May 2013

REMEMBER RANDOM TESTING. If you don’t have a random drug and alcohol system in place, or if you are not participating in a random screening consortium, you’re running on borrowed time. DOT/FMCSA audits have increased in the past several years, and as a DOT requirement, all drivers must be part of a random drug and alcohol testing program. The FMCSA rules apply to “safety sensitive employees” including all drivers and anyone who owns or leases commercial motor vehicles, for hire motor carriers, private motor carriers and more. Alcohol testing is straightforward for alcohol in the system, drugs tested for include marijuana, cocaine, amphetamines, opiates, and PCP. If you would like additional information regarding random drug testing, go to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration website at www.fmcsa.gov.

MAP-21. FMCSA Administrator Anne S. Ferro testified before the U.S. House Committee on Highways and Transit on March 14 on the progress of the FMCSA’s MAP-21 initiative. MAP-21 is the shortened name for the Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century Act which is a series of initiatives designed to improve safety of commercial motor vehicles. Included among the initiatives is the creation of a alcohol and drug testing national clearinghouse, which will be a database accessible to employers to check prior to hiring drivers. In addition, the proposed rules for ELDs (Electronic Logging Devices), which have undergone scrutiny, were reported to be in the preparation stage as the initiative moves forward.

HIGHWAY FUNDING CUTS PROPOSED. House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan’s proposed budget would reduce highway infrastructure spending from $40.3 billion in fiscal year 2014 to $100 million in fiscal 2015, according

to an analysis from the Congressional Budget Office.

TONNAGE UP. Total tonnage of freight hauled by for-hire trucking companies increased nearly 3% in February according to the American Trucking Associations. This increase indicates a great start to 2013 according to ATA economist Bob Costello. Costello’s commented that “While I believe that the overall economy will be sluggish in the first quarter, trucking likely benefited in January from an inventory destocking that transpired late last year, thus boosting volumes more than normal early this year as businesses replenish those lean inventories.”

MORE BETTER NEWS. While the tonnage reports from the ATA show that 2013 got off to a good start for truckers, there is more good news in the pipeline. Orders for durable goods increased 5.7% in February according to the U.S. Commerce Department beating a predicted increase of less than 4%. For truckers this is good news; durable goods such as refrigerators and other appliances benefit truckers both as hauling finished goods and raw materials.

REALLY? A trucker was driving when a policeman pulled him over. He rolled down his window and said to the officer, "Is there a problem, Officer?" "No problem at all. I just observed your safe driving and am pleased to award you a $5,000 Safe Driver Award. Congratulations. What do you think you're going to do with the money?" He thought for a minute and said, "Well, I guess I'll go get that drivers' license."

Giving money and power to government is like giving whiskey and car keys to teenage boys.

-P. J. O'Rourke