Posted September 18, 2017 by Administrator
An amendment to delay the roll out of the electronic logging device (ELD) mandate that is slated to go into effect December 17, 2017 was recently defeated in the U.S. House of Representatives. The amendment would have stalled the EDL enforcement date for ten months.
Rep. Brian Babin (R-Texas) was sponsored by Rep. Brian Babin (R-Texas.) The amendment would have restricted funding for enforcement through the 2018 fiscal year, effectively delaying the mandate until September 30, 2018. The amendment was defeated with a 246-173 final vote.
Babin has also filed a bill in the House that will delay the ELD mandate’s enforcement date by two years to December 2019. This bill has been referred to the House of Appropriations Subcommittee on Transportation. The bill is seeking the implementation of the ELD mandate by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) be delayed for two years to give drivers time to make the transition from paper logs to an electronic logging device.
The purpose of the ELD rule is to create a safer work environment for drivers. It will also make it easier and faster to track and share records of duty status (RODS) information. The ELD will synchronize with the engine of the commercial vehicle to automatically record driving time, making sure that Hours of Service (HOS) records are accurate.
There are exceptions to the ELD mandate. The following drivers are not required, by law, to use an ELD, unless they volunteer to do so.
- Drivers who use traditional logs no more than 8 days during any 30-day period
- So called driveaway-towaway drivers (drivers who transport an empty vehicle for sale, lease or repair)
- Drivers of vehicles manufactured before the year 2000
An evaluation by the FMCSA studied the safety benefits for carriers that utilize an ELD. The FMCSA found that there is an 11.7% reduction in crash rates and a 50% reduction in hours-of-service violations; it is estimated that implementation of the ELD mandate will prevent 1,844 large truck crashes and save the lives of at least 26 people each year.
Motor carriers that meet the agricultural exemption or the covered farm vehicle FMCSA exemptions are not subject to the ELD rule while operating under the terms of the exemption. The duty status of the driver may be noted as either “off-duty” or “exempt.” Click here for more information on the agricultural exemption for the ELD mandate.
Posted June 13, 2017 by Administrator
In recent years, federal and state entities have engaged in an effort to reclassify independent contractors for motor carriers as employees. Sometimes authorities will conduct preemptive audits on the Department of Labor (DOL) compliance status to determine if companies are in compliance with federal and state labor laws as they apply to worker classification.
In order to ensure your company is in compliance, there are important tests that need to be adhered to when it comes to independent contractors versus employee status. Important tests to know are:
- The right to control
The overarching test of the right to control is whether or not the owner-operator controls the manner and means of completing the work. The one caveat to this test is when the control is originating from rules or regulations imposed by the Department of Transportation (DOT), Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) or other entity that governs the trucking industry. External regulatory controls are seen as mutual between the company and the owner-operator and therefore are not a determining factor in whether an individual is an employee or independent contractor.
The ABC test refers to three parts, listed as “A”, “B”, and “C.” In this test, the DOL has taken the position that most workers in the U.S. are employees under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA.) The one primary exception to this is if the owner-operator operates under the authority of multiple carriers.
- 3. Relative nature of the work
The nature of the work helps to define the relationship. If the work is considered integral to the business, it is more likely that the worker is an employee. Work that is temporary or non-integral may imply independent contractor status.
- Economic realities
The economic realities test is something that has been devised by some courts and federal agencies to help businesses determine the differences between an employee and independent contractors. Basically, the economic realities test considers how dependent or independent the worker is on the business. If a person gains a large part of their income from one business then they are likely an employee. Other factors to consider are level of skill, nature of the work, intent of the parties and social security taxes and benefits.
- IRS “20 Factor”
Tax liability is determined by the workers’ employment status. In order to help businesses determine whether a worker should be classified as an employee or independent contractor the IRS has devised twenty questions or factors called the “IRS 20 Factor Test on Employment Status.”
It’s critical that motor carriers and owner-operators understand the differences and legal implications of operating as an employee versus an independent contractor. While it may seem attractive to call your drivers owner-operators or independent contractors, it is vitally important that the tests for independent contractors are met if the driver is considered an owner-operator.
An important factor to consider is the right for an individual to sue the company should the driver be involved in an accident. If the driver meets the employee test, damages can be collected from the trucking company. If the driver can be classified as an independent contractor, then the other party in an accident is limited to the amount of damages they can recover from the contractor. The law does not accept the word of an employer in such a matter; the aforementioned tests will be taken into consideration in determining who is liable in the event of an accident.
To learn more about the issues that concern truck drivers today, trucking coverage and risk management, contact the experts at Cline Wood.
This document is not intended to be taken as advice regarding any individual situation and should not be relied upon as such. Marsh & McLennan Agency LLC shall have no obligation to update this publication and shall have no liability to you or any other party arising out of this publication or any matter contained herein. Any statements concerning actuarial, tax, accounting or legal matters are based solely on our experience as consultants and are not to be relied upon as actuarial, accounting, tax or legal advice, for which you should consult your own professional advisors. Any modeling analytics or projections are subject to inherent uncertainty and the analysis could be materially affective if any underlying assumptions, conditions, information or factors are inaccurate or incomplete or should change.
Posted April 18, 2016 by Administrator
Over the last year, several changes regarding FMCSA medical examination regulations have taken effect. As of April 20th, all medical examiners will have to adhere to the requirement stating they have to electronically submit MEC forms. But there are still more changes in store for doctors, truckers and commercial carriers regarding Medical Examination Certification information.
Changes Are Coming
Here is a list of the changes that are occurring now and will occur in the next three years for the medical examination process.
- Medical Examination Report form includes more questions that focus on the trucker’s medical history
- Medical Examination Report Form and Medical Examiner’s Certification Form are new and to be electronically transmitted (This is to be implemented in full force by April 20th)
- MEC information is to be electronically submitted once a month by medical examiners
- All electronically submitted certification data will be in a database accessible by law enforcement during roadside inquiries within 15 days of a certification exam
- All truckers will need to carry their exam certificate with them for 15 days after the date of their physical
- By June 22, 2018 medical examiners will have to transmit the result of a DOT physical the day the exam is performed
- After June 2018, the MEC data will be accessible as soon as it is transmitted by medical examiners
- Truckers will no longer be required to carry their certificates after June 2018 because law enforcement will have ready access to the information.
The speed and ease of access of results of medical certification exams does make it easier for truckers, commercial carries and law enforcement. There are some trucking trade groups, however, who see major problems with this process and have been trying to influence the FMCSA to implement changes in the medical examination regulations. So far their attempts have been unsuccessful.
To learn more about how the new DOT physicals process effects your truckers and your company, contact the experts at Cline Wood.