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Small Business in Transportation Coalition petition seeks to defund FMCSA

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Small business in transportation coalition petition seeks to defund fmcsa
The Small Business in Transportation Coalition says the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration has knowingly and recklessly delaying essential motor carrier safety enforcement funds to states for three years in a row in violation of federal law. (Courtesy: FEDERAL MOTOR CARRIER SAFETY ADMINISTRATION)

WASHINGTON — Fresh off his effort to petition the White House to suspend the electronic logging device (ELD) mandate, Small Business in Transportation Coalition Executive Director James Lamb has turned his attention to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, initiating a petition drive to defund the agency that regulates the commercial motor vehicle industry.

In a letter to Congressional leaders lambasted the agency, Lamb claimed it was knowingly and recklessly delaying essential motor carrier safety enforcement funds to states for three years in a row in violation of federal law.

State supported commercial vehicle law enforcement agencies are funded in part by federal funds allocated by the FMCSA.

In the letter, Lamb wrote the FMCSA was failing to “faithfully execute its mandate, dereliction of duty, negligent and reckless disregard for public safety, failure to abide by Congressional directives, failure to reduce large truck fatalities, general incompetence, repeated violations of federal law and political corruption.

“We cannot fathom how or why the FMCSA would think it is OK to knowingly deprive the states of safety funds critical to achieving motor carrier safety,” Lamb said in the letter. “We note the FMCSA has known — or should have known — since 2007 that such prolonged delays have a devasting (sic) impact on the ability of states to improve motor carrier safety. It appears these bureaucrats simply do not care.”

Lamb also suggested the agency has failed in its mission to improve motor carrier safety at the federal level, citing the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration report that said despite a general increase in highway fatalities, large truck fatalities increased.

NHTSA defines a large truck as a truck with a gross vehicle weight rating of 10,001 pounds or more.

“This is on top of an increase of at least 4.9% in large truck fatalities in 2017, the year the ELD mandate went into effect,” Lamb wrote. “We note that the Department of Transportation reported that truck fatalities for 2017 had increased 9% and that the department has now removed from this statistic some pick-up trucks from the large truck category, which, when combined with a trailer, still constitute commercial motor vehicles over 10,000 pounds calling into question whether they are trying to skew the results to achieve a lower increase in fatality percentage. In any event, this is now a 30-year high. Large truck occupants have not died at this rate since 1988. This is abysmal and the Secretary should not be applauding this failure.”

“The petition we ran during the holidays to defund the agency received 1,700 signatures,” Lamb told The Trucker. “We also ran a straw poll thereafter that shows over 90% of respondents agree with the SBTC’s campaign to defund. We are engaging Congressional staffers. Our lobbyist advises he is seeing signs of support among fiscal conservatives.”

A spokesman for the FMCSA said the agency would have no comment on Lamb’s initiative.

Late last year Lamb spent several weeks gathering signatures for his ELD suspension campaign.

He said he hoped to get 100,000 signatures on a petition he was planning to send to President Donald J. Trump. In late November, Lamb said he had gathered 32,000 signatures.

“We continue to discuss suspending ELDs with Congressional staffers,” Lamb said. “We have run into some political opposition getting the bill sponsored in the Senate. We are waiting to assess the impact of the transition to ELDs to determine if we can state we were correct about disruptions and effects on capacity. That may not come until the end of the first quarter.

Lamb noted the impeachment debate took over center stage over the past 30 days and now there is the situation in Iran.

“As trucking media cover the story of our reasons for calling for the defunding the agency, we believe we will build more momentum,” he said. “Failure to facilitate 2020 motor carrier safety funds to the states in accordance with the 90-day UCR rulemaking statute for three years straight along with failure to improve safety generally are the central reasons for defunding and moving toward an independent regulatory commission.”

The SBTC website says the organization has 15,000 members.

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1 Comment

1 Comment

  1. Greg Rowlison

    January 9, 2020 at 3:34 am

    For one if drivers was running legal on paper when they switched to eld they should actually have more time and for the wrecks I would say that maybe drivers should actually plan their trips better I am a 20+ year driver and I am safer now driving then I was back then if drivers would actually start doing what they should have from the start and if companies would also realize that the old days are gone and embrace the law now the crash % will go down yes I wish it was still the old way but I embraced the new way and I actually make more money and get more rest thanks for reading my comment feel free to contact me

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Minnesota Trucking Association names Scott Post as 2019 driver of the year

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Minnesota trucking association names 2019 driver of the year
Scott Post, a contract truck driver for FedEx Ground, has been selected as the Minnesota Driver of the Year by the Minnesota Trucking Association. Post has been driving a truck for 41 years and has more than 2.5 million safe miles. (Courtesy: Minnesota Trucking Association)

MINNEAPOLIS, Minn. — The Minnesota Trucking Association named Maplewood, Minnesota resident, Scott Post, a professional truck driver contracted for FedEx Ground in St. Paul, Minnesota, as the 2019 Minnesota Driver of the.

“This award is a great way to honor the best in our industry. Driving safe is no easy task, especially when you take into consideration his daily driving conditions like congestion, driver distractions and Minnesota winters. Having 2.5 million safe driving miles is an outstanding accomplishment,” said John Hausladen, MTA president. “We’re proud to award Scott for this achievement.”

Post is employed by Spartan Logistics in Newport, Minnesota which is a contracted service provider for FedEx Ground. FedEx Ground provides 1-5-day delivery of small packages to all 50 states, plus Canada. Scott has been driving a truck for 41 years and has driven more than 2.5 million safe miles.

“Scott Post is one of the safest, most attentive, detail-oriented drivers I’ve ever had,” said Randy Kurek, Owner of Spartan Logistics. “He’s always ready to learn and at the same time, is a sponge for industry knowledge. He lives and breathes trucking.”  In addition to being an outstanding professional truck driver, Post is involved with many community organizations, including Operation Lifesaver, the World’s Largest Truck Convoy for Special Olympics and the Minnesota Trucking Association’s Trucks for Toys program.

Throughout 2019, drivers are nominated by their companies and one driver is chosen each month to be the Driver of the Month. The drivers who are chosen meet a high standard of requirements including an outstanding driving and work record; contribution to industry and highway safety; and involvement in the community.

In January, MTA hosts the Driver of the Year Banquet and one of the twelve nominees is selected as Driver of the Year by a panel of judges including Matthew Marin, division administrator for Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration; Deb Ledvina, director of commercial vehicle operations at MnDOT; and Captain Jon Olsen, Minnesota State Patrol.

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Transportation Secretary calls on industry to ‘Put the Brakes on Human Trafficking’

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trucks on highway
The Department of Transportation wants to train the transportation workforce, including professional truck drivers, on the issue of human trafficking. The DOT anticipates over 1 million employees across all modes of transportation will be trained because of this program. (iStock.com/WendellandCarolyn)

WASHINGTON — U.S. Transportation Secretary Elaine L. Chao has announced a series of efforts to combat human trafficking in the transportation sector. Secretary Chao was joined by leaders from Congress, state governments and the transportation industry responding to this call to action.

“The U.S. Department of Transportation is committed to working with our public and private partners to fight human trafficking on America’s transportation system,” Chao said.

Among the initiatives announced by Secretary Chao is a renewed focus on the “Transportation Leaders Against Human Trafficking” pledge to train the transportation workforce and raise public awareness on the issue of human trafficking across all modes of transportation.  Secretary Chao is challenging the transportation industry to commit to “100 Pledges in 100 Days.” The Department anticipates over 1 million employees across all modes of transportation will be trained because of this initiative.

Human trafficking is modern-day slavery, affecting millions of adults and children in the United States and worldwide. Victims are of every age, race, gender, background, citizenship, and immigration status. Some are trafficked within their own communities on various forms of transportation, while others are transported to new locations.

To amplify counter-trafficking efforts, Secretary Chao established an annual $50,000 award to incentivize individuals and entities, including non-governmental organizations, transportation industry associations, research institutions, and state and local government organizations, to think creatively in developing innovative solutions to combat human trafficking in the transportation industry. The Department will review applications and determine the individual or entity that will most effectively utilize these funds to combat human trafficking.

Secretary Chao also announced $5.4 million in grant selections through the Federal Transit Administration’s (FTA) Human Trafficking Awareness and Public Safety Initiative. Twenty-four organizations across the country will each receive funding for projects to help prevent human trafficking and other crimes on public transportation. A list of the selected projects is available online.

To support the Department’s counter-trafficking efforts, the DOT Advisory Committee on Human Trafficking completed a report in July 2019 that recommends actions the Department can take to help combat human trafficking and best practices for states and local transportation stakeholders.

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Former NASCAR driver and Talladega’s iconic trucker John Ray dies at 82

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Former nascar driver and talladega superspeedway’s iconic trucker john ray dies at 82
John Ray whose diesel big rig sporting the giant American flag became iconic during the track’s national anthem performances, has died. (Courtesy: Talladega Superspeedway)

TALLADEGA, Ala. —John Ray, whose big rig sporting a giant American flag became iconic during Talladega Superspeedway’s national anthem performances, has died, according to a news release. The former NASCAR driver was 82 years old.

Since 2001, Ray had driven his gold, brown and chrome Peterbilt with a large American flag down the Talladega frontstretch prior to the start of races.

“National anthems at Talladega Superspeedway are the most iconic, and it’s because of our great friend John Ray,” said Speedway President Brian Crichton. “What he brought to our fans can’t be duplicated. He was an incredible, passionate man who supported the track and all of motorsports with everything he had. His spirit will live here forever. Our thoughts and prayers are with the Ray family.”

For more than 40 years, Ray was a member of the White Flag Club, a dedicated service group of local businessmen from surrounding communities that assist during race weekends.

In 2001, after the 9/11 terror attacks and the tragic passing of his longtime friend Dale Earnhardt Sr., Ray, along with then Talladega Superspeedway Track Chairman Grant Lynch, looked to boost the morale of a country, and a fan base that had gone through tough times.

“I had a crazy idea to run my rig out on the track with an American flag attached to the back,” said Ray, who lived down the street from the track in Eastaboga, three years ago. “It started off as a tribute to the country and to Dale.

“I never thought it would become the heart-felt moment that it has over the past some-odd years, but I’m glad it has become a tradition that means so much to the fans and the Talladega family. It represents such a sense of pride that we all share together as a nation and as a community. It is my honor and privilege to do it,” added Ray, who eventually gave up the driving duties of his big rig and handed them off to his late friend Roger Haynes, and last year to his son Johnny.

That wasn’t Ray’s first time at the 2.66-mile track. Ray, who owned “John Ray Trucking Company” since the early 70s, actually set the world speed record for a semi-truck and trailer around the mammoth track at 92.083 mph in 1975 — in a powerful Kenworth.

“We were testing brakes for a company out at the track,” Ray said. “One thing led to another — and there I was truck, trailer, and all — making my way around the track, trying to set a speed record. It was something else.”

Ray drove in the NASCAR Cup Series from 1974-1976. He competed in eight races, four at Talladega (where his best career finish was 22nd in 1974), but an accident at Daytona in 1976 ended his driving career. He continued as a car owner and essentially gave one of the sport’s greatest legends one of his first opportunities: 10-time Talladega winner Earnhardt. It would be Earnhardt’s third career start.

To read the full release, visit Talladega Superspeedway’s website.

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