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Trucker 'drones on' with unique approach to teaching driving skills 7/15/2019 Friday Short Haul - Rhode Island tolls, human smuggling, contractor vs employee status 7/12/2019 ELD mandate deadline looming, many still not compliant 7/10/2019 New "boot" device being deployed to threaten Walmart overnighters 7/8/2019 Friday Short Haul - Prime Inc vs Amazon, mother fights HOS changes, truck drivers appreciation week 7/5/2019 Proper way to fly the American flag on your truck this Fourth of July 7/3/2019 Roundabouts are becoming popular; but are they best for trucks? 7/1/2019 Friday Short Haul - Skills test proposal, driver shortage, hemp sentencing, driverless trucks 6/28/2019 Experts warn of active wildland fire season 6/26/2019 More states signing on to enlist truckers against human trafficking 6/24/2019 Friday Short Haul - Shippers of Choice, insurance rates, wheel spikes, WIT award 6/21/2019 Freight numbers not holding up to 2018's highs 6/19/2019 Truck safety group urges purges of drug abuse drivers 6/17/2019 Friday Short Haul - Self-driving certificate, truck platooning, trade war stacking up cargo 6/14/2019 HOS waiver coming soon for fireworks haulers 6/12/2019 FMCSA takes a further look at detention time 6/10/2019 Friday Short Haul - Autonomous delivery, HOS rules changes, CDL retest 6/7/2019 Roadcheck 2019 in effect this week 6/5/2019 Hemp arrest prompts USDA memo 6/3/2019 Friday Short Haul - Waymo big rigs, Move over sting, Under-21 comments 5/31/2019 Severe weather prompts renewed emergency declaration 5/29/2019 Memorial Day holiday is prime time for cargo thefts 5/25/2019 Friday Short Haul - Hauling hemp, road rage fatality, new rules for autonomous vehicles 5/24/2019 Autonomous trucks on USPS test run 5/22/2019 Future era of cab-less trucks will be the end of HOS rules 5/20/2019 Friday Short Haul - FMCSA under-21 comments, Tesla autonomous car crash, 24,000 drivers sign contract with YRC 5/17/2019 Under-21 interstate drivers getting serious look by FMCSA 5/15/2019 Trucker Buddy program matches drivers with a classroom; everyone wins 5/13/2019 Friday Short Haul - Driver awarded $80 million, ODFL driver wins, loading dock black hole 5/10/2019 Storm breaks out from Rockies, slams into Midwest, South 5/8/2019 Capacity issues have shippers looking at private fleets 5/6/2019 Friday Short Haul - HOS rules, dark skies, Falcon drivers 5/3/2019 'Bug' permits now required for four eastern states 5/1/2019 Simulator use is catching on for schools, carriers 4/29/2019 Friday Short Haul - Thinking electric, Penske opens charging station, border crossing crisis, railroads taking trucking business 4/26/2019 ELDs might not be the panacea that was hoped for 4/24/2019 Truck drivers may soon see "phantoms" driving yard trucks 4/22/2019 Friday Short Haul - Nikola big rigs, WIT welcomes Peterbilt, Oregon crashes, Border crossings 4/19/2019 Carriers claim financial benefit of putting up drivers in hotels 4/17/2019 Uber's IPO application reveals interesting data about its freight brokerage business 4/15/2019 Friday Short Haul - CDL examiner arrested, tolls proposed for trucks, marijuana use on the rise 4/12/2019 Smart Load Board will get carriers the loads they need 4/10/2019 Huge lines and long wait times greet carriers at Mexico border 4/8/2019 Friday Short Haul - Marijuana, ATA campaign, personal conveyance rules 4/5/2019 Over-the-air downloads revolutionize parameter updates 4/3/2019 Don't get scammed by skimmers 4/1/2019 Friday Short Haul -- New Cascadias honored, motorist survey, U.S, Xpress awarded, rest stop parking 3/29/2019 Legislators address underride collisions, propose more underguards for trucks, trailers 3/27/2019 Motorists soon may encounter a different kind of truck convoy 3/25/2019 Friday Short Haul -- Women in Trucking, irate motorist, FMCSA eases HOS, Safe-Cap 3/22/2019 Recent survey shows cost of roadside repairs is rising 3/20/2019 FMCSA announces drug and alcohol clearinghouse website 3/18/2019 Friday Short Haul - Swift settlement, driver shortage myth, TCA Best Fleet award 3/15/2019 The hidden danger of looking but not seeing 3/13/2019 Accident scammers target trucks for financial payout 3/11/2019 3/9/2019 3/9/2019 Friday Short Haul - Snow on the roof, bypassing toll road, Waze under fire 3/8/2019 Retailers blame driver shortage for price increases 3/6/2019 Drivers' smartphones may be clue to road roughness 3/4/2019 Friday Short Haul -- Freight rates, HOS changes, tonnage reports 3/1/2019 New tax changes hit drivers hard 2/27/2019 FMCSA to implement under-21 interstate driver program for former military 2/25/2019 Friday Short Haul -- Connecticut tolls proposed, hydrogen fuel-cell trucks, cell phone use 2/22/2019 Congress committee looks at state of America's highways 2/20/2019 Number of cargo thefts is down; but dollar value about the same 2/18/2019 Friday Short Haul -- Crossing the border, CA sues FMCSA, Lobbying against larger trucks 2/15/2019 Detention - A problem still in search of a solution 2/13/2019 February Highway Angels honorees named 2/11/2019 Friday Short Haul -- C.R. England announces pay raises, eCommerce impact on trucking, TCA announces best fleets 2/8/2019 Is a guaranteed minimum pay the solution to the driver shortage? 2/6/2019 Long CDL testing wait times cost economy billions of dollars; not helping driver shortage 2/4/2019 Friday Short Haul -- Walmart hiring, Uber Freight App, Speed-limiter Law, America's Road Team 2/1/2019 Cranking -- The Good, The Bad, and the Ugly 1/30/2019 California survives challenge to its low-carbon fuel standards 1/28/2019 Friday Short Haul - Highway robbery ... autonomous trucks ... new trailers 1/25/2019 LithiumHub enters jump-starter market with Jumpbooster JP30 1/23/2019 2019 Looks Good For The Transportation Industry 1/21/2019 Raymond Burt named TMC Trainer of the Month for February 2018 3/28/2018 TMC Transportation Announces Recipient of Prestigious Wheel Master Award 3/7/2018 TMC Transportation Named The Home Depot’s Flatbed Carrier of the Year For Fourth Straight Year 2/28/2018 Pay Raises & New Peterbilts for PAM Drivers 2/26/2018 New DOT Drug Testing Rules Effective Jan 1, 2018 1/11/2018 Amtrak Derailment: Trucks Haul 270,000 Pound Locomotive Engine During Cleanup 12/21/2017 Pepsi Places Largest Order Yet For Tesla Electric Trucks 12/12/2017 Kavin Hallett named Trainer of the Month for October 2017 12/8/2017 Over 100,000 Truck Drivers Likely Have Undiagnosed Sleep Apnea And More Testing Is On The Way 8/10/2017 Drivers Share Their Best Tips, Tricks, And Secrets For Life On The Road 7/18/2017 Drivers Are Losing Money By Taking The Wrong Approach 7/13/2017 Truckers and Guns: What Is and Is Not Legal 7/6/2017 Preparing To Go Solo For The First Time? Experienced Drivers Share Their Best Advice 6/29/2017 The Truck Stop Survival Guide: Advice From Experienced Drivers 6/15/2017 The Worst Cities For Traffic In The U.S. For 2017 6/8/2017 We Ask Drivers How They Would Make The Logbook Rules Better 5/30/2017 Self Driving Trucks Are Not Coming Anytime Soon 5/25/2017 11/30/-0001

Friday Short Haul - Rhode Island tolls, human smuggling, contractor vs employee status

Dave Wickenhauser on Fri, July 12, 2019

Last Updated: Thu, July 11, 2019


Infographic and Image: Rhode Island Department of Transportation

Rhode Island rakes in big bucks with truck-only tolls

The smallest state in the Union is raising the biggest stink among truckers with its toll-road shakedown of commercial drivers … and RIDOT officials announce they plan to up the ante with even more toll gantries.

Last month, exactly one year after opening its first truck-specific toll gantry, the state raked in $7.26 million, slightly more than the $7 million that was originally estimated.

Despite threats from truckers that they would bypass the state the toll revenue received shows that the diversion rate was near zero.

"It confirms that the traffic counts ... in the number of trucks that are going through this corridor, are exactly what we predicted," Rhode Island Department of Transportation Director Peter Alviti told ABC6 News.

Rhode Island has had two tolls on I-95 during the past year contributing to that revenue spike. And in mid August the state will open a third truck-specific toll at the Woonasquatucket River Bridge on Route 6 in Providence.

By spring of next year the state expects to have nine more tolls along Rhode Island highways, bringing the total to 14. Two of the tolls will be less than a mile apart, something the state lauded as saving more than $2 million in construction costs.

All totaled, the state expects to make $45 a million each year off of truck drivers once all of the tolls are in operation.

This largess for the state treasury has not come without opposition. Complaints from the trucking industry claiming these truck-only tolls are unconstitutional have found no sympathy with judges, and their first challenge in court was dismissed. They will have their say again in September as they bring their case to a Federal Appellate Court.

RIDOT's Alvite said the state has consulted with legal teams all along and believe they are following the law in regard to charging tolls. "We have all the confidence in the world in our legal opinions."

State officials say the revenue will be earmarked for specific bridge reconstruction projects, and ongoing maintenance.

Human smuggler caught sneaking 'cargo' into unsuspecting drivers' trailers at truck stops

A Mexican national pled guilty recently for sneaking his human cargo aboard trailers parked at southern Texas truck stops – a practice that has been going on weekly from 2011 to 2017; which is when he was caught.

Authorities say that the number of illegal immigrants from China, Russia, India, Brazil, Honduras, El Salvador, Guatamala and Mesico smuggled this way over the years is incalculable. Their ages ranged from toddlers to senior citizens, but the majority were young adults.

U.S. Attorney Ryan K. Patrick said Humberto Ramirez-Santos, 47. of McAllen and Houston, Texas, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to transport illegal aliens on the day his trial was set to begin, according to a U.S. Department of Justice press release.

Typically, smugglers selected a tractor trailer parked at a southern Texas truck stop. Once the illegal aliens were surreptitiously loaded into the trailer, the smugglers would follow the truck to the next stop far from immigration checkpoints. They would then unload their "cargo" and continue transporting them in rented Penske trucks to Houston.

Truck drivers were unaware of this activity, but nevertheless were exposed to criminal liability.

Ramirez-Santos' sentencing is set for October 1, and he could face up to 10 years in prison and a possible $250,000 fine. He remains free on bond pending sentencing.

Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations, Border Patrol and Houston Police Department conducted the investigation. Assistant U.S. Attorney Patti Hubert Booth is prosecuting the case.

Contractor vs employee status bill moves to California Senate

California State Senators began hearings this week of the State Assembly version of a bill concerning contractor vs employee status for truck drivers that some opponents are saying will have "apocalyptic" repercussions if passed intact.

The bill, AB5, grew out of the recent Dynamics court decision on the classification of employees rather than as contractors, that now holds trucking companies to a strict standard for deciding which was which. The bill passed the California Assembly by an overwhelming majority, and is now in the Senate.

The California Supreme Court decision that settled the Dynamex case stipulates three requirements, labeled the ABC test, for an owner-operator or lease-operator to fulfill in order to be considered an independent contractor.

  • ”The person is free from the control and direction of the hiring entity in connection with the performance of the work, both under the contract for the performance of the work and in fact.”
  • ”The person performs work that is outside the usual course of the hiring entity’s business.”
  • ”The person is customarily engaged in an independently established trade, occupation, or business of the same nature as that involved in the work performed.”

It's the middle criterion that opponents to the bill, like Joe Rajkovacz, director of government affairs for the Western States Trucking Association, says will effectively end the owner-operator industry in California.

“Even if an owner-operator is able to demonstrate their true independence and satisfy the A and C prongs, as most owner-operators contract their work with other trucking companies (be it through a truck broker or another motor carrier), it is virtually impossible to pass the B prong as both are in the business of trucking,” WSTA stated in a letter to the bill's sponsor, California Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez.

That's because all independent truckers who haul loads for motor carriers, and there are a great many who do, would fail the Part B test.

In the WSTA letter, it stated that carriers are now pulling back from using independent contractors out of concern for liabilities should AB5 become law. "Annihilation of the owner-operator business model is likely inevitable if further modifications are not made to the ABC test,” the letter said.

“We are actively involved in what is going on behind the scenes,” Rajkovacz said in an interview with FreightWaves. “From a trucking industry standpoint, what we would like to see is where it is acknowledged that if you’re an independent contractor with your own authority, you are truly an independent contractor.”

The legislation that would turn the intent of the Dynamex decision on the classification of employees vs. contractors recently passed the California Assembly by an overwhelming margin. The first hearings in the Senate on the bill, known as AB5, started taking place this week.

In further statements in the letter to Gonzalez, WSTA is requesting that truckers be given the same consideration in the legislation as other occupations that are populated primarily by independent contractors. AB5 specifically makes exceptions for jobs as diverse as hairdressers, surgeons and securities brokers.

AB5 spells out that those sorts of jobs will continue to fall under the provisions of what is known as the Borello standard for independent contractors – also coming from a court precedent – which would allow them to continue to be viewed as independent. Borello was the existing standard that Dynamex modified.

WSTA and other entities like the California Truckers Association, and possibly the Teamsters Union, plan to join together to lobby legislators to write into the bill an exemption for independent and lease truckers.

Sources: RIDOT, ABC 6, U.S. Attorney General's Office, FreightWaves

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Leasing A Truck Owner Operator The Economy And Politics Trucking Industry Concerns

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