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  • 25 Apr 2022 1:20 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    On April 20, 2022, the Hon. Mary Ann Bogan, A.L.J. issued an initial decision in Farruggio’s Bristol and Philadelphia Express, Inc. v. New Jersey Department of Labor and Workforce Development, OAL No. LID 02027-17 finding, on summary judgment, that the owner-operator drivers that contracted with Farruggio’s Express were independent contractors, not employees. Accordingly, the Court found that Farruggio’s Express was not liable for state employment taxes in connection with the audit of the New Jersey Department of Labor and Workforce Development (“NJDOL”). In that audit, NJDOL concluded that the drivers were employees because Farruggio’s lacked an IRS determination finding the owner-operators to be independent contractors, and that NJDOL had no obligation to examine the relationship in order to make such a determination.

    By way of background, NJDOL has under the current administration modified the regulations that it uses to determine employment for purposes of taxation and coverage for purposes of the Unemployment Compensation Act (“UCL”), notwithstanding that the underlying statutory scheme has not been changed by the legislature. In particular, there are approximately 25 numerous categories of work that are exempt from the broad ABC Test of employment generally used to make determinations for purposes of taxation and coverage under the UCL, including a specific exemption, N.J.S.A. 43:21-19(i)(7)(X), that applies to motor carriers leasing large trucks from owner-operators. Under current NJDOL regulations, since Farruggio’s Express is not subject to the general ABC Test of employment, the owner-operators will be deemed to be independent contractors – and the carrier not subject to UCL taxation -- if the carrier can show that it is not subject to federal employment taxation by obtaining an IRS determination that the carrier is not subject to those taxes. Notably, under the applicable federal test of employment applied by the IRS, carriers that genuinely adhere to an independent contractor relationship should be able to demonstrate that under the federal law test -- which more narrowly views employment than the ABC Test -- that the owner-operators are independent contractors, not employees that would subject the carrier to federal employment taxation. The complication is that IRS has no legal duty to provide such a ruling.

    Fortunately, Farruggio’s Express was able to obtain the requisite IRS ruling. Consequently, Judge Bogan had a simple task, namely, to determine whether or not Farruggio’s had the requisite IRS ruling. Since that was undisputed, Farruggio’s was entitled to summary judgment because NJDOL’s regulations require it to accept the IRS determination as conclusive.

    Since the federal test of employment will generally result in a finding that truckers who own their own trucks are independent contractors, the initial decision -- which is subject to administrative and judicial review -- affirms the ongoing viability of the independent contractor model that predominates at Port Newark and throughout the State of New Jersey.

    Farruggio’s Express is represented by Steven R. Rowland, Esq. of Brown Moskowitz & Kallen, P.C. in Chatham, New Jersey, who can be reached at 973-376-0909, ext. 1124, and at srowland@bmk-law.com 

  • 06 Apr 2022 10:14 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    The New Jersey Office of Homeland Security and Preparedness and New Jersey State Police will sponsor a training course titled: Hazardous Materials Instructor Training (DOT-501). The course will be facilitated by the Texas Engineering Extension Service (TEEX), members of the National Domestic Preparedness Consortium (NDPC). There is no-cost to attend this course.

    Description:
    The Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) under the Department of Transportation requires that Hazmat Employers* train all Hazmat Employees** within 90 days of starting in the position and conduct recurrent training every three years thereafter.  The Hazardous Materials Transportation Train the Trainer course, is designed for personnel who will be preparing and conducting this training. Course participants will learn applicable PHMSA requirements as well as principles of adult education and effective instructional design. In addition, participants will learn how to develop a systematic training program to ensure that hazmat employees are trained in the five areas required by 49 CFR 72 Subpart H: General awareness/familiarization, Function-specific, Safety, Security awareness, and In-Depth security.

    Audience:

    This course is designed for industry personnel to include, hazmat employers, EHS professionals, operation managers, safety managers, shipping and receiving managers, hazardous waste generators, environmental consultants, warehouse supervisors, and Hazmat transporters, pPublic health.


    Sessions & Registration:

    Middlesex County, Sayreville: Middlesex Fire Academy
    May 17 – 19, 2022: 8:00AM – 4:00PM
    Registration: https://www.njhomelandsecurity.gov/calendar/2022dot501mc


  • 04 Apr 2022 10:32 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Starting today, the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance’s (CVSA) 2022 North American Standard Out-of-Service Criteria are now in effect. The 2022 out-of-service criteria replace and supersede all previous versions. 

    CVSA’s North American Standard Out-of-Service Criteria ensure uniformity, consistency and reciprocity among the states, provinces, territories and countries in determining whether or not drivers or vehicles present an imminent hazard and should be placed out of service. The federal regulations together with CVSA’s out-of-service criteria provide the standards that drivers, motor carriers and law enforcement personnel use to ensure the commercial motor vehicles and drivers on North America’s roadways are safe and compliant. 

    The voting members of the Alliance approved 14 changes to the out-of-service criteria, which are now in effect. In accordance with the CVSA Bylaws, the proposed changes were communicated to the voting members of the Alliance on Oct. 15, 2021, and ratified on Oct. 29, 2021. The out-of-service criteria are updated annually, effective April 1 of each year. 

    The following changes were made to the out-of-service criteria:

    • The policy statements in Parts I, II, III and IV were amended to better define out of service and imminent hazard.
    • A note was added to each section in Part I, Item 2. OPERATOR’S/CHAUFFEUR’S LICENSE OR PERMIT (NON-CDL) – a. Vehicle 26,000 lbs. (11,793 kg) or less GVWR not designed to transport 16 or more passengers or placarded loads of hazardous materials, or vehicles that, regardless of GVWR, do not require a CDL (e.g., exempt farm vehicles or fire apparatuses, etc.) and Item 3. COMMERCIAL DRIVER’S LICENSE – a. License.
    • In Part I, Item 2. OPERATOR’S/CHAUFFEUR’S LICENSE OR PERMIT (NON-CDL) – b. Endorsements and Restrictions and Item 3. COMMERCIAL DRIVER’S LICENSE – c. Endorsement and Restrictions, the note was amended for Mexican LFC Class B and E.
    • A clarification table for CDL and non-CDL drivers prohibited in the drug and alcohol clearinghouse was added to Part I, Item 7. DRUGS AND OTHER SUBSTANCES – c. Prohibited from Performing Safety-Sensitive Functions.
    • A note was added regarding brakes that are operational but not required in Part II, Item 1. BRAKE SYSTEMS – a. Defective Brakes – Defective Brake Chart.
    • Part II, Item 1. BRAKE SYSTEMS – d. Trailer Breakaway and Emergency Brakes (2) was amended to specify that a breakaway device can be attached to a permanently mounted hitch.
    • The wording and the reference table were amended in Part II, Item 1. BRAKE SYSTEMS – h. Air Brake Hose/Tubing (1) to clarify when an air hose should be placed out of service.
    • Part II, Item 1. BRAKE SYSTEMS – o. Hydraulic Brakes (1) through (11) was amended to add an out-of-service condition for when the entire master cylinder assembly is found loose.
    • Part II, Item 9. LIGHTING DEVICES (HEADLAMPS, TAIL LAMPS, STOP LAMPS, TURN SIGNALS AND LAMPS/FLAGS ON PROJECTING LOADS) – b. At Any Time – Day or Night (4) was amended to clarify that this section only applies to lighting systems and no other electrical systems.
    • Reference to a breaker strip in a steering tire was removed from Part II, Item 12. TIRES – a. Any Tire on Any Front Steering Axle of a Power Unit, (2).
    • Part III, Item 4. TRANSPORT VEHICLE MARKINGS – a. Identification (ID) Numbers Displayed on a Transport Vehicle – NOTE was revised to make the guidance clearer.

    The CVSA Training Committee, the Education Quality Assurance Team in Canada and the U.S. National Training Center’s Technical Review and Update Specialist Team have incorporated these changes, as appropriate, into North American Standard Inspection Program training materials, along with updated inspection bulletins, inspection procedures, operational policies and training videos. 

    There are several versions (print, electronic, other languages, etc.) of the 2022 out-of-service criteria available for purchase through the CVSA online store. The 2022 out-of-service criteria are also available for purchase in CVSA’s app by searching “CVSA Out-of-Service Criteria” in the App Store or Google Play store.

    CVSA hosted a webinar outlining the changes to the 2022 out-of-service criteria. The webinar is available to CVSA members through the online CVSA member portal. Once logged in, click on the CVSA Learning tab, then click on “Roadside” to view all past webinars.

    For questions about the criteria, contact CVSA Director of Roadside Inspection Program Kerri Wirachowsky via email or at 301-830-6153.


  • 29 Mar 2022 1:51 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    This year’s Operation Safe Driver Week is scheduled for July 10-16. Law enforcement personnel in Canada, Mexico and the U.S. will be on roadways throughout that week issuing warnings and citations to commercial motor vehicle and passenger vehicle drivers engaging in unsafe driving behaviors, such as speeding, distracted driving, following too closely, improper lane change, drunk or drugged driving, etc.

    Earlier this month, the U.S. Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHSTA) released its latest annual traffic crash report, showing that 38,824 lives were lost in traffic crashes nationwide in 2020 – the highest number of fatalities since 2007. And while the number of crashes and traffic injuries declined overall, fatal crashes increased by 6.8%.

    Among the alarming statistics in NHTSA’s report was the key finding that speed-related fatalities increased by 17%. Consequently, speeding, in particular, will be a dangerous driving behavior that officers will identify and target during Operation Safe Driver Week.

    “The rising fatalities on our roadways are a national crisis; we cannot and must not accept these deaths as inevitable,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg.

    The Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance’s (CVSA) Operation Safe Driver Program was created to improve the driving behaviors of all drivers and reduce the number of crashes involving commercial motor vehicles on our roadways through educational and traffic enforcement strategies. Operation Safe Driver Week was created by CVSA with support from federal agencies in Canada, Mexico and the U.S., the motor carrier industry, and transportation safety organizations.

    “This safe driving initiative and campaign focuses specifically on drivers’ actions – whether it’s something a driver did, like speeding, or something they didn’t do, such as not paying attention to the driving task,” said CVSA President Capt. John Broers with the South Dakota Highway Patrol. “This focus on drivers’ behaviors is our effort to identify and educate drivers who are operating dangerously on our roadways, with the goal of preventing crashes from occurring.”

    To find out about Operation Safe Driver Week enforcement events in your area, contact the agency or department responsible for overseeing commercial motor vehicle safety in your area.


  • 16 Mar 2022 2:18 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    More than 700,000 trucks voluntarily support nonprofit PrePass Safety Alliance to make America's highways safer, more efficient.

    For the first time, over 100,000 fleets representing more than 700,000 trucks chose to support PrePass Safety Alliance, the nonprofit public/private partnership that provides PrePass weigh station bypass and other truck safety and efficiency services. These motor carriers earn the opportunity to participate in PrePass and bypass weigh stations by maintaining current credentials and qualifying safety scores, making highways safer for all motorists.  

    Across North America, trucks may bypass at over 450 PrePass sites, saving time and cutting costs along the way. Drivers say they prefer fleets that provide PrePass because the time saved from bypassing can make the difference between getting home or spending mandated time off in a sleeper berth.

    "PrePass Safety Alliance thanks the trucking community for its continued support of PrePass," said Mark Doughty, President and CEO of PrePass Safety Alliance. "Without exception, these PrePass motor carriers go the extra mile to operate safely on our highways and deliver the goods. They make the Alliance mission to improve safety and efficiency on America's highways a reality."

    Since the founding of the Alliance, motor carriers have enjoyed nearly one billion bypasses, saving 400 million gallons of fuel, 80 million driver hours, and $7.5 billion in operational costs, all while reducing emissions by 875,000 metric tons.

    Carriers choose PrePass as their weigh station preclearance service because it gives them options in bypass technology. The PrePass app, which includes driver safety ALERTS, works as a standalone application or in conjunction with the PrePass transponder for weigh station bypassing. Customers also receive access to INFORM™ Safety software to help assess safety performance and improve safety scores. INFORM supplies inspection, violation, and weigh station bypass data dashboards available only through PrePass.

    About PrePass Safety Alliance:

    PrePass Safety Alliance is a nonprofit public-private partnership working to make highways safer and more efficient through innovative data-driven solutions. The Alliance owns the U.S.-based PrePass weigh station bypass system and data platform. To date, the Alliance has invested more than $900 million nationwide to deploy services to improve safety, reduce truck-related emissions and preserve highway infrastructure. For more information, visit PrePassAlliance.org.

    About PrePass:

    PrePass® is the leading truck safety bypass and data platform in North America. The PrePass service helps states to preclear qualified commercial motor carriers to safely bypass ports of entry and weigh station facilities at highway speeds. This minimizes delays in freight movement while saving PrePass carriers time, fuel, and money. It also helps government entities improve highway safety by focusing agency resources on at-risk carriers. More than 700,000 commercial vehicles in over 100,000 fleets use PrePass services based on safety compliance and up-to-date credentials. For more information, visit PrePass.com.


  • 09 Mar 2022 10:01 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    FMCSA amends its regulations to eliminate the requirement that drivers operating commercial motor vehicles (CMVs) in interstate commerce prepare and submit a list of their convictions for traffic violations to their employers annually.

    This requirement is largely duplicative of a separate rule that requires each motor carrier to make an annual inquiry to obtain the motor vehicle record (MVR) for each driver it employs from every State in which the driver holds or has held a CMV operator's license or permit in the past year.

    To ensure motor carriers are aware of traffic convictions for a driver who is licensed by a foreign authority rather than by a State, the Agency amends the rule to provide that motor carriers must make an annual inquiry to each driver's licensing authority where a driver holds or has held a CMV operator's license or permit.

    Federal Register 030922.pdf (wildapricot.org)

  • 28 Feb 2022 10:22 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Published in today’s Federal Register is a DOT Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM).  The NPRM is available at https://www.govinfo.gov/content/pkg/FR-2022-02-28/pdf/2022-02364.pdf and in the attachment.  Today we will post it on the ODAPC webpage at https://www.transportation.gov/odapc/frpubs.

    The proposals in the NPRM include:

    1. Permit Oral Fluid testing as an alternative drug testing method for DOT-regulated workplace testing,
    2. Harmonize, as needed, with the new Mandatory Guidelines for Federal Workplace Drug Testing Programs established by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services,
    3. Allow direct observation urine collections by any licensed or certified medical professional legally authorized to take part in a medical examination in the jurisdiction where the collection takes place,
    4. Allow MRO staff to contact pharmacies to verify a prescription that an employee provided,
    5. ‘Un-cancel’ a test that was ‘cancelled’ by the MRO if circumstances dictate,
    6. Allow the use of options of official identification numbers issued by State or Federal authorities to be used instead of Social Security Numbers,
    7. Laboratories provide to DOT bi-annually data that is categorized by test reason and specimen type,
    8. Laboratories withdrawing from the National Laboratory Certification Program provide DOT with the final data report for the reporting period in which they withdrew,
    9. Laboratories would be required to keep non-negative specimens for only 90 days,
    10. Require that the phone number provided on the Federal Drug Testing Custody Control Form for collectors connect directly to the collector and/or the collector’s supervisor and not a general call center,
    11. Remove provisions that no longer are necessary (such as compliance dates),
    12. Remove the ‘cross-reference’ sections found at the end of the ‘subpart’ sections,
    13. Add clarifying language to other provisions (such as updated definitions and web links where necessary), and
    14. Allow Substance Abuse Professional (SAP) to conduct evaluations virtually.


  • 28 Feb 2022 10:08 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    The New Jersey Motor Vehicle Commission is adding 17 more vehicle types to its online registration renewal and replacement services. This will allow more customers to conduct their NJMVC business without the need for a visit to an agency.

    This expansion of online services is made possible through a new document upload feature on the NJMVC website that will allow the efficient and secure upload of required documents by customers so these specific 17 registrations can be renewed or replaced online. The new document upload feature paves the way for even more NJMVC services to be offered online in the future.

    “This announcement will impact more than 80,000 vehicles in New Jersey. It’s a significant milestone for the NJMVC as we continue to build out our capacity for online services,” said NJMVC Chief Administrator Sue Fulton. “Our goal is to push as many transactions online as possible for improved customer service and convenience, and with safety and security still foremost in mind.”

    As of today, Feb. 24, the following additional vehicle registration codes are newly eligible for online renewal and replacement:

    • taxi (Code 13)
    • limousine (Code 14)
    • school bus I (Code 17)
    • school bus II (Code 18)
    • special road machinery trailer (Code 23)
    • farm truck (Code 31)
    • light duty tow truck (Code 32)
    • heavy duty tow truck (Code 33)
    • solid waste dual reg (Code 39)
    • constructor dual reg (Code 41)
    • farm use (Code 51)
    • agricultural tractor (Code 52)
    • contractor equipment in transit (Code 56)
    • migrant farm worker (Code 58)
    • 55,000 lbs. or commercial vehicles 55,000 lbs. or more (Code 11)
    • non-commercial vehicles 55,000 lbs. (Code 16)
    • ambulance no fee (Code 12)

    Customers with vehicles in the above categories will be eligible to use the new document upload feature to submit documents and renew their registration online only if it has not expired before Sept. 2021.

    A request for a duplicate or replacement registration online for these vehicle codes will not require the uploading of documents.

    Additionally, customers who have received renewal notices for vehicles in the above categories with an expiration before June 2022 will not get the required PIN preprinted on their application for renewal. To renew online, these customers will have to request a PIN through the NJMVC’s New Jersey Motor Vehicle Commission - Online Services (state.nj.us). The PIN request service also is embedded in the process for online registration renewal at the NJ MVC | Vehicle Registration Renewal (state.nj.us).

    The NJMVC has steadily moved transactions online throughout the pandemic so that about 80% of all transactions can now be completed online. These 17 added vehicle codes will push the figure of vehicle registration renewals and replacements that can be completed online closer to 100%.

    For motor vehicle services and more NJMVC news and updates, please visit NJ Motor Vehicle Commission

  • 17 Feb 2022 10:29 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    The American Transportation Research Institute (ATRI) today released a new report analyzing trucking industry impacts from the rising costs of insurance. This analysis, a top priority of ATRI’s Research Advisory Committee, utilized detailed financial and insurance data from dozens of motor carriers and commercial insurers. The report assesses immediate and longer-term impacts that rising insurance costs have on carrier financial conditions, safety technology investments and crash outcomes as well as strategies used by carriers to manage escalating insurance costs. 

    The study found that carrier strategies included decreasing insurance coverage levels, raising deductibles and/or Self-Insurance Retention (SIR) levels, and decreasing investments in other cost centers. In spite of this increased liability exposure, out-of-pocket incident costs and carrier crash involvement remained stable or decreased among a majority of respondents. 

    Despite reductions in insurance coverage, rising deductibles and improved safety, almost all motor carriers experienced substantial increases in insurance costs from 2018 to 2020. Premiums increased across all fleet sizes and sectors, with small fleets paying more than three times as much as very large fleets on a per-mile basis. One-third of respondents reported cutting wages or bonuses due to rising insurance costs, and 22 percent cut investments in equipment and technology – potentially creating future safety and driver shortage concerns. However, in the short-term, crash data confirms that carriers that raised deductibles or reduced insurance coverage were generally incentivized to reduce crashes in the subsequent year. 

    Finally, the research describes a process for calculating the “Total Cost of Risk” in order to evaluate the full scale and impact of rising insurance costs on a carrier’s long-term safety and financial viability, including safety investments in drivers, programs and technologies. 

    “ATRI’s study corroborates the Triple-I’s research on rising insurance costs and social inflation – that increased litigation and other factors dramatically raise insurers’ claim payouts,” noted Dale Porfilio, Chief Insurance Officer of the Insurance Information Institute. “External factors that go well beyond carrier safety force commercial trucking insurance costs to increase, which then requires carriers to redesign their business strategies. The higher premiums ultimately tend to be passed along to consumers in the form of higher prices for goods and services.” 

    A copy of the full report is available through ATRI's website here.


  • 16 Feb 2022 11:02 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    The Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance (CVSA) has announced this year’s International Roadcheck dates as May 17-19 with a focus on wheel ends. 

    International Roadcheck is 72-hour high-visibility, high-volume commercial motor vehicle inspection and enforcement initiative. Commercial motor vehicle inspectors in Canada, Mexico and the U.S. will conduct North American Standard Inspections of commercial motor vehicles and drivers at weigh and inspection stations, on roving patrols, and at temporary inspection sites. 

    Each year, CVSA focuses on a specific aspect of a roadside inspection. This year, the focus will be on wheel ends. Wheel end components support the heavy loads carried by commercial motor vehicles, maintain stability and control, and are critical for braking. Violations involving wheel end components historically account for about one quarter of the vehicle out-of-service violations discovered during International Roadcheck, and past International Roadcheck data routinely identified wheel end components as a top 10 vehicle violation. 

    During International Roadcheck, commercial motor vehicle inspectors examine large trucks and motorcoaches and the driver’s documentation and credentials using CVSA’s North American Standard Inspection Program procedures which are the uniform inspection steps, processes and standards established to ensure consistency in compliance, inspections and enforcement. Using the North American Standard Out-of-Service Criteria, also established by CVSA, inspectors identify critical out-of-service violations that if found, require the inspector to restrict the driver or vehicle from travel until those violations or conditions are addressed. 

    Vehicles that successfully pass a North American Standard Level I or Level V Inspection without any critical vehicle inspection item violations may receive a CVSA decal. In general, a vehicle with a valid CVSA decal will not be re-inspected during the three months while the decal is valid. Instead, inspectors will focus their efforts on vehicles without a valid CVSA decal. 

    “We want every vehicle on our roadways to be in proper working order for the safety of the driver operating that vehicle and everyone traveling on our roadways,” said CVSA President Capt. John Broers with the South Dakota Highway Patrol. 

    In consideration of COVID-19 and the health and safety of commercial motor vehicle inspectors and drivers, law enforcement personnel will conduct inspections following their departments’ health and safety protocols during International Roadcheck. 

    International Roadcheck is a CVSA program with participation by the U.S. Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, the Canadian Council of Motor Transport Administrators, Transport Canada, and Mexico’s Ministry of Infrastructure, Communications and Transportation.


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