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About: Alyson Stasek

Recent Posts by Alyson Stasek

Truckers are classified as ‘unskilled labor’? Nope


Todd Dills | December 19, 2018

If I’ve heard it once I’ve heard it a thousand times in the back-and-forth commentary over this or that issue, often centered around the issue of compensation: “If the Department of Labor didn’t classify us as unskilled labor …” What typically follows is the notion that this or that issue would be better for drivers.

The video here, from the folks at TruckerNation, does a pretty good job of debunking the notion that truckers fall into an “unskilled” classification, one used in government not by DOL at all, as Andrea Marks explains there, but by the Social Security Administration for various purposes. There, depending on the level of CDL obtained, and considering endorsements, amount of time worked and more, drivers are classified as either “skilled” or “semi-skilled,” she says. Never “unskilled.” It’s worth a watch.

What the video doesn’t get to is what’s typically happened in my own experience talking to folks all around the industry, as hinted at in the first paragraph here. When someone invokes the old “unskilled” notion, asked for some clarification what I’ve most often then heard is an invocation of the reality of the exemption from overtime-pay protections for DOT-regulated motor carrier employee drivers — that exemption was codified as part of the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938. Follow this link for a clear fact sheet on it.

There’s been no shortage of talk about the seeming absurdity of an industry regulated by the hour but paid by the mile over the years, for sure. More seriously, you don’t have to look far to find past advocacy efforts centered on the notion that removal of the motor carrier exemption from overtime-pay requirements for safety-sensitive workers would force a better standard of compensation for company drivers, and drive better income conditions for owner-operators by extension. (Read owner-operator Joe Ammons’ past such argument here, and some distillation of related changing conditions — how that ELD mandate figures in — via this link. Find some carriers moving to more of a salary-type compensation model, with a miles incentive on top, via my own reporting from earlier in the year; such moves, when true earning potential is there, might be interpreted as a kind of advocacy in and of themselves.) In an industry where much energy is being expended by attorneys and drivers suing carriers over state meal and rest breaks in California, and by motor carrier interests hoping to overturn the outlier court action that is enabling such suits, changing the motor carrier exemption to the FLSA doesn’t seem to figure into compensation conversation so much of late.

What’s your view on it? If the FLSA exemption were removed and carriers were forced to adjust to the reality of overtime pay requirements, do you think your own particular situation in the industry would improve ultimately or not?

You can find the original article at:


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Record number of truckers killed in workplace fatalities in 2017


Matt Cole            | December 19, 2018


Truck driver occupational fatalities rose in 2017 to the highest number since at least 2003, according to numbers released Tuesday by the Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics.


BLS says the 840 truck drivers killed on the job in 2017 represented 77 percent of the 1,084 motor vehicle operators killed on the job last year — the most since it began tracking occupational statistics in 2003. There were 786 truckers killed on the job in 2016.


In total, there were 1,443 fatal injuries in the transportation and material moving occupations in 2017, a nearly 4 percent increase over the 1,388 fatalities in 2016, according to BLS.


BLS’ numbers are in line with those released in October by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. NHTSA’s numbers showed there were 841 occupants of large trucks killed in crashes in 2017.


Across all occupations in the U.S., there were 5,147 workplace fatalities in 2017, down slightly from the 5,190 reported in 2016.


Other occupations with high fatalities in 2017 were:


    Construction – 965 fatalities

    Installation, maintenance and repair occupations – 414 fatalities

    Management occupations – 396 fatalities

    Building and grounds cleaning and maintenance occupations – 326 fatalities


Original article:


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FMCSA to allow year-long learner’s permits for new truck drivers

Some trucking groups argue that this will allow carriers to keep their seats filled with cheaper trainee drivers for longer.


FMCSA to allow year-long learner's permits for new truck drivers


A newly published Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) rule will give states the choice to issue learner’s permits that are valid for a full year to truck driver trainees.


In documents to be filed in the Federal Register on Friday, the FMCSA gives states permission — but does not require them — to issue Commercial Learner’s Permits (CLPs) that are valid for a whole year instead of the six months that they are currently valid for.


The new rule also gives states permission to allow trainees to renew their CLP for an additional six months after the one year mark.


If a trainee fails to obtain their CDL before the permit expires, he or she would be required to reapply for their CLP.


When the rule was first proposed by the FMCSA back in June of 2017, the FMCSA argued that it would help to fight the “truck driver shortage.” They also said that the year-long CLPs would cut down on paperwork for states and reduce “hassle and cost” for CDL applicants.


Some trucking groups have spoken out against the year-long CLPs because they believe that it could give carriers a way to keep cheaper trainees behind the wheel for longer. OOIDA’s director of legislative affairs Collin Long said, “We have some concerns about that and how it could be used to keep trainees in that training mode for an extended period of time and pay them significantly less because they don’t have their full CDL.”


OOIDA also argued that relying more heavily on trainees instead of licensed truck drivers would have a negative impact on safety.


Original article can be found at:

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Free Webcast from 2019 Trade & Transportation Outlook: A BCO Primer for a Turbulent Year Ahead

Sign up for this free Webcast from – a great free webcast for shippers and forecast for where shipping is heading in 2019.


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Women in Transportation – Changing America’s History

From the US Department of Transportation, “Women in Transportation – Changing America’s History” is a fascinating read.  Here is the introduction to give you a taster!


“Transportation has long been considered a man’s field, but throughout time, women have made significant contributions to the transportation industry and laid the groundwork for future innovation.  Women have worked in every mode of transportation, and in every type of job, from legislative and managerial positions to maintenance work. Since the time when travel was dominated by walking, horse-drawn carriages, and sailing ships, through the era of the rail-roads and automobiles, and now as aviation pushes into the frontiers of space, women have been part of the innovations, explorations, and manufacturing of transportation. Moreover, women have made these contributions to the transportation industry and to American society despite the fact they did not receive the right to vote until the 19th amendment was ratified on August 26, 1920. This guide describes innovative and remarkable women who have pioneered and succeeded in a predominantly male field. In this document, the coverage of different transportation modes is uneven.  The easiest to find and largest quantity of research material is on women in aviation, beginning with Harriet Quimby. There is still much work to be done to research and document the many contributions women have made in this and other fields of transportation.  More research needs to be conducted at the U.S. Patent Office, and the contributions of women at the major automobile manufacturers today should also be documented. We hope this resource document is only the first step in a long process to preserve the history of women in transportation.”


Read and download the entire document here:



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Though FMCSA operations unaffected, shutdown could delay hours of service revisions

James Jaillet | January 16, 2019 | Overdrive

The partial shutdown of the U.S. government could delay the publication of a proposed rule to reform hours of service regulations, according to a U.S. DOT official.

Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration officials hinted in December that a notice of proposed rulemaking offering potential revisions to federal hours requests could come as early as March. But the lingering closure of federal agencies will impede FMCSA’s ability to proceed with the rulemaking process, the official said.

Though the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration remains mostly unaffected by the shutdown, operations at other branches of the DOT have been hampered. More than 20,000 U.S. DOT workers are furloughed, including more than 400 of the 1,470 employees at the DOT’s Office of the Secretary (OST). Also, 327 employees at the White House’s Office of Management and Budget’s (OMB) 488 employees have been furloughed.

Those two agencies — the OST and the OMB — must review and approve the hours of service notice of proposed rulemaking before it’s published. Since operations at those agencies have been mostly shutdown, “everything’s stopped,” the official said, referring to the federal rulemakings process.

Govt. shutdown ripples out — though not toward military freight

And leased owner-op Jerry Boyd’s somewhat sanguine view on the year just ended, at odds with some independents running spot freight: “Everywhere you went,” Boyd …

The official didn’t say whether FMCSA had filed an hours of service proposal with OST, which must clear it before it heads to OMB. But there’s “back and forth” required between the three agencies (OST, OMB and FMCSA), the official said.

It usually takes weeks, if not months, for rulemakings to be cleared for publication. Once cleared, the proposed rule will be sent back to FMCSA.

“Until [the shutdown] is rectified,” the official said, the hour’s rule will be hung up in that procedural process.

What’s more, when the government shutdown ends and employees at the OST and OMB return to work, they’ll have a large backlog of rulemakings and filings to address from all other government agencies, the official said, which will further impede the hours of service proposal.

FMCSA boss Ray Martinez has insisted the agency wanted to “fast track” the hours of service rulemaking. However, that was well before the shutdown fight ensnared D.C. The partial government shutdown is now in its fourth week and is the longest in U.S. history. President Trump and Congressional leaders remain at odds over funding for a wall along the southern border of the U.S.

Despite the hours of service proposal likely being delayed by the shutdown, other FMCSA operations remain unaffected. Agency functions like compliance reviews, grants to states for enforcement, new entrant carrier processing, reviews of DataQs challenges and issuance in CDLs, to name a few, have not been affected by the lapse in funding for the U.S. DOT. FMCSA derives much of its funding from the Highway Trust Fund, funded by gas and diesel taxes and not annual appropriations from Congress.

In sum, more than 800,000 workers nationwide have been furloughed by the shutdown. Employees at many government contractors have also been furloughed over the funding lapse.

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Avoid getting stiffed: New flag on brokers with bonds pending cancellation can be effective recon tool

In early November, FMCSA stood up what amounts to a new flag on brokers/forwarders and motor carriers whose surety bonds/insurance have been marked  for cancellation by the provider.

This example of a new surety notice of pending cancellation is in the FMCSA’s Licensing and Insurance public-facing page for a broker who notified its surety provider, Transport Financial Services, it was voluntarily ceasing business at the end of the year, says TFS President Marold Studesville. Brokers whose bonds have been cancelled after a run-up in claims, too, will be thus flagged, partially sealing a loophole that allowed dishonest brokers to conduct business with no intent to pay even as they went under — or were formed with no intent to pay to begin with.

“The goal is to help the public who does business with these regulated entities know that an insurance company or financial institution that made the initial filing has submitted a pending cancellation of the entity’s policy in our system,” say reps from FMCSA’s Licensing and Insurance division. “The notice will remain in place until either the effective date of the updated filing has occurred, or that the authority has been revoked, due to the failure to comply with the insurance requirements.”

Read the complete article here.

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