Florida Truck News - Spring 2021

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Spring 2021

At the Heart of Trucking

The Official Publication of Florida Trucking Association


THIS MUCH. Since 1968, TBS has been driving cash flow solutions for truck drivers. We take care of getting you paid so you can take care of your business.



4 | Senate President Wilton Simpson

By Alix Miller He’s a successful businessman, entrepreneur and one of the most powerful politicians in the state. But his favorite role is family man.



DEPARTMENTS President’s Message


Tort Reform Summit


Moves and News


Q + A with Sarah Wellman


FEATURES Senate President Wilton Simpson


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33 24



FTA Wins Champion Award


Driving Towards Vaccination




Telematics and Nuclear Verdicts


Who Controls the Data?


Truck Fleet Physical Security Integration: Unlocking its Full Potential



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VOLUME 80, NUMBER 1 • Q1 2021 STAFF: President and CEO, Kenneth S. Armstrong ken@floridatrucking.org Senior Vice President, Alix Miller alix@floridatrucking.org Vice President of Operations, Brian Nerland brian@floridatrucking.org Executive Assistant, Dot Butler dot@floridatrucking.org


350 E. College Ave. Tallahassee, FL  32301 www.floridatrucking.org EDITORIAL Editor: Alix Miller ADVERTISING Sales: Brian Nerland DESIGN & LAYOUT Art Director: Jeremy Ashmore Copyright - 2021 Florida Trucking Association.

President’s Message IN-PERSON Words we’ve grown to hate: unprecedented, new normal, virtual, remote, pandemic, social distancing (others) Words we’ll no longer take for granted: in-person, live, in the flesh, face to face (others) Trucking is inherently “in person.” Even something like healthcare which has always been face to face has now seen the advent of telehealth. But not trucking. You can shop online. You can order dinner online. You can be entertained online. Trucking, on the other hand, is always in person. So what a blessing that FTA is about to bring back in-person events! The Spring Conference in Tampa (Embassy Suites at USF) will be live and in person April 28 and 29. Annual Conference will come roaring back at Orlando’s Ritz-Carlton Grande Lakes July 22-23. The theme is FloridaStrong. Alas, no SuperTech or TDC was possible for 2021, but FTA won’t be continuing to sit on the virtual sidelines. Annual Conference plus full-scale Spring and Fall events are a good start. Florida and the U.S. are grateful and fortunate that this industry knows the meaning of the word “deliver.” When everyone else went virtual, we stayed real. Give yourself a pat on the back—and make reservations for upcoming events at www.FloridaTrucking.org/Events. Peace.

The contents of this publication may not be reproduced by any means, in whole or in part, without the prior written consent of FTA. For subscription information, please contact FTA at 850-222-9900. Postmaster: Address changes to Dot Butler, 350 E. College Avenue, Tallahassee FL 32301 Disclaimer: The opinions expressed by the authors of the articles contained in Florida Truck News magazine are those of the respective authors and do not necessarily represent the opinion of Florida Trucking Association or its member companies. Printed in Florida. Please recycle where facilities exist.


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Senate President Wilton Simpson

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COVER STORY: Senate President Wilton Simpson <

By Alix Miller No place was better for Senate President Wilton Simpson’s photoshoot for Florida Truck News than on a farm. His warm eyes and welcoming smile would make everyone from age 3 to 93, imagine themselves sitting on a front porch with him: a glass of sweet tea, the sun setting over a beautiful expanse of Florida farmland and good conversation. I immediately sensed a feeling of calm. A successful agricultural businessman and entrepreneur, Simpson is just as comfortable (and formidable) when walking the halls of the state Capitol or presiding over the Florida Senate. For good reason. He understands Florida—the people, the history and its pulse like few others. Simpson was adopted at age six and spent much of his childhood on an egg farm in Trilby, Florida in Pasco County. Before moving to Trilby, his first job was for his father’s paint contracting business. His most valuable education was working on his family farm starting at age 11—every day, before and after school. The tradition and importance of hard work and learning how to run a farm and business were an education and fostered a lifestyle worth preserving. Family life is just as important to Simpson today, as he and his wife Kathy live near his daughter Lauran and her husband Kenton. Proximity allows for plenty of time with his granddaughters and the light of their lives, Addy (6) and Emy (3). Their son Wilton, Jr. also lives right down the road, and all are looking forward to officially welcoming his fiancée Caroline to the family at the end of April. Simpson has owned and operated several businesses including an environmental services company, which specializes in asbestos removal, mold remediation, and general contracting. He has also owned a number of farms, primarily egg farms, but also citrus, including his farm in Trilby—a largescale egg-laying operation that supplies eggs for Florida’s families through supermarkets all over the state.

I couldn’t help but recognize how his childhood and work ethic mapped out his trajectory and placed him right where he belongs today. Was there a specific moment or event that made you want to enter politics?

When you start working at a very young age, like we did in my family, you learn really early on about the impacts of government in every aspect of business, so serving in government was something I always thought about. I wanted to make it easier for blue collar workers like me and my family. There are limited circumstances when government intervention and regulation are necessary, but, more often than not, government needs to just get out of the way and let people do their jobs, run their businesses and make a living. I came here with no government experience. I wasn’t born into a political family. I grew up working and was paying Social Security taxes before I had a driver’s license. When I got to Tallahassee, it didn’t take me long to figure out that there are a lot of people here who understand the inner workings of government, but too few who have direct, hands-on, day-to-day experience with running a business. There is great honor in government service, and I respect those who spend their careers in public life. However, in general I think politicians spend too much time focusing on the celebrity and prestige associated with elected service and forget about the quiet dignity of a hard day’s work. I wanted to be a voice for the working men and women of our state. Is there a philosophy by which you live your life?

What role has trucking played in your business?

Trucking is the lifeblood of any agriculture business. On my farm we have a fleet of trucks that transport 24 million dozen eggs a year to supermarkets across the state. But, trucking is more than just the parts of the business that you see. It’s also the things hardly anyone sees or thinks about. We are feeding a million chickens every day, so we rely on a fleet of trucks that deliver 100 tons of chicken feed daily. We are also trucking in the fuel, the packaging, cartons, flats, cleaning materials, all the raw materials that we need to run the farm from day to day. You really can’t overstate the importance of trucking in Florida, and the pandemic has highlighted that even more for people who maybe didn’t think about it before. We have seen the development of the so-called “Zoom Class” of workers whose jobs more easily transitioned to a work from home scenario during the lock down. I have nothing against working from home, but the reality is the only way that works is because farmers and truckers are not working from home. The only way 70 percent of society could lockdown and order groceries, cleaning supplies, clothing, and anything else you can think of online is because we had farmers and truckers who continued to work. We often talk about our healthcare workers as the heroes of the pandemic, and they are, but there is also a lot to be said for the blue-collar men and women whose hard work enabled everyone else to stay home and stay safe.

Hakuna Matata – No Worries. Bad things do happen, but most of the time they aren’t the things you spend your time worrying about. If you know that you worked hard, made your best effort, prepared yourself as best as you could, there is no need to worry.

Trucking is critical. That’s one reason it is shocking to see that in Washington they are considering a per mile tax on commercial trucks, which is going to do nothing but drive up the cost of goods for everyone. I was pleased to see the trucking industry push back against that idea.

Also, my Dad used to say “if you want to be successful you have to work at least a half day every day,” and we all know how many hours are in a day.

I’ve been very blessed and had many great successes in business, and now in politics, and with that comes the

Your biggest accomplishment?


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COVER STORY: Senate President Wilton Simpson <

ability to help others along the way. However, nothing compares to the blessing of family. Politics can give you a big head. That’s why I come home as often as I can. Being called “Mr. President” around Tallahassee is quite an honor, but it does pale in comparison to being called “Papa” and spending time on the farm with Addy and Emy. What is the biggest challenge the Legislature will face this year?

The budget is certainly going to put some constraints on us that didn’t exist a year ago. Right now, things aren’t looking as bad as they once did, and federal funding has been a part of that. But none of that funding is recurring. We have quite a bit more federal funding coming our way with the new federal relief act that just passed. In my view, our priority should be to reinvigorate this economy. We can do that with dynamic, one-time investments in our shovel-ready road projects and our water infrastructure. I believe we also ought to replenish our unemployment trust fund which would be a major tax cut for our Florida businesses. The balance of funds should go into our state reserves.

What are your overall goals during your time as Senate President? I’ve always disagreed with the view that presiding officers need to have some kind of checklist to determine whether or not they have been successful. To me the job is more about being responsive to the needs at hand. The pandemic has changed so many aspects of our lives in ways no one could have imagined, and so a lot of our work this session is going to be to address those issues – from the budget deficit I mentioned, to passing liability protections for businesses that are trying to safely reopen, to protecting our healthcare providers who have gone over and above the call of duty to help our citizens, there is a lot of work to be done. I also established a select committee to take a look at areas, like our unemployment system, where government fell short, so that we can be better prepared in the future. A personal priority of mine is fixing our child welfare system. The pandemic has created a tough budget year, but this is one area where we really have to step up. There’s so much potential in each and every child, but some are weighed down with issues that keep them from reaching it. Dollars wisely spent on the front end are dollars saved – more importantly lives that are saved through

the opportunities created. Government makes a horrible parent, but I think there are ways we can make it easier for loving adults to help children in need. I also realize there is a need to restore the honor associated with our “blue collar” workers. There is value and, quite frankly, high wages in jobs that do not require a four-year degree. I think there is a damaging narrative in our culture that promotes so-called “white collar” jobs that require a university degree as more important and more valuable than “blue collar” jobs that require a two-year degree or certificate. There is more we can do to incentivize students to enter in to the high wage and high value jobs our communities need, regardless of whether or not those jobs require a university degree. What comes next?

Most people in my district, let alone the rest of the state, don’t know who I am, and that is fine with me. I’m not worried about what comes next. My goal is to look back on this time and know that I used my experience as an adopted child, a farmer, a business owner, and an entrepreneur to be voice for children in state care and for the hard-working “blue collar” men and women who are the backbone of our state workforce. Photos by Norma Molina



annual conference JULY 22-24, 2021


n t l r a c z t ri s e k a l e d n gra


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Tort Reform Summit

William Large

Dan Cook

Association members, masked and socially-distanced, gathered for the FTA Tort Reform Summit (officially rebranded on-site as the Lawsuit Abuse Summit) in January, more than one year after our last event. Safety protocols were in place from both FTA and the Omni Jacksonville hotel, to ensure a healthy and productive meeting. Thanks to title sponsor Thermo King and additional event sponsors, 925 partners, Emerald Transportation and U.S. Legal Services, attendees enjoyed expertlevel panels from national leaders in law, politics, insurance and risk management. Featured speakers included a keynote regarding the Florida Supreme Court’s recent ruling on summary judgment and the role FTA played in the process by Edward Guedes, Partner and Chair of Appellate Practice Group, Weiss Serota Helfman Cole & Bierman, P.L. John Liberatore, Founder and President of Primacy Risk Services provided best practices and tips to 8 | SPRING 2021


manage trucking lawsuits in “Are you Managing Your Cases Right?” J. Daniel Cook, President and Practices Leader of TrueNorth provided insight into what truck insurers think of Florida; William Large, President of Florida Justice Reform Institute, educated members on current legislation expected to be debated in the 2021 Legislative Session; and Jennifer Hall, General Counsel and Executive Vice President of American Trucking Associations, joined Mark Delegal of Delegal Aubuchon and Ken Armstrong in a lively discussion on lawsuit abuse and finding resources to help. Chris Dudley led a Zoom discussion with Senator Jeff Brandes, Representative Daniel Perez and Senator Jim Boyd to provide insight into their perspectives on lawsuit abuse and how constituents can advance goals. Based on that discussion, Alix Miller moderated a panel with Ken Armstrong, Chris Dudley and William Large on FTA’s key legislative priorities and strategies for the year.

Featured guest speakers:

Senator Jim Boyd, CEO of Boyd Insurance and Investment Services, has a long history of public service. He was first elected to the Palmetto City Council in 1989 and went on to serve as the city’s mayor and vice-mayor. He also served as fire commissioner for the North River Fire District and a volunteer firefighter/EMT. Senator Jeff Brandes has made a name for himself as a pragmatic leader who embraces innovative technology and brings creative solutions to the problems facing Tampa Bay. With a particular interest in transportation, Jeff sponsored the bill bringing Google’s autonomous vehicle technology to Florida, where it is currently being tested. Among other committee assignments, Senator Brandes is serving as Chair of the Judiciary Committee. J. Daniel Cook joined the TrueNorth team in 2013. Previously holding executive

positions with an insurance company, multiple insurance agencies and a national broker, he brings a wealth of perspective. Dan is an avid student of insurance and finance and is deeply involved in the operational aspects of his clients’ businesses. Dan is currently Chair of the NAFC M&A Task Force and is a champion for litigation reform. A Fellow of the prestigious American Academy of Appellate Lawyers and ranked by Chambers USA in appellate law, Ed Guedes is widely known for his representation of business and government clients in high-stakes appeals. His in-depth knowledge and experience were further recognized when he was nominated in 2008 to fill a vacancy on the Florida Supreme Court. Ed is also Board Certified in Appellate Practice by the Florida Bar. He has litigated dozens of appeals before the Florida Supreme Court, Florida’s district courts of appeal and the U.S. Courts of Appeals. Jennifer Hall is the general counsel and executive vice president for legal affairs for the American Trucking Associations, the nation’s leading organization representing the interests of the trucking industry. As general counsel, Hall is responsible for ATA’s legal affairs, including the ATA Litigation Center. Prior to coming to ATA, Hall spent a decade as a professional staff member at the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, most recently as general counsel and deputy staff director. William W. Large is a passionate advocate for legal reform and an experienced attorney who led Gov. Jeb Bush’s fight to reform medical malpractice rules to cap damage awards. Prior to serving as president of FJRI, William served as Governor Bush’s deputy chief of staff and was responsible for coordinating and advancing Governor Bush’s vision from the governor’s executive office to several state agencies. John Liberatore has worked in the risk and claim management areas since 1979. He has held various

risk management positions as employee and consultant. He has developed and continues to refine an efficient and effective claim mitigation model which, at its core, is highly adept at cost-effectively challenging unrelated injury claims presented by liberal physicians and enterprising plaintiff attorneys. Liberatore has proven through benchmarking that Primacy’s model, when applied consistently, reduces both frequency and severity over 40% in liability and workers’ compensation. From the time he was 6 years old, Representative Daniel Perez has called his Westchester neighborhood home. Today, as a successful attorney and as a dedicated member of that community, Daniel is committed to serving and protecting the residents and families of District 116 in Tallahassee. Rep. Perez is currently serving as Chair of the House Judiciary Committee.


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FTA Wins 2021 Truckers Against Trafficking Champion Award

Ken Armstrong participating in the ENDit Movement this winter: a statewide event bringing attention to slavery and human trafficking. Photo by Alex Workman

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Florida Trucking Association (FTA) has been named the recipient of the 2021 Truckers Against Trafficking (TAT) Champion Award in the Association Category. In announcing the award, TAT Deputy Director Kylla Lanier said, “Florida Trucking Association has been one of our staunchest supporters in the fight against human trafficking, taking this issue on as their own and making it a priority. Through every avenue available to them, they have leveraged their influence on TAT’s behalf to help build an army of eyes and ears on our roadways to recognize and report this crime. I am beyond proud to present this much deserved TAT Champion Award to FTA.”

the fight to end the crime of human trafficking.

“Florida Trucking Association is honored to be the 2021 recipient of the Truckers Against Trafficking Champion Award,” said Ken Armstrong, President and CEO of FTA. “Safety is the number one priority for our members—ensuring motorists are safe on our roads and the most vulnerable are protected. We are proud of the leadership role FTA and professional commercial truck drivers play in spotting and reporting victims of human trafficking.”

Examples of the FTA’s work with TAT include:

The fight a gainst the injustice of human trafficking is the work of thousands of dedicated and committed people taking place around the world. Without the support, commitment and actions of the organizations, associations and state agency partners TAT works with, the gains made in the fight against human trafficking in the United States would take a huge leap backward. Each year, therefore, TAT recognizes and honors the outstanding creative, innovative, generous and dedicated efforts of specific partners, whose actions have significantly helped to engage more members of the industries TAT works with, as well as the efforts of more agencies and organizations within their state and the nation, in

• Speaking to the state human trafficking coalition about trucking’s position on human trafficking

• Working with Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles to include substantial TAT information in the driver’s manual • Co-hosting a TAT Coalition Build with the Florida Attorney General’s Office • Participating in the launch of the Florida Highway Heroes program

• Ensuring the Florida Road Team was TAT Trained • Educating legislators on prospective bills concerning human trafficking trainingfor truckers • Publishing articles in the Florida Truck News about TAT and human trafficking and keeping TAT training on FTA members’ radar through frequent messaging from FTA leaders

• Participating on a leadership panel at the state Human Trafficking Summit • Becoming a consistent Copper Level TAT sponsor • Issuing a challenge from the FTA Board to all members to TAT train their drivers • Inviting TAT to present to company leadership and safety directors at the Florida Truck Driving Championships and the FTA Annual Conference and asking TAT to present to the Florida ThirdParty Testers conference

“Florida Trucking Association continues to go above and beyond to support our mission to end human trafficking in our state,” said Florida Attorney General Ashley Moody. “They are one of our earliest and most reliable teammates in raising awareness about this horrific crime—with thousands of FTA members participating in anti-human trafficking trainings every year. I am thrilled they are being recognized for the vital role they play in this crucial fight to stop human trafficking and save lives.” “Florida Trucking Association has long advocated on behalf of Florida’s trucking and transportation industry, and has worked tirelessly to combat human trafficking on our roads and in our communities,” said FLHSMV Executive Director Terry L. Rhodes. “We congratulate FTA on this well-deserved award and thank them for their continued partnership in our shared effort to end human trafficking.” “Florida Trucking Association has long been committed to increasing awareness about human trafficking and providing educational resources for its members. Through their efforts, countless trucking professionals have learned the signs and where to report suspected trafficking. We are grateful for their commitment to ending this horrible exploitation in our state and congratulate them on this tremendous recognition,” said Erin Collins, Executive Director of Florida Alliance to End Human Trafficking.


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Loss of Use Damages: Experts Advise Getting to “Yes” By David Purinton When your life and business are on the road, accidents are a fact of life. If you have spent any amount of time in the trucking industry, you know this is true because you have had to handle damage claims as part of your experience. Even with all of your industry knowledge, it is possible that you are leaving money on the table. This money is found in “Loss of Use” damages, and you should recover it whenever your property is damaged by someone else. Because loss of use damages are not well known or understood, parties who have suffered property damage often do not know they are recoverable or do not know how to maximize them as part of your damage claim against a responsible party. Let’s say one of your well-trained drivers is on the highway. Another driver is not paying attention and hits your company tractor and trailer. Your tractor and trailer are both damaged and out of service for a week while you get them repaired. You present your claim to the other driver’s insurance company and they offer you the cost of repairs. You are made whole, right? No, you have not been, but they are counting on you not knowing that. You are entitled to loss of use as part of your damage claim against them. What is loss of use? It is money

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designed to compensate you for the lost use of your property. You were unable to use your tractor and trailer for a week while they were being repaired. This leaves a week that you lost the ability to use your property the way you wanted. The insurance company of the party that hit you is not going to offer you payment for loss of use. They are counting on you either not knowing that you should recover it or not knowing how to get them to pay it. The fact is, you did not get to use your property during the time it was out of service, and you are therefore entitled to recover the lost use of your property as part of your claim. Typically, loss of use is determined by identifying the fair market value of a replacement or rental during the time reasonably required for repairs to be completed. A common occurrence in pursuing your loss of use claim is that the other insurance company will tell you that you have other tractors/ trailers available, or they will say you didn’t have other jobs lined up that you lost revenue from because you couldn’t use this specific tractor and trailer. They may even say you have to show them “lost profits” to be able to recover your loss of use damage. They are trained to say “No” — you should arm yourself with the knowledge to get them to say “Yes.”


Loss of use is an “intrinsic” loss, as the Colorado Supreme Court said in a case filed (PurCo v. Koenig). That means it is an inherent part your loss. If your property is damaged, you cannot use it while it is being repaired. The right to use it is the right to use it how and when you want, in its non-damaged condition. It does not depend on whether you have other vehicles or other jobs or whether you did or did not lose profits. It is dependent on whether you had property that was damaged that you can no longer use how and when you wanted. There is also a rule that says the party who damages your vehicle cannot get benefits to which you are entitled as part of your loss. This rule is called the “Collateral Source” rule. This rule dictates that the party responsible must pay for market value repairs, loss of use relative to the damaged tractor/trailer only and potentially other damages we have not discussed in this article. Insurance companies are in the business of saying “No”. That is okay — that is their business. Through court cases and the tenacity of a few who have pushed hard to recover loss of use, insurance companies are slowly learning that they are wrong. They cannot dictate to you their own terms for recovery. David Purinton is President of SDI, an FTA member.


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Driving toward vaccination a part of a carrier’s wellness program By Wendy King and Lynn Bolduc As the U.S. vaccine rollout accelerates, freight carriers are pushing to get their workforce better access to vaccinations and working to integrate the COVID-19 vaccine into their corporate wellness strategy. America’s 3.5 million truckers are on the front lines in the battle against the coronavirus pandemic since drivers, parcel carriers and dockworkers are crucial to keeping the economy running. Yet drivers remain part of the national debate over who should get priority for the shots; teachers, public-transit workers and other essential workers jockey for a place in vaccination lines defined by national and regional priorities. While transport and logistics workers are considered essential under federal recommendations for prioritizing vaccine access, many jurisdictions have yet to make truck drivers eligible, due to the phased release of the vaccine. Over-the-road truckers face other hurdles as eligibility broadens. States receive doses based on their population, and some require people to live or work in a state to get vaccinated there. Shots are largely administered by local 14 | SPRING 2021

jurisdictions, but truckers don’t easily fit into operations rooted in particular places and times. American Trucking Associations has urged the CDC to prioritize vaccine access for truck drivers, and National Association of Truckstop Operators, a national trade group for the travel plaza and truck-stop industry, wants to set up vaccination centers at truck stops. While that plays out, integrating the COVID-19 vaccine into a corporate wellness strategy can be a great way to increase engagement and boost vaccination uptake.

Tying vaccinations to wellness programs A number of notable national employers have grabbed headlines for offering their workers cash, paid time off and gift cards for getting vaccinated. Despite some legal uncertainty around incentives for workplace wellness initiatives, as the efficacy of the drugs continues to be proven in the millions of Americans vaccinated, the trend to incentivize will continue to grow. Incentivizing for vaccines is not a new concept in the world of corporate wellness. Flu vaccinations have been part of


wellness strategies for years. Keep in mind though, that incentives for wellness programs are not without their complexities

What kinds of incentives are permissible? Much like a flu vaccination program, the guidelines for adding the COVID vaccination to a wellness program mean compliance with applicable federal, state or local laws. The delays from some fleet carriers in structuring a COVID vaccination strategy are caused by the lack of guidance on incentive limits from the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. The EEOC’s longawaited proposed rules regarding wellness programs were released in January 2021, but then put on hold pending review by the new administration, prompting a consortium of 40 business groups in February to urge the EEOC for guidance. Until clear guidance on incentives limits is published by the EEOC, proceed with care and talk to your legal advisors. Risk levels associated with incentivizing the COVID vaccine will depend on a number of factors including the amount of the incentive being offered, who administers the vaccine and your protocols for

accommodating employees who cannot be vaccinated for medical or religious reasons. Human resources offices would assume the least risk by simply educating around vaccine safety and availability. Other lower risk strategies might include granting a set amount of paid time off to get the vaccination itself and making that benefit available to all employees. In this scenario, there is no tracking of who got the vaccination and no penalties for not receiving it. Another lowerrisk path would be to offer modest incentives, like a water bottle or t-shirt, for those who vaccinated. This puts no undue pressure on an employee to participate. Keep in mind, the greater the value of the incentive rewarded for getting a vaccine, the greater the risk for the employer. This is because the higher the financial value, the greater chance your program could be viewed as unnecessarily coercive, making an

employee feel like participating was not voluntary. And this would be a violation of the wellness program rules.

of the mental health resources available to them under their health plans, or through their Employee Assistance Programs.

Address employee concerns

Wellness programs that incorporate COVID vaccine initiatives can be an important step forward for organizations who use a combination of strategies: a strong education campaign, promoting available health resources, improving access to vaccinations where possible and motivating employees to get the vaccination through a fully vetted incentive program.

Since the onset of the coronavirus pandemic, driver pay is way up and companies are paying attention to more driver issues, implementing wellness programs and enhancing training and communication. It’s critical for company leaders to set the tone by visibly getting their own vaccines, as well as helping drivers navigate available resources. You can set employee expectations and calm fears. Consider the mental well-being of workers while vaccination plans proceed. As a society, we are dealing with a mental health crisis as a function of the coronavirus pandemic and its fallout. While education around it may allay fears, HR should also see this as an opportunity to remind employees

Lynn Bolduc is an Insurance Specialist for Hub International Transportation, a division of Hub International Limited. Wendy King is the Director of Health and Performance for Hub International and a leader in the field of healthcare communications and corporate wellness strategy. Hub International is a member of FTA.



FLORIDA TRUCK NEWS FTA GFS Half Page Ad Issue 1 2021.indd 1

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Telematics Offers Hope in the Nuclear (Verdict) Era By Marco Encinas Fatal accidents are a tragic occurrence for all parties involved. The transportation industry – including telematics providers – should make preventing these tragedies its highest priority. With the use of telematics, the latest in video technology, and connected vehicles, many of these incidents can be prevented through consistent – and proactive – vehicle maintenance and continuous driver monitoring, coaching and evidence-based accountability, saving countless dollars across the industry and, more importantly, many lives. For better or worse, the proliferation of civil cases with jury verdicts totaling more than $10 million, known as “nuclear verdicts,” has significantly altered the business of fleet management. For instance, insurance premiums have doubled every several years while general inflation marches at a much slower pace, according to The Wall Street Journal. When a nuclear verdict hits a mid-sized trucking company, 16 | SPRING 2021

it often triggers a ripple effect throughout the industry. While the company that faces the judgment could be bankrupted, others that have nothing to do with it could see their insurance premiums spike as well. This economic fall-out comes from the financial needs insurance providers have to keep cash reserves available for massive verdictinduced payouts. With more nuclear verdicts in the industry, more cash is needed. With every verdict, each fleet client is seen as a riskier and riskier business—even if nothing has changed within a particular fleet. In order to collect so much money, insurance companies have been increasing premiums on a regular basis, and those growing costs have cut deep into the profits of fleet managers. The only way to reverse it is through serious investments in safety, especially telematics solutions. With fewer accidents comes fewer civil complaints and, ultimately, a rebalancing of the risk equation from an actuarial standpoint, which benefits everyone.


The potential to protect drivers and pedestrians cannot be understated. Telematics solutions when implemented with driver safety education, accountability and disciplinary action for negligent drivers will prevent the tragic loss of life more effectively than even the harshest nuclear verdicts because they are based on proactive and predictive analytics— not a reactive civil procedure that only begins after the tragedy has occurred. Currently, juries have been triggering huge payouts, and much has been made about their validity. Some legislators have called for capping nuclear verdicts to stabilize the economics within the sector, while others have called for steeper burdens of proof. But whether you are for reforming liability laws or just think the system is unfair, we should acknowledge that nuclear verdicts do in fact serve a very important purpose in the transportation industry—they hold fleet businesses to a higher accident accountability standard, given the

weight and potential danger of the size of their vehicles. This is not to say that the current system is perfect. The routine enormous payouts and trickledown effect they have on the industry as a whole will inevitably have unintended consequences and could harm those who’ve done everything right. However, even those who are against compensatory damages as a practice are still motivated to reduce the number of fatal accidents just from a moral standpoint.

The Telematics Détente One of the best ways to reduce a fleet’s accident rate and nuclear verdict exposure is to utilize telematics. According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, vehicles equipped with telematics software have been linked to safer driving patterns as well as better fuel economy and fewer emissions. Due to advancements in sensor technology, data processing and the internet of things (IoT), vehicles are “connected” to the point where fleet managers and compliance officers can see into a driver’s cabin, out the windshield or through an overhead virtual “drone view” to spot dangerous situations in real time. Other features from advanced telematics platforms can calculate tire pressure, balance, speed, altitude and general wear and tear on a vehicle. All of this functionality goes a long way towards preventing accidents. Getting the data is the easy part. The key is analyzing all of it properly and taking action before something bad happens. Since the amount of data to be attained by an advanced telematics platform is nearly infinite, the best way to make sense of it all is to apply an equally impressive filter powered by artificial intelligence (AI).

Dashboard cameras that focus and move based on machinelearning algorithms can pick up threats on the road at a rate that is far superior to what a driver or back-office compliance officer can do. Inside the vehicle, AI-powered video cameras can pick up on driver fatigue behaviors, which could be a precursor to an accident. If this is starting to sound like something out of a Tom Cruise movie, just know that there’s likely a happy ending at the end of each route with our heroes returning home safely. Safety analytics also are crucial for providing proactive maintenance on fleets so that parts don’t malfunction while vehicles are in service. Even if a driver is performing as carefully as possible with a fully optimized analytics platform, there is still a risk that the vehicle could have a problem that leads to an accident. Often these mechanical failures can be addressed ahead of time, which would prevent critical injury or loss of life. On the road, the stakes are too high to ignore such measures now that the technology is widely available. Global positioning systems (GPS) inform fleet managers and drivers—and possibly customers— where the vehicle is on its route and compare its progress to other relevant data sets such as traffic patterns and nearby hazards. This information is useful not just in managing vendor relationships and fleet efficiencies, but also in helping drivers avoid dangerous areas or accident hotspots. Any action to avoid tragedy, no matter how small, is worth it once you consider the magnitude of how tragic and costly an accident can be. The ultimate safety precaution, though, is not the computer, the data analyst or even the juror in a negligence case. It’s the drivers, themselves. They are the ones who

are responsible for the safety of the vehicle while it is in service. The telematics and continuous video monitoring capabilities are merely tools to help drivers perform at the best of their abilities. To incentivize this, fleet managers can use telematics and video footage to coach drivers, reward them and maintain scorecards detailing their progress and/or specific areas that need improvement. Additionally, fleet and safety managers need to be highly disciplined in the back offices to follow through on the coaching and training on a regular basis to ensure better techniques are being adopted and followed consistently by the drivers. Through the right software investments, fleet companies can correct poor driving patterns and prevent many accidents. Broad adoption of these technologies will only make the roads safer and lessen the occurrence—warranted or not—of nuclear verdicts. The solution to our safety problem is not only a legal one. The trucking industry needs to evolve, innovate and thrive with or without nuclear verdicts. Accidents can happen – some with tragic consequences – but most can be avoided entirely with better driving behaviors, time management and vehicle upkeep. Today, more than ever, we have the ability to enable safer driving behaviors through the latest in telematics and video monitoring technology. Whether the decision to invest in protecting your fleet – and the general public – with this technology is moral, economic or both, it is still the right thing to do. Marco Encinas is a Senior Product Manager at Teletrac Navman.


SPRING 2021 | 17

Who Controls the Data? Maintaining Owner Access to Vehicle Data By Stephen Woodring Today’s trucks and tractors are capable of generating a tremendous amount of data covering a range of subjects, including engine performance, vehicle maintenance, weather and road hazards and driver performance.

18 | SPRING 2021


This capability raises two very important questions: “Who controls the data?” and; “What access to a vehicle’s data does the vehicle owner have?” The ultimate answers to these questions may have profound implications for all operators of commercial motor vehicles, government regulators and the public. The issues of data control and data access are already being considered by both federal and state governments. Unfortunately, operators of commercial vehicles, the one interest group which will likely be the most impacted by data control decisions, have not yet been engaged in this dialogue. The risk that commercial vehicle operators should be aware of is simple: they may wake up one day and discover that their access to their business operations data is severely limited and, at that point, there may be very little they can do about it. Why? The original equipment manufacturers (“OEM”) are currently building “gateways” which may hinder the ability of commercial operators to directly access the data. In some instances, OEMs have denied access through points of connectivity, like the on-board diagnostic port (“OBD”). In other instances, OEMs requ ire the payment of a licensing fee for access to the “codes” for equipment replacement. It’s quite possible, with the introduction of these “gateways,” commercial operators will no longer be able to use aftermarket tools designed to allow them to access their data. It is important for all stakeholders who rely on mobility data to understand the essential nature of data access, and to understand what data is essential to running their business in a connected world. For instance, the OBD is

data security, and enables the appropriate use of data analytics driven by public interest.

one of the established data links of choice for connecting new and legacy vehicles into a common, accessible format. We can usefully divide vehicle data into three types. First, some technical vehicle/component performance data, such as sophisticated technical feedback data, may be highly relevant to the component manufacturer while being of little value to the commercial operator. Second, data related to vehicle routing and operation or driver behavior is valuable to the commercial operator, relates to their business activity and is of no consequence to the OEM. Finally, in the middle, is data that is useful to all stakeholders, such as odometer, tire pressure, engine faults, airbag deployment, or gear position, and the parties would best find a mutually agreed approach. Data and transportation are deeply integrated. The digital aspect of transportation and logistics cannot be understated. Trucking remains highly competitive, and the ability to leverage data is critical to drive efficiencies. The trucking industry’s economic reality is one in which every point of efficiency counts. If an OEM-embedded OBD gateway is in place, it could restrict real-time notification services, potentially leading to a breakdown and/ or significant downtime. Just as commercial operators have a right to repair their vehicles, so too should they have a right to connect their vehicles using the connectivity service provider of their choice— especially when it comes to data relevant to their vehicles and business operations. It’s critical that the industry continue to operate within a data access model which provides the vehicle owner with control of its vehicle data. The prevailing model ensures full and fair competition, protects personal privacy, advances

In order to achieve an optimal and fair outcome for all stakeholders, there needs to be a three-way conversation between operators of commercial vehicles, OEMs, and aftermarket service providers, as each group has slightly different perspectives on vehicle data. This dialogue has already started in some forums. What should you be doing as a commercial vehicle operator? First and foremost, engage your OEM to fully understand any potential negative implications of a vehicle gateway. Also, speak with an aftermarket telematics provider to compare the quality and capability of data solutions currently available and their potential for your business. Next, engage with your trade association which is part of this dialogue and can help your needs and perspective be known. This is an industry problem that should be solved by the industry—by the people with the most at stake. And, finally, consider contacting your federal and state representatives and alert them to the threat posed by the gateway trend. Tomorrow’s data-driven commercial assets will foster the transportation data ecosystem, reshape businesses and require a connectivity-enabled infrastructure. As commercial vehicles evolve into electric and more autonomous vehicles, the future is best achieved collaboratively amongst the entire transportation sector and government.This is the time to begin shaping the future of the transportation economy together. Stephen Woodring is the Government Affairs Manager for Geotab Inc., which is a member of FTA.


SPRING 2021 | 19

Truck Fleet Physical Security Integration: Unlocking its Full Potential By Eric Brackett For trucking, freight, and logistics companies with significant fleet assets needing to be protected from theft or vandalism, fully integrating the latest capabilities of physical security and access control systems can drive down costs significantly. This “virtual” approach combines video surveillance, access control, and information technology (IT) integration to replace many of the functions of in-person security personnel, significantly reducing costs. Virtual systems can be customized to a variety of loss prevention situations no matter the size of the operation or type of assets that need to be protected. Examples include preventing the theft of trucks, batteries, catalytic converters, and other valuable items. The strategy takes full advantage of the interconnectivity of information across a broad range 20 | SPRING 2021

of systems and devices. Based on the trucking and freight company’s priorities, integrated systems can intelligently sift through millions of points of information and prioritize only the most relevant events to deter and prevent theft in ways that were previously not possible. While such data has existed before today, many trucking firm owners and managers are unaware of another critical factor: that the costs for managed IT services and integration continue to drop while the capabilities of the various systems have increased. Using off-the-shelf tools to create super secure environments would have cost hundreds of thousands of dollars a year for larger organizations to staff, monitor and support. Today, expert integrators are routinely implementing these solutions with better, faster


response, at a fraction of the client’s current cost. However, most industry professionals are too busy with their existing responsibilities to realize how much has changed and how valuable it could be to them. While the status quo for physical security is familiar, the rapidly growing volume of data in the form of video, alerts, reports, etc. is threatening to hide the most important threats in the sheer volume of less important data. Yet such information continues to be continually reported and logged on sensors, cameras, servers, PCs, smartphones, two-way radios, and thermostats. The challenge has been sorting through these virtual mountains of data – often kept in separate, unconnected systems – quickly enough to act on threats in realtime. Furthermore, IT technicians usually do not have the expertise

or time to manage all these separate systems by themselves. Now expert integrators have perfected the use of tools that bring all that information together into dashboards that convey needed information at a glance. This is combined with technical and operational procedures to analyze, parse, and present it. So, actual threats can be responded to and thefts deterred in real-time. Where traditional systems can inundate security staff with mind-numbing nuisance alerts, many of which go ignored, the goal of the fully integrated virtual approach is to vigorously and promptly protect valuable trucking assets from theft without unnecessary staffing, excess equipment, or complexity. In terms of video surveillance, that means instantly spotting any anomalies and escalating only those that need attention. It means preventatively spotting any discrepancies in door or gate access control, based on time of day, location, personnel involved, and other factors. It means “slicing and dicing” a host of variables specific to the business that must be considered, and drawing the attention of security personnel or managers when it is time to act, and not when it is too late.

Looking Beyond the Status Quo

For many trucking companies that have security cameras and access systems already installed, there may be some level of integration but most are not able to unlock the full potential. Trucking company owners and managers are disappointed when they hit the limits of their current physical security systems, and become frustrated when their vendor is not proactive about helping them find solutions. For example, they may need the equipment to work even when

it is raining, and do not want to turn off equipment because it wakes them every time a spider crawls across a camera lens. System integration can be assigned to in-house IT staff, but many already find themselves overwhelmed with their existing responsibilities. Traditionally, full physical security integration would require a team of engineers with specialized training to set it up, keep it working, and manage all these events day-to-day. Given the challenges and limitations of the traditional approach to physical security, many trucking and freight companies with assets requiring protection are outsourcing to managed IT service providers, who must increasingly be an expert in all systems. With broad expertise, managed IT vendors can extract value from each individual system, while taking advantage of the tremendous added value in a more comprehensive, fully integrated implementation. Utilizing such an integrated set of tools, along with enhanced system intelligence, can significantly reduce the need for traditional security guards. Instead of a full-time security operation center listening to an endless flow of logs and events, such a system can be more proactive and provide essentially 24/7 virtual security for a fraction of the cost. In fact, often this is accomplished without human intervention or the need for any payroll. Unfortunately, managed IT service providers rarely are experts in all disciplines – but they do exist. The best can manage and integrate any/all systems down to installation of cabling and computer hardware. In addition, they can design and install these systems down

to the wiring, so it is relatively easy to tailor them to the specific requirements of individual trucking companies needing asset protection. Such intelligent systems then prompt security guards, supervisors or managers to take immediate, appropriate action in a variety of settings to keep people or property safe. For example, trucking companies may need to protect their fleets from thieves entering their lots at night to steal vehicles. Or the companies may need to prevent battery theft. In such a case, cut locks and sliced cables not only cost thousands of dollars of damage to each vehicle, but also render it inoperable until repaired. In choosing a physical security integration partner, however, the best have an extensive knowledge of the available products and component parts of any system and are able to tie them together in a manner that extracts significant added value. In other words, the whole properly integrated system should be much greater than the sum of its parts. That being said, the price for such expert integration is much lower today than many trucking company owners would expect for the quality of service and the effectiveness of the theft deterrence. Where old school security may involve renting guards round the clock or missing important threats because disparate systems are not communicating, taking advantage of physical security integration can ensure a prompt response when it is needed to prevent theft at much lower cost. Eric Brackett is President of BTI Communications Group a technology convergence provider that serves the food, logistics, healthcare and aerospace sectors.


SPRING 2021 | 21


Update on people and places in FTA membership

In March, Florida Highway Patrol Commercial Vehicle Enforcement Troopers participated in the first of four Safe DRIVE education and enforcement waves in 2021. Safe DRIVE (Distracted Reckless Impaired Visibility Enforcement) is a multi-jurisdictional high visibility safety campaign designed to deter driver behaviors that contribute to commercial and non-commercial motor vehicle crashes. FHP was also joined by the Office of Agriculture Law Enforcement (Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services) and the Jacksonville Sheriff ’s Office to enhance visibility and deter crashes. During the Safe DRIVE enforcement wave, FHP members conducted 851 commercial motor vehicle inspections, placing 233 dangerous vehicles and/or drivers out-of-service for 371 identified out-of-service violations. In addition, over 1100 citations and warnings were issued to commercial and non-commercial drivers during enforcement efforts. 22 | SPRING 2021

Brea Carter-Jackson

In February, Sergeant Casey Moore of the Florida Highway Patrol and member of FTA’s Safety Management Council facilitated an education event at FedEx Ground in Ocala. This event was attended by FedEx Ground linehaul contractors and FedEx Ground linehaul management team. The event covered many topics but primarily was focused on inspections. Mark Shallar, FedEx Ground Linehaul contractor and Chair of the FTA Florida Road Team and SMC Immediate Past Chair Cary Watkins, also a FedEx Ground linehaul contractor, attended this event and assisted


Joann Betz

with putting the event together. Derek Barrs, Senior Program Manager for HNTB Corporation and former Chief of FHP CVE was recently named to American Trucking Associations’ inaugural Law Enforcement Advisory Committee. Bestpass achieved several significant milestones in 2020, including processing more than $1.2 billion in toll volume. The company also surpassed 10,000 customers with 650,000 active transponders deployed on U.S. toll roads; released Cost Centers within its customer web portal to facilitate

FedEx inspection event team

better fleet data management; and launched new national and regional toll transponder options. Drivers Legal Plan recently announced the appointment of Steve Hill as their National Sales Director. Hill is responsible for growing partnerships with trucking carriers and working with their Safety Departments. He has worked in the trucking industry for many years and brings decades of marketing experience to the organization. UPS had two female tractortrailer drivers attain 25 years of safe driving in 2020. Brea Carter-Jackson is based out of the Deerfield Beach facility. Joann Betz is based in the Stuart Center. They have both been with UPS for 32 years. Brea started out as an early morning clerk while Joann started as a driver on day one. Both of their sons also work for UPS. Brea’s son, Alphonso, is a part-time operations supervisor and Joann’s son, Nicholas, is a driver. Barry Timmons celebrated 45 years of service and 41 years safe driving. Mark Jolley reached 25 years safe driving and was inducted into the UPS Circle of Honor. Cummins and Isuzu Motors Limited announced agreements for a global mid-range diesel

powertrain and an advanced engineering collaboration, marking another step forward in the Isuzu Cummins Powertrain Partnership. The partnership, formed in May 2019, formalized a business structure for the two companies to evaluate and carry out opportunities to jointly develop and bring new diesel alternate powertrains to global markets. Michael McDowell, driver of the #34 Love’s Ford Mustang won the 2021 Daytona 500 Championship. In a stunning upset at the end of an action-filled, rain-interrupted day, McDowell claimed his first NASCAR Cup Series victory after charging into the lead during a brutal multi car wreck in Turn 3 on the final lap. Love’s Travel Stops expects to open up to 50 stores and add more than 3,000 truck parking spots in 2021. Love’s loyalty program was named one of Newsweek Magazine’s best loyalty programs in America. More than 4,000 U.S. customers participated in the survey, further establishing My Love Rewards as the industry’s leading program. Pilot Flying J recently launched Prime Parking. The reservation system features easy payments with myRewards points, searching realtime available parking spaces, RV and bobtail reservations, numbered spots and more. Carroll Fulmer Logistics Corporation recently honored

new drivers to their Million Mile Club. Marc LaFountain, John Miskiewicz, Steven Aleo, Daniel Wright and Edgar Harrell celebrated one million safe driving miles, and Clifford Laymon, two million. 925 Partners has hired Teo Cardenas as VP of Sales in their Transportation Division. Cardenas will continue to serve the insurance needs of for-hire trucking companies in Florida and all continental US states. Cardenas will be relocating from Tampa to Jacksonville. UFP Industries announced that one of its wholly owned subsidiaries, Sunbelt Forest Products Corporation, signed an agreement to purchase the net operating assets of Spartanburg Forest Products, Inc. and its affiliates. The transaction is expected to close by the end of the first quarter of 2021, pending customary closing conditions and regulatory approval. TransForce recently named David Hedges as their 2020 Driver of the Year. “An ideal TransForce driver ambassador, David provides incredible value to our customers,” said Joe Dolan, President of Employment Solutions for TransForce Group. “He provides impeccable service, the highest safety standards, and is always at the forefront with a positive attitude to trainnew drivers.”


SPRING 2021 | 23

Q+A with

Sarah Wellman Sarah Wellman is no stranger to FTA or trucking. She has been advocating for the industry for years and was recently named Director of Government Relations at Ryder System. FTA is also proud to announce Sarah has been named to the Board of Directors of the Association. What drew you to start working in the trucking industry? Being asked. I was directed to take on highway reauthorization while in U.S. Senator Fischer’s Office. Little did I know then that I’d be 7+ years in the industry now. What was your first job? Summer job at a drive-in ice cream shop at age 14. What’s the most important characteristic to have to be successful in government affairs? Knowing the process and people. Favorite dessert? Ice Cream (see first job


Your preferred pizza toppings? As a native Nebraskan, I feel compelled to say hamburger pizza. What do you like to do on your days off? Unplug at the farm, travel for fun, explore new bars and restaurants, especially with family and friends. What are you currently working on at Ryder? One of the major projects I’m currently working on is Ryder’s Corporate Sustainability Report. The report highlights our stewardship efforts through the optimization of resources by identifying opportunities to reduce our environmental footprint, increase efficiencies, maintain long-term viability, diversify our workforce, and further serve our communities. What are you most proud of that you have done in your life? Solo international trip to Italy for two weeks in 2019 and working on Capitol Hill for two U.S. Senators. At a young age, I set these life goals and was able to achieve both through perseverance, determination, and vision. Everything I did was intended to best position me towards achieving these goals. 24 | SPRING 2021


Most interesting/challenging work initiative? Living in a hotel for a month in Sacramento, California, to see if a bill could be amended to better reflect the dynamics and complexities of our industry. This experience reconfirmed the importance of knowing the people, process, and being present (actively engaged). Increased engagement provided for the development of alliances and identifying like-minded industries to bring forth change within the legislation. A couple years prior, we had introduced a bill that had some success but never achieved full passage as law. However, it invoked additional actions that have since created change within the Department of Motor Vehicles in efforts to remove barriers our professional drivers face when seeking their commercial licenses. By removing such barriers, we are creating a more workforce-friendly environment and helping connect people with careers. Where is your favorite place to travel for work? My all-time favorite will always be Washington, DC for work and fun. My favorite conference locations were definitely The Breakers Palm Beach with FTA and Marco Island with ATA. The other best part of work travel is visiting State Capitols and it’s a personal goal to visit all 50. Luckily, I chose the right career and industry to have opportunities to visit State Capitols, especially through events like the FTA Trucking Day at the Capitol in Tallahassee (2018 & 2020). Any pets? Farm dog named Stella. Something most people don’t know about you: I’m the fourth generation of the Wellman Family Farm in Syracuse, Nebraska where we have a diversified grain and cattle operation. Ask me about soybeans and corn-fed beef. This also means anytime someone in the trucking industry uses the term “tractor” (which is a lot), I always think of the “real ones” in green (John Deere tractors). Best advice you have ever received during your career? Worst? The best career advice I received was from Former USDA Secretary and U.S. Senator Mike Johanns, “Faith, family, and then work.” The worst career advice I’ve ever received was “Politics doesn’t matter and it’s not a worthwhile career choice.”

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