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April 2016

Posted By Kelly Snyder, Friday, April 1, 2016
Updated: Tuesday, November 1, 2016

Are We Really Deregulated? – In a “deregulated” industry, it is amazing how much time and energy we spend discussing trucking regulations.  Federal safety regulations, such as hours of service or safety ratings, garner the lion’s share of our attention. Equally important but less visible is the role the STATE plays regarding driver and vehicle regulations. 

States Control Credentials – Under our federal system, driver and vehicle credentialing is a state function.  While states work cooperatively to create uniformity, like the International Fuel Tax Agreement, they retain the right to issue the credential and manage the process.  It is in the managing of the process where things can and do break down.

DVS Makes it Happen – As the name describes, the Driver and Vehicle Services Division of the Minnesota Department of Public Safety handles those critical credentialing function for all cars, trucks and their drivers.  Of all the member requests we receive for assistance, most involve this agency.  It is not because the agency is doing such a bad job. On the contrary, the agency generally receives good marks from our members.  However, when a problem does arise it can stop everything dead in tracks.

All Good Deeds – In response to voter experiences with the agency, the legislature frequently passes legislation in an attempt to improve how DVS serves the citizens. However, even good intentions by the legislature can have unintended consequences for the trucking industry.  One case in point is regarding road tests.  2015 was the first year DVS implemented a legislative mandate requiring the agency to offer all Class D road tests within two weeks.  The demand for such tests soar in the summer, especially in the metro.  Such demand can and does displace CDL slots.

Feedback Sought - DVS is high on customer service and wants to hear from the trucking industry.  In that spirit, please consider these questions and send your feedback to mta@mntruck.org

• Are you having issues securing commercial drivers’ license road test times?  If so, at which locations?  And, are these issues intermittent/seasonal, or year round?

• Do you have an issue with the quality of trailer license plates?  If so, describe the problem and measures you have taken to try and address it.

• What is your overall experience with the Pro-rate office?

We will collect the answers and forward them on –without names - to DPS for their review.  Not only will this help DVS, but it will allow us to sharpen our advocacy on your behalf. We all share the goal of making state government work the best it can for you.

Speaking of HOS – This month fourteen members will travel to Washington, DC.  A key objective is to lobby our congressional delegation to retain the critical 34-hour restart provision for our members.  We simply cannot lose this operational flexibility, a function that only enhances safety. Those who oppose us are playing a very dangerous came with not only our industry, but the entire economy.  I can guarantee you we will forcefully deliver that message.  Look for our report in next month’s Trucking Minnesota.

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