.”
NHTSA said the furloughs will disrupt safety programs that operate in partnership with the states and advocacy groups, such as Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) and the International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP).
Assistance to consumers whose goods are held hostage by rogue moving companies will be unavailable during this period. And work addressing texting while driving for commercial truck and bus drivers, electronic onboard recorders and hours of service also will be suspended.
The American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials said the federal reimbursements of funds already expended by the states amount to roughly $800 million a week; FTA, NHTSA and FMCSA also would suspend payments, according to AASHTO.
“We are deeply concerned about the severe impacts to state and local transportation programs of this disruption of the federal highway and transit programs,” said John Horsley, AASHTO executive director. “We commend Chairman Oberstar, (House) Speaker (Nancy) Pelosi, and (Senate) Majority Leader (Harry) Reid for reaching an agreement that will enable the House to pass the Senate version of an extension of the highway and transit programs, with the understanding that a later legislative fix will revise how highway discretionary funds are to be distributed. We hope Congress can move this legislation as early in the week as possible so reimbursements to the states can resume.”

Article printed from Commercial Carrier Journal: http://www.ccjdigital.com
URL to article: http://www.ccjdigital.com/oberstar-federal-highway-funding-will-run-out-at-midnight-sunday/
Reprinted from CCJ Digital.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Swift Class Action



The attached is a class action brought against Swift Transportation for alleged violations of the Fair Labor Standards Act.  Plaintiff’s issue seems to be Swift’s “lease-to-own” program with owner-operators which involves its affiliate leasing company.


Plaintiffs argue that under the program the owner-operator is forced to stay with Swift in a virtual employee relationship and is hounded for truck payments if he leaves or is terminated.  The Complaint totally ignores the effect of the truth-in-leasing regulations with respect to the control imposed on leased equipment under the regulations and the court decisions in van line cases approving such lease-to-own programs. See North American Van Lines, Inc. v. NLRB, 869 F.2d 596 (D.C. Cir. 1989).