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February 2017

Posted By John Hausladen , Wednesday, February 1, 2017
Updated: Monday, February 6, 2017

Heard on the Road — Truckers are full of opinions and not bashful about sharing them. That is actually part of what I really like about our regional membership meetings. We get to hear what is really going on. Such information helps us focus on what is most important to your operations. We recently completed seven meetings across the state and received some great feedback.

E-Logs Were Tops — The number one topic at each meeting was far and away the implementation of electronic logging devices (ELDs).

Carriers who have converted uniformly expressed how they did not lose large numbers of drivers during their transition. They also stressed how critical load planning has become in this new environment.

Many carriers are concerned about hardware failures when a truck is on the road. Is seven days really adequate time under the regulation to get a device fixed, especially if you route your trucks home infrequently? Will there be enough service centers and technicians across the system to address problems quickly? What will it cost to obtain repairs as demand increases? When a truck goes down for non-ELD reasons, will a leased truck be compatible with the ELD you normally use?

Carriers repeatedly cited problems with devices taking a long time to boot up as data is downloaded. Others reported cold weather challenges with tablets left in vehicles over the weekend. Still other carriers had yet to implement ELDs and were looking for information to help make the purchasing decision. Some were not aware of the MTA ELD Resource Guide (available at www. mntruck.org/resources) and the many carriers who have volunteered to field calls by carriers finalizing their decisions.

It is painfully clear there will be a lot of glitches to work out in the system. The MTA plans to contact the FMCSA to express these serious concerns well in advance of the effective date.

In additional, our April 20th Trucking Management Conference has a session dedicated to coping with ELDs in the real world, including how to prepare your shippers.

Truck to the Capitol — As a reminder, MTA members will be meeting with their local legislators on February 16 for Truck to the Capitol. This is a great opportuntiy to give the trucking industry a voice by letting our representatives know their decisions affect what we do.

Great Ambassadors — We are very excited to have two new trucking ambassadors. Michael Matheson from Manning Transfer was named the 2017 MTA Driver of the Year at our recent banquet, while Bill Krouse was appointed a member of America’s Road Team. You can bet we will be using them to educate the media, legislators and the public about our great industry. Congratulations Michael and Bill.

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January 2017

Posted By John Hausladen , Sunday, January 1, 2017
Updated: Monday, February 6, 2017

Smashing the Crystal Balls — If the election of 2016 taught us anything, it is that the pollsters and pundits had it all wrong. The pre-election data was way off and the results were stunning. Trump wins, Republicans retain control of both houses of Congress and Republicans take back control of the Minnesota Senate for the next four years. I’ll say it again: stunning. I won’t attempt to predict outcomes for 2017, but I am confident certain issues will be in play.

Regulatory Reform — The Regulatory Accountability Act will be a top priority in the 115th Congress. Bill Kovacs of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce summed it up best: “Regulatory reform is about the role Congress plays in our constitutional system. For Congress to be a real check on agency overreach it needs to reclaim its full legislative authority by establishing clear standards for agency rulemaking and court review of the regulations. These standards are necessary to ensure agencies implement the intent of Congress, not the intent of the agency.” Look for President-elect Trump to immediately roll back numerous Obama executive orders and regulations, including the overtime exemption.

Transportation Funding and Tax Reform — Presidentelect Trump and Congress both have their eyes on corporate profits that have been earned and stashed oversees. There is little incentive to repatriate this cash at up to a 35 percent tax rate. However, Trump has championed a special corporate tax repatriation holiday rate where corporations would pay a tax rate of just ten percent to bring it back to the United States. Trump would use some of these dollars to offset tax credits for a $1 trillion infrastructure bill. He pledged action on this in the first 100 days. Congress, on the other hand, wants to use this money to achieve meaningful tax reform. With no appetite to increase the federal fuel tax by either party, it looks like tax reform and highway funding seem destined to be intertwined. Our goal, and that of the ATA, is to secure long-term sustainable funding in whatever package is developed.

A Big HOS Win — It took three swings, but it looks like we have permanently fixed the 34-hour restart issue. The Continuing Budget Resolution passed in early December retains the pre-2013 hours-of-service restart language and eliminates FMCSA’s bolt-on provisions requiring a restart to include two overnight periods of 1 a.m. to 5 a.m. and limiting its use to once every 168 hours, IF a study that the Department of Transportation has been undertaking does not show benefits to driver health and safety. We believe the study will not demonstrate these benefits, and therefore the rules will revert back to their pre-2013 status.

F4A Looking Better — The new landscape in Washington, D.C. should also greatly improve the odds of strengthening the Federal Aviation Administration Authorization Act of 1994 (F4A) exemption. We seek to clarify that the exemption prohibits states from enacting or enforcing policies related to a price, route, or service of any motor carrier, and that the scope extends to wage and hour laws, as well as employment laws, including: state meal and rest break requirements and state bans on piece rate pay.

Good Relationship DOT Pick Chao — The trucking industry has strong ties with U. S. Secretary of Transportationdesignee Elaine Chao. ATA President Chris Spear was the number three under Chao when she was Secretary of Labor under President Bush. Two additional staffers held keys posts as well, which should set the industry up for positive interaction and favorable results.

Driving Hands Free — Autonomous vehicles, including trucks, will be a hot topic at both the state and federal levels. The industry will push for a federal standard, while some technology vendors are already asking for a state-bystate approach. Wherever the discussion takes place, we need to have a seat at the table on this very important topic.

A Sure Thing in 2017 — One prediction I can make for 2017: We will work hard to be your effective voice.

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December 2016

Posted By John Hausladen, Thursday, December 1, 2016
Updated: Monday, February 6, 2017

Court is in Session! — In my two decades of serving the trucking industry, I have never seen courts playing a more active role in the affairs of our members. Litigation at all levels is playing a major role clarifying issues and redefining legislative priorities.

E-Logs 99 Percent a Done Deal — The 7th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled against the Owner- Operator Independent Drivers Association (OOIDA) on the issue of electronic logging devices (ELDs). The ruling upholds the Final Rule on ELDs that was originally published in December 2015 by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration. This ruling means that most professional truck drivers currently required to use paper logs to track their hours-of-service compliance must transition to an ELD by December 18, 2017.

While OOIDA has the option to ultimately appeal the ruling to the United States Supreme Court, the odds of that happening appear low.

We understand there are many carriers who have not yet made the switch to ELDs. To assist in the decision-making process we are developing a resource guide. Look for that to come soon. We also expect to have a session at our Trucking Management Conference on April 20, 2017 focused on the realities of working with shippers in a world where everyone has ELDs.

No Appeal in Biodiesel Litigation — After conferring with our co-plaintiffs, the decision was made to not appeal the ruling in our lawsuit against the State of Minnesota regarding the biodiesel mandate. We appreciate the work our members undertook to provide data and affadivits for our effort. The board of directors will now consider what legislative actions, if any, the organization will undertake as we approach the 20 percent mandate in 2018.

Taking on City of Minneapolis — The MTA has supported the lawsuit filed by the Minnesota Chamber of Commerce on October 14 against the city of Minneapolis.

The action, filed in Hennepin County District Court, challenges the Minneapolis paid sick time ordinance as unlawful on the grounds that it conflicts with existing state law. The action also asks a judge to prevent Minneapolis from enforcing the ordinance (see page 12 for details).

We believe this ordinance will create tracking and reporting nightmares for motor carriers and create new legal liabilities. The MTA is particularly concerned this ordinance could be interpreted to include not only motor carriers who deliver or pick up in the city of Minneapolis, but even those who pass through.

We are also very concerned that allowing the Minneapolis ordinance to stand will lead to more cities doing the same, creating a patchwork of local laws that companies need to interpret and obey. The city of St. Paul also has enacted a paid sick time ordinance to take effect July 1, 2017 and Duluth is studying the issue.

Merry Christmas — Here is wishing you a Merry Christmas and hoping Santa judges you “nice” and not “naughty” this season!

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November 2016

Posted By John Hausladen , Tuesday, November 1, 2016
Updated: Monday, February 6, 2017

Focused on Speed, Fuel and Sleep — The last month has seen the MTA active on key issues impacting your operations: speed limiters, biodiesel and split sleeper berth.

Speed Limiters — At its September meeting, your board of directors adopted a policy opposing any mandate of speed limiters on new Class 7 or 8 trucks. The MTA believes mandating the use of speed limiters will reduce highway safety by creating speed differentials between passenger cars and large trucks. Case in point, ANY of the speeds suggested in the proposed rule (60, 65 or 68 miles per hour) would be below Minnesota’s maximum 70 mile per hour speed limit.

We believe mandating speed via limiters would create additional highway safety risks. If all trucks are limited to the same maximum speed, they will naturally bunch together as they approach each other on roadways. Congestion would increase. These functional truck “convoys” would create challenges for all motorists trying to merge between the trucks at entrance ramps. Cars would likely engage in more risky behavior as they cut in front of trucks.

Limiters would also create a challenge for trucks attempting to pass each other, if not make it practically impossible in many situations.

The MTA believes states should establish speed limits within their jurisdictions. State engineering and traffic safety professionals have the best insight into what the appropriate speed is for any vehicle given the terrain and conditions. Nor should speed limiters replace consistent enforcement of posted speed limits among all highway users.

The MTA will be submitting formal comments to the federal docket on this proposal.

Biodiesel — On September 29, U.S. District Judge John Tunheim ruled against the Minnesota Trucking Association and four other plaintiffs, concluding that federal laws do not pre-empt Minnesota’s biodiesel mandate. To say the least, we are very disappointed in Chief Judge Tunheim’s decision.

Four other organizations joined the MTA in asking for a permanent injunction barring the state’s mandate, as well as the planned increased to 20 percent in 2018. We are reviewing the opinion and discussing our options with the other plaintiffs in this litigation. The MTA board will also review possible legislative options in the wake of this ruling.

Split Sleeper — I had the opportunity to discuss with FMCSA Administrator Scott Darling the agency’s split sleeper berth study during the recent ATA convention in Las Vegas. We talked about the importance of this study to validate the safety of split sleeper berth time and the flexibility this could provide to fleets and drivers. Mr. Jack Van Steenburg, FMCSA Chief Safety Officer, will be the featured speaker at our January Safety Conference. He will review the progress of this study and other initiatives of FMCSA.

Happy Thanksgiving — Despite all of the regulatory challenges, it is important to remember we have so much to be thankful for. Friends, family and a truly essential industry top the list. From our home to yours, here is wishing you a Happy Thanksgiving and a table full of all the holiday foods that trucking makes possible.

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October 2016

Posted By John Hausladen, Saturday, October 1, 2016
Updated: Monday, February 6, 2017

Thank You for Being a Member — We really don’t say it enough, but thank you for being a member of the Minnesota Trucking Association (MTA). You are the reason we exist. Our mission, “to be the voice of a safe and successful Minnesota trucking industry,” is undergirded by the knowledge that we work for real people with real challenges and opportunities. It is not just theory to us, but the true reason our staff and volunteer leaders work so hard every day. Your time, talents and financial support truly do make a difference on behalf of our great industry!

Expect a Phone Call — When we say we value you, we mean it. Our new Membership Committee has set a goal of calling every existing member during the next year. These peer-to-peer calls have two goals. First, to say thank you for your membership and support. Second, to obtain feedback regarding how the MTA can best serve you. Rest assured these are bona fide MTA members just like yourself, not some hired telemarketing firm. They want to hear about your most important issues so we can best focus our resources. The MTA exists to serve the needs of its members, so we want to hear from you. If you receive a call from one of these people, please respond promptly and share your thoughts:

Bob Nuss, Nuss Truck Group
Cheri Cook, Chalich Trucking
Chuck Daggett, Daggett Truck Line
Geoff Baker, McFarland Truck Lines
Gregg Moyer, California Overland
Jack Shawn, Toro Transport Express
Joe Greenstein, Midwest Motor Express
Kevin Otto, Otto Transport
Sean Claton, Midwest Specialize Transportation
Shawn Sullivan, Truck Writers
Steve Lubbert, FedEx
Steve Yaggy Specialized Transportation
Todd Gilbert, Valley Cartage

Who Else Should Be a Member? — Because you are reading this, you are very likely on of our 678 current members. You pay your dues, participate in our programs and help us tell the trucking story to the media and government officials. However, there are many other trucking companies who benefit from our good work who have not joined the Minnesota Trucking Association. You probably know a few them. Can you help us identify who they are? Our Membership Committee will also be making calls to prospective members and your leads will be invaluable. Of course, the most helpful thing you can do is share with these non-members the benefits you experience and directly invite them to join. Send your suggestions to mta@mntruck.org.

Thank you for the privilege of serving the greatest industry around!

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September 2016

Posted By John Hausladen, Thursday, September 1, 2016
Updated: Monday, February 6, 2017

If we are truly blessed in life, a few rare individuals cross our path who become our mentors and friends. Al Koenig, who passed away on August 16, was such a person to me.

If there ever was an elder statesmen of the Minnesota trucking industry, Al was it.

When I started this job 20 years ago, I didn’t know a soul in this industry. After meeting Al, I knew I had at least one person in my corner. His friendly smile, gentlemanly demeanor and words of encouragement set me at ease and along the path to success.

Of course, that was Al’s way. Engaging people. Inviting people. Including people. At ATA meetings he made sure I had a seat and was introduced to the right people; the “real stem winders” he called them. Since his passing, numerous members have recounted similar stories to me. The cool thing was, he did it not for his own benefit, but for the betterment of that person and the broader trucking industry.

He fell in love with trucks as a kid and a youthful joy about them never left him. He loved BIG trucks, which parlayed into building Midwest Specialized Transportation. He loved LITTLE trucks, which turned into perhaps the state’s largest private collection of die-cast trucks and trucking memorabilia. He loved trucking HISTORY and knew more about the companies, people and evolving regulations than anyone I ever met. Period.

Al was so proud to be a trucker. While safety always came first, the image of the trucks and drivers were a close second. He believed acting professional and looking professional were totally in our control. His iconic blue and white trucks were clean, shiny and well-maintained, with quality drivers to match.

I always knew I could call or visit Al if I had a question or needed some perspective. When I reached out, he listened, encouraged and gave his best advice. If you were off base or he disagreed, he would tell it to you straight.

He was a passionate advocate for the trucking industry. He believed we have no one to blame if we don’t stand up for ourselves. Al put his time and money where his mouth was. He gave regularly to the ATA and MTA Political Action Committees. He went to DC to tell the trucking story and frequently had legislators to his facility in Rochester. He was a huge believer in ‘The Power of the Truck Ride’ to turn on the light bulb with legislators. He just never stopped promoting the essentiality of this industry.

My last conversations with Al took place at our Annual Conference just a week before he died. He was there at age 78 still learning, contributing, leading and thoroughly enjoying himself. Most fitting, his last act of service to the MTA was to present the Scholarship Committee report, a program he helped create.

If I had to sum it up, Al was a giver, not a taker. He certainly gave his heart and soul to the Minnesota Trucking Association and because of those efforts, we can ALL say we have been blessed by Al Koenig.

Thank you for standing in my corner since day one, and in the process becoming a mentor and friend. We are going to miss you Al.

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August 2016

Posted By John Hausladen, Monday, August 1, 2016
Updated: Monday, February 6, 2017

Trucking Safety Report Card — While it is soon back to school for most students, the trucking industry just received its official Minnesota report card in the form of the Minnesota Motor Vehicle Crash Facts 2015. This annual document, produced by the Minnesota Department of Public Safety, breaks down all traffic crashes that took place in the state over a twelve-month period. Section V details all truck crashes, which do NOT include pickup trucks and vans.

Total Crashes Down, Fatalities and Injuries Flat — Year over year, total truck crashes dropped 16 percent. That’s pretty impressive until you read that almost all of the reduction came in property- damage-only crashes. Fatal crashes stayed flat at 57 for the year, while fatalities dropped down one to 62. That’s 62 drivers, 62 trucking companies and 62 families of survivors who have to live with these results. When it comes to highway safety, one fatal crash is one too many.

Contributing Factors — The contributing factors portion of the report gives a break down between behaviors of car and truck drivers. “… contributing factors listed by officers are very similar for truck and non-truck drivers. For example, driver inattention or distraction was most frequently cited for truck drivers (18 percent of the time) as well as for non-truck drivers (17 percent of the time). However, non-truck drivers drive too fast and fail to yield more often than truck drivers. Illegal or unsafe speed was reported for ten percent of other vehicles but only eight percent of the trucks. Failure to yield was reported for 15 percent of the other vehicles but only ten percent of the trucks.”

Other Statistics of Note — Several other statistics pop off the page when it comes to truck-related crashes:
• Less than one-quarter of one percent of any type of chemical impairment was reported for truck drivers
• The vast majority of truck crashes occur during daytime work hours
• Most truck crashes occur on dry roads in clear weather; however, the more the severe crashes happen on wet or snow-covered surfaces
• Rural crashes are the most deadly, with 99 percent of fatal truck crashes occurring in rural Minnesota

Controlling What We Can — Trucking’s commitment to safety is clear. We have the best equipment on the road, piloted by the best trained drivers anywhere and assisted by the best technology available. Yet crashes still happen. Yes, we can point to the statistics showing most crashes are caused by cars running into us. But we can’t control what the other vehicles do. We can, however, continue to focus on what is under our control. Getting good rest, planning reasonable trips, driving the speed limit and paying attention are all within our power to control. Let’s all do our part and create a safer year on the roads.

For a complete copy of the report, go to http://bit.ly/mntruckcrashes.

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July 2016

Posted By John Hausladen , Friday, July 1, 2016
Updated: Monday, February 6, 2017

When it comes to impacting trucking regulations, we may be wise to follow the writings of the ancient Chinese philosopher, Lao-Tzu. In 600 B.C. he wrote: “Water is fluid, soft, and yielding. But water will wear away rock, which is rigid and cannot yield. As a rule, whatever is fluid, soft, and yielding will overcome whatever is rigid and hard. This is another paradox: what is soft is strong.”

His message is simple: be flexible but persistent. In late 2013, the MTA and the ATA jointly submitted a petition to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration to conduct a two-year pilot program to study the safety benefits and impacts of giving truck drivers more flexibility in their use of sleeper berth breaks. We specifically asked the agency to conduct a real-world field study evaluating a split sleeper berth time for meeting federal rest requirements.

We believe that allowing drivers to break up their ten-hour off-duty period into two shorter periods would be beneficial to both safety and overall driver rest.

I am pleased to say that our persistence is paying off. In early June, FMCSA discussed the details of their plan to study whether adding more flexibility to the sleeper berth rules would improve driver rest and alertness.

The study, being conducted by Washington State University and the Virginia Tech Transportation Institute, will allow approximately 240 drivers to split their off-duty sleeper berth time into two segments – of at least three hours, totaling at least ten hours — which will not count toward the 14-hour driving window. Drivers will be observed for 90 days and will have their sleep patterns, fatigue levels, roadside violations and safety critical events monitored daily via video event recorders.

When the study is complete, researchers will analyze the data to determine if allowing drivers the flexibility to choose the best time to rest — e.g. when they’re tired, when traffic congestion is greatest, etc. — improves driver safety. FMCSA and its study partners are currently developing the recruitment website as well as the necessary technological components.


Data collection is expected to begin in 2017 and is expected to conclude in early 2018. Study results may inform future beneficial changes to the sleeper berth provision of the Hours of Service rules.

The pace of regulatory change can be awfully discouraging. But like water, if we keep applying pressure in the right direction even the hardest challenges can be addressed. You can trust the MTA to persistently keep working on your most important issues!

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June 2016

Posted By John Hausladen , Wednesday, June 1, 2016
Updated: Tuesday, November 1, 2016

We are excited to announce three new MTA endorsed partners—Allstate, FirstLab, and Michelin Tires.  Our endorsed program committee has vetted these partners to ensure you are getting the best service. MTA members receive discounted pricing on our endorsed partner’s product or service and a portion of the proceeds go to support the MTA. It is a win-win-win!

Allstate – Accidental and Critical Illness Insurance

No one plans on having an accident or becoming disabled. That is why supplemental health insurance, like accidental and critical illness coverage, can help you and your employees in the event that you experience one of life's mishaps.  Accidental coverage and critical illness coverage are designed to work with your existing health insurance plan and can help you take care of expenses that may not be covered by your current insurance. Call today and get special pricing.

For more information, contact:

Garrett Jerue

 

The Insurance Center

Corporate Benefit Specialist

Phone: 800-944-1367, Ext. 30116

Email: gjerue@ticinsurance.com

 

 

FirstLab – Drug and Alcohol Testing

FirstLab is a third party administrator specializing in the outsourcing of the design, implementation and management of drug and alcohol testing programs. FirstLab offers the following services:

·         Network of over 13,000 collection sites nationwide (on-site collection available)

·         One-stop shop for all testing requirements (collection, lab analysis, MRO)

·         All-inclusive test fee

·         Urine, hair, blood, and saliva/oral fluid testing

·         Nicotine testing

·         Pre-employment, post-accident, random, DOT and non-DOT testing

Call today and get special pricing.

For more information, contact:

Megan McLaughlin

 

FirstLab

Field Sales Representative

Phone: 303-827-4500

Email: MMcLaughlin@FirstLab.com

 

 

Michelin – Tires

MTA members of all sizes are eligible for substantial discounts on quality truck tires from Michelin Tires. Buy Michelin tires from your current dealer and pay member-only discounts up to 24 percent off retail prices. Prices also extend to breakdown purchases made on the road, away from home. We offer a complete line of Michelin products including retreads and light truck tires.

For more information, contact:

Jason Deanda

 

Texas Trucking Association

Chief Financial Officer

Phone: 512-478-2541, Ext. 101

Email: jason@texastrucking.com

 

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May 2016

Posted By John Hausladen , Sunday, May 1, 2016
Updated: Tuesday, November 1, 2016

MTA was well represented on our recent Call on Washington trip. Thanks to John and the MTA staff for making the trip not only worthwhile for the association but for us individuals as well. Fourteen engaged MTA members had the opportunity to meet our Minnesota Congressional Delegates. Time is valuable, especially at the Capitol; our team did a great job of sharing our message with all nine representatives.

 On the first night, after a wonderful dinner experience, we took a guided bus tour of the city. I left Washington with feelings of strengthened patriotism, a refreshed understanding of American history and appreciation of the sacrifices so many Americans have made for the safety of our families.

Perhaps the most important take away from DC is the impact of effective leadership. It is vital in every business, organization, school and church. Which leads me into the MTA’s highly regarded NEXTLeader program. I’m enthused that my son, Drew, is a participant in this program. Drew is my oldest son and the first fourth-generation family member to be working at our family business. I’ve asked him to share a few thoughts on his experience with NEXTLeader so far:

  • The mission of the NEXTLeader Program is to shape the next generation of trucking leaders for the good of themselves, their businesses, and the trucking industry.
  • Since last fall we have examined the qualities of an effective leader according to the book “Good to Great” by Jim Collins. We have studied how to recognize our personality strengths and how to apply these strengths to our work using the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator. Currently we are reading “Leading Change” by John P. Kotter, which focuses on how one can effectively lead organizational transformations.
  • Not only is there interesting course material; I have found this a refreshing group of people to be involved with. It is too rare an experience, finding ourselves in a room with our trucking peers who are experiencing, have already experienced or are anticipating the experience of similar industry-specific challenges.
  • The landscape of the trucking industry in Minnesota is evolving at an unprecedented rate. The NEXTLeader Program is a terrific opportunity to shorten the learning curve for anyone pursuing a decision-making role in the trucking community. This program has become available at a very pivotal point in time for our industry. I highly encourage everyone, regardless of sector or size of company, to become involved with it in some fashion. 

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