• Timely Topics

  • Below you will find more information on some of the stories and topics that continue to impact the trucking industry. Many of them have links to additional resources. Please take a moment explore these and stay up to date on the latest. Watch your inbox for each week's "Timely Topics" in the Express e-Newsletter!



    White House Report: Tolling a "Prime Mechanism" for Highway Funding; Trucking Should Pay More

    A report issued last week by the White House reiterates the Trump Administration’s stance that tolling should be a prime mechanism for boosting highway funding. The report also says that the administration doesn’t think trucking pays enough in taxes to offset “the negative externalities [trucks] generate” relative to highway conditions, congestion and “accident risk.” Read more


    Americans Split on Federal Fuel Tax Increase; Trump Praises Oregon's VMT Tax

    With the proposed infrastructure plan now laid out, the question remains of how to pay for it. Tolling and raising the federal fuel tax are top ideas; however, President Trump may be a fan of more user-based fees, praising Oregon's VMT tax. Read more


    Truckers Can Receive Free Pneumonia, Shingles Vaccine Shots Through Sept. 20

    Truckers may get vouchers for free pneumonia and shingles vaccines, redeemable at Kroger, the Little Clinic, Walgreens and CVS. They are available through Sept. 20. Read more


    FMCSA Clarifies ELD Confusion for Horse Haulers

    A new set of guidelines are meant to reduce confusion over whether livestock haulers, including those who transport their horses, are required to install electronic logging devices on their trucks or possess a commercial driver license. Read more



    Carriers Try Creative Compensation Programs to Bring in New Drivers

    With the driver shortage getting worse, fleets are getting more creative when it comes to compensating drivers. Recruitment and retainment methods include a weekly salary, a team bonus program and offering more predictability in scheduling. American Trucking Associations last year reported the shortage at more than 50,000 drivers. Research firm FTR said the number is closer to 250,000 drivers when firms such as UPS Inc., and oil field service outfits are included. Read more.



    Find Answers to Questions Around New Entry-level Driver Training Rule

    In 2016, FMCSA announced the final rule establishing comprehensive national minimum training standards for entry-level commercial truck and bus operators seeking to obtain a commercial driver’s license (CDL) or certain endorsements. Applicants seeking a CDL would be required to demonstrate proficiency in knowledge training and behind-the-wheel training on a driving range and on a public road, with training obtained from an instructional program that meets FMCSA standards. The entry-level driver training Final Rule went into effect on February 6, 2017, with a compliance date of February 2020. But, what does this mean for carriers and new drivers?

    FMCSA has developed a comprehensive list of Frequently Asked Questions. Click here to review them. You can also find more information on the Final Rule on FMCSA's website.


    Reminder: Rules Change on Driver Meal Expenses

    The federal tax reform package that passed Congress December 20 changes the rules for some truck drivers on the expenses they incur for meals and incidentals while they’re away from home on travel.  Employee truck drivers whose carrier does not pay them a per diem allowance will no longer be able to take the costs of meals and incidentals as an itemized deduction, as they have in the past.  Although this will be hard on some drivers, it may not make a difference to many, since the new tax law also doubles the standard deduction for taxpayers, so that fewer drivers will be itemizing at all.  This change is effective now, for 2018 taxes.  Note that owner-operators will still be able to deduct their costs for meals and incidentals, just as they have in the past, since owner-operators are in business for themselves, and those costs are deductible business expenses.  Finally, some carriers pay their employee drivers a separate per diem allowance to cover meals and incidentals.  The rules for carriers and drivers in that situation do not change.  We might caution, however, that the rules pertaining to per diem programs are complicated and somewhat tricky to implement. Click here to read more.


    Registration is Now Open for the 2018 CVSA Workshop in Portland, Oregon

    The CVSA Workshop provides the opportunity for enforcement, government officials and industry to continue to work together to advance commercial motor vehicle safety. This is your chance to collaborate with your colleagues from across North America to affect meaningful changes to the overall culture of transportation safety. This unique opportunity is coming to Portland on April 8 – 12, 2018 at the Hilton Portland Downtown.

    • Get the full schedule of sessions and events here

    • Registration and other general information can also be found online


    OTA staff will be periodically monitoring this page to add new topics and remove outdated information. Keep your eye out for our Express e-Newsletter each week for a full list of member-only articles!

  • Click for full calendar