www.punjabitruckingusa.com January - March 2023 2 West Coast’s Most Reliable A sset- Based Refrigerated Freight Carrier. Transpor tation Visibil i ty you can rely on Why Us: Halo Tire Inﬂater System 24 hrs Professional Dispatch AI Based Intelligent Fleet Dash Cams In House Shop and Maintenance Team Proven Track Record of Quality Ser vices Real-time GPS and Improves Temperature Tracking Late Model 140 Trucks and 180 Refrigerated Trailers EDI Integration to Improves Traceability and Repor ting Local and Regional Drivers for on time Pickup and Deliver y Contac t Us 800 - 641-7374 Info@primelinkexpress com 82 5 Nav y Drive Stock ton, CA 95206
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FROM THE EDITOR
Raman S. Dhillon
We at Punjabi Trucking Magazine wish you all a very Happy New Year. As we all know that new year brings lots of changes to our personal and business life. In trucking industry past year was very tough, as Feds keeps raising interest rates trying to control inflation but in trucking industry we start feeling from start of 2022. The equipment cost and availability became major issue. Everyone was trying to get their hands on the equipment for prices that were unheard of, both of which are bad for the business. Freight rates keep on decreasing because of demand of products was going down.
Now we are entered in 2023 and need to focus on upcoming issues. We need to make sure that we keep ourselves up to date with upcoming laws and regulations in making. Truck parking, Broker Oversight, Speed
Limiters, Overtime Pay, Wireless IDs, Bathroom Access Act and Autonomous Trucks. We are moving very fast with technology in to new trucks and need to understand what is coming in the future.
CARB New rulings are taking effect in 2023 for drayage trucks and also starting smog check for big rigs. We urge you to take part in rule making process and understand the system so that things which don’t make sense become rules.
Keep yourself updated with trucking related matters via our Punjabi Trucking 360 podcast which is available on all major platforms. Please be safe over the road and once again from our Punjabi Trucking Magazine, American Trucking Show and Punjabi Trucking 360 family wish you Happy New Year. Drive Safe.
Raman S. Dhillon email@example.com
Sunny Vraitch Mandeep Kaur
CONTENT MANAGER Rhea Randhawa
Jatan Grewal firstname.lastname@example.org
Raman S. Dhillon email@example.com
MAGAZINE LAYOUT Ranjit Singh Bhamra GRAPHIC DESIGN Maxx Printing, LLC Harshpal Brar TRANSLATIONS www.MyTekHub.com CONTRIBUTORS
January - March 2023 4
Published Bi-monthly by Primetime Multimedia Company LLC
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All Rights Reserved. No material herein or portions thereof may be printed without the written consent of the publisher. DISCLAIMER: Primetime Multimedia Company LLC assumes all advertisers to be reliable and responsible for any and all liability for their claims. The publisher reserves the right to refuse any advertisement it may find unfit for publication. The opinions expressed in articles and features are of the writers and may not be those of the publisher. THE PUBLISHER ASSUMES NO RESPONSIBILITY OF ANY KIND.
Rhea Randhawa Pash Brar Michael Smith Mandeep Kaur Ravinder Dhillon CIRCULATION MANAGER Jessie Dhillon
Tel: 001 877
Official Magazine for: North America Punjabi Trucking Association
www.punjabitruckingusa.com January - March 2023 6 CONTENTS ARTICLES 46 Investors Eye Mexico as New Destination for Manufacturing ABC Finance LLC ......................................... 09 Apollo Tires .................................................. 05 Automann ....................................................... 45 Big Rig Tires & Alignment ............................. 23 BP Lab Services ............................................ 28 CDL Jobs Guru ............................................ 47 Flat Rate Dispatching ................................. 27 Fresno Transport Inc ................................... 16 Gillson Trucking Inc. ..................................... 11 Golden State Peterbilt ................................... 03 Golden Land Trans. Insurance .................... 46 Jagdeep Singh Insurance Agency ................ 36 Jessie Dhillon ............................................... 37 Kam-Way Transportation Inc .................... 41 Load Stop ..................................................... 13 Lotus Benefits Corp ..................................... 35 Maxx Printing ............................................... 19 NAPTA .................................................... 29, 43 NEXA Mortgages ........................................ 15 Punjabi Trucking 360 ................................... 07 Punjabi Trucking App ................................... 33 Prime Display .............................................. 19 Primelink Express ........................................ 02 Revolution Capital ................................. 11, 17 SimbaQuartz ................................................ 12 Singh Financing .......................................... 31 The Driver Services ....................................... 47 Volvo Trucks ................................................. 48 Xcel Unlimited ............................................. 21 10 frweIvr rihq tr~k tYknwlojI lgwqwr qr~kI kr rhI hY[ 34 sMGI Adwlq meI mhIny q~k AB5 ƒ blOk krn 'qy dlIlW nhIN suxygI[ 14 Several Trucking Industry Issues Await Legislative Action 37 Uber Freight Partners with Volvo Autonomous Solutions but Will Be Patient in Development of Driverless Trucks 17 26 tYslw dw svY-frweIivMg isstm klws-AYkSn muk~dmy dw ivSw[ Trucking Industry Faces Change as New Emissions Standards Take Effect 44 nvIN tYknwlojI frweIvrW dy iDAwn Btkx dIAW sm~isAwvW leI h~l pRdwn krdI hY[ 8 30 40 39 24 Connect with Us 36 INDUSTRY NEWS
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Driverless Truck Technology Continues To Progress
From the taxi-cab scene in Arnold Schwarzenegger’s movie Total Recall to the self-driving pods running along a highway in the science fiction movie Logan, Hollywood has shown a fascination with autonomous driving systems. Art often predicts the future and for fully autonomous vehicles, the future is now.
Currently, there are several tech companies working on perfecting SAE Level 4 automation. Vehicles at Level 4 are capable of driving fully autonomously in proper settings without the assistance or intervention of a human driver.
Companies such as Waymo and Torc Robotics have been working on autonomous vehicles (AVs) for more than a decade. Waymo, a subsidiary of Alphabet Inc. and originally named the Google Self-Driving Car Project, started in 2009 and for the last few years has been running driverless taxis in the Phoenix area.
Most companies, however, have only entered the fray in the last seven or eight years. Yet the transition from being just an idea on a drawing board to real-life implications with driverless big rigs on the road has been swift.
Some companies have been conducting on-road tests and pilots using the desert and open spaces in the Southwest, especially in Texas, Arizona, and New Mexico. So far, these test vehicles include a safety driver behind the wheel and an operations specialist in the passenger seat. Some are tracked by law enforcement in front and behind.
An Agenda for the Future
In their book Future Agenda: The Future of Autonomous Vehicles, Tim Jones and Richard Bishop say, “The investments being
made in autonomy have rapidly shifted from millions to billions, so unsurprisingly those public and private organizations that are providing the funds are keen to ensure that the ROI [return on investment] is credible.
While many challenges have been met, Jones and Bishop admit, “significant questions on safety, social impact, business models and performance are still unanswered” when it comes to AVs.
A key question in their book is how the technology can be “adopted in the wider community” and how much it will involve “changing the status quo” and turning “transport planning on its head” with “a more flexible approach.”
The book deals with many aspects of the AV experience, including regulations, data sharing, planning, dealing with added congestion, using “truck platoons” and more. It also provides several conclusions. For example, safety is a prerequisite and AVs should “not pose a new threat to today’s road users.”
Another conclusion is that “technical standards may not be pivotal,” meaning that such uniformity is “not necessarily required, particularly when data sharing is done through the cloud, allowing software to translate different data formats.”
Most of the tech companies working on AVs have partnered with shippers and, in some cases, manufacturers. Earlier this year, Peterbilt Co. teamed with Aurora Innovation to place the Level 4 Aurora Driver in a Peterbilt Model 579 Class 8 truck.
Likewise, San Diego-based TuSimple has various partnerships, including manufacturers Traton and Navistar as well
as working with UPS and the U.S. Postal Service. It is also set to team with Union Pacific Railroad on a using fully driverless trucks to move freight between Phoenix and Tucson.
One of TuSimple’s main competitors, is similarly operating small box trucks to carry groceries for Walmart on a seven-mile stretch in Arkansas without a safety driver.
Impact on Drivers
AV developers and the fleets testing the technology argue that autonomous trucks are not meant to replace professional truck drivers but can complement and even improve their jobs.
In Texas, Kodiak Robotics is using its autonomous system on big trucks to ship furniture for Ikea between Houston and Dallas, a trip of about three hours on Interstate 45, which has gained the nickname, “the deadliest road in America.” And that’s not to mention that much of the route is deadly dull. Once trucks are fully driverless, human drivers can wait in the cities to maneuver shipments between docks and warehouses.
Kodiak’s CEO, Don Burnette, said that he isn’t looking to put truck drivers out of business, saying, “Adopting autonomous trucking technology can improve drivers’ quality of life by focusing on the local driving jobs most prefer to do. Together with IKEA we can enhance safety, improve working conditions for drivers, and create a more sustainable freight transportation system.”
Anyone who has driven a car manufactured in the last few years will be familiar with Level 2 autonomous assistance
www.punjabitruckingusa.com January - March 2023 8
systems that still require an alert driver but are making driving safer. Features such as lane assist, brake assist and adaptive cruise control are now standard on both cars and trucks.
But some companies are going further. Pittsburgh-based Locomation Inc. is developing an Autonomous Relay Convoy system which electronically links a pair of trucks to form an automated convoy. The driver of the lead truck guides the convoy while the second truck follows autonomously. The beauty of this is that one of the drivers can go off duty and rest. Further in the future, the second truck could become unmanned while a human driver continues to pilot the lead truck.
Cupertino-based Plus has devised a “driver-in” system with automated acceleration, braking and steering assisting a fully engaged driver. “We see this really as a new product category, which we call highly automated driving,” said Shawn Kerrigan, Plus co-founder and chief operating officer.
Leaders in the Autonomous World TuSimple
A leader in the industry since 2015, TuSimple has already operated an autonomous truck on public roads without a
human on board. Recently, the company has had some growing pains with co-founder Xiaodi Hou fired as CEO and replaced by former CEO Cheng Lu.
In an interview, Lu said, “At TuSimple, our mission is to automate certain routes that make the most sense to automate— and those are longhaul applications, the ones that have greater distance, a lot of repetition.”
Founded just five years ago, Aurora has made major advancements and is establishing a terminal-to-terminal freight network for the launch of its Aurora Horizon driver-as-a-service business for trucking. Aurora has also acquired Uber’s former self-driving company.
In a recent interview with Geekwire about the company’s technology, Aurora CEO Chris Urmson said, “The driver we’ve built uses a combination of sensors: LIDAR, radar, cameras, our special highdefinition maps. We’ve got our proprietary FirstLight LIDAR, which allows us to see further than others can. And we have a lot of computing onboard.”
Originally a Google company, Waymo is still owned by Alphabet Inc. They are
developing both driverless trucks and cars. Waymo Via is currently testing Level 4 technology on Class 8 trucks to move freight on Interstate highways. In the Phoenix area, passengers have been able to take advantage of driverless taxis, Waymo One, for the last few years.
Although CEO Takedra Mawakana admits that Waymo One and ride-hailing are the focus of the company, he believes that freight delivery is “a natural next deployment of the Waymo Driver.”
Another Silicon Valley based tech company, Gatik is commercializing its Level 4 system on light- and medium-duty trucks for short haul deliveries between retail stores and warehouses. In 2021 it began driverless operations for Walmart in Bentonville, Arkansas.
This “middle-mile” part of the supply chain has become a niche for the company. CEO Gautam Narang said, “Nobody is really focusing on the middle mile. It is seen as an ‘unsexy’ part of the supply chain. So, our focus was to build a real business, focusing on that underserved area of application.”
www.punjabitruckingusa.com January - March 2023 9 COVER ARTICLE
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Awrnolf Svwrznygr dI iPlm totl rIkwl iv~c tYksI-kYb sIn qoN lY ky swieMs iPkSn mUvI logn iv~c ie~k hweIvyA dy nwl c~l rhy svY-frweIivMg pOfW q~k, hwlIvu~f ny AwtomYitk fRweIivMg pRxwlIAW v~l ie~k rwh idKwieAw hY[ klw Aksr Biv~K dI Biv~KbwxI krdI hY Aqy pUrI qrHW KudmuKiqAwr vwhnW leI, Biv~K hux hY[ vrqmwn iv~c, SAE lYvl 4 AwtomySn ƒ sMpUrn bxwaux leI keI qknIkI kMpnIAW kMm kr rhIAW hn[ lYvl 4 'qy vwhn mnu~KI frweIvr dI shwieqw jW dKl qoN ibnW shI sYitMgW iv~c pUrI qrHW KudmuKiqAwrI nwl clwaux dy smr~Q hn[
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Biv~K leI ie~k eyjMfw
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hjy q~k bhuq swrIAW cuxOqIAW dw swhmxw kIqw igAw hY, pr jons Aqy ibSp mMndy hn ik jdoN ieh AVs dI g~l AwauNdI hY qW "sur~iKAw, smwijk pRBwv, kwrobwrI mwflW Aqy pRdrSn 'qy mh~qvpUrn svwl dy Ajy vI jvwb nhIN hn"[
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jw skdw hY[
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Koidak dy sIeIE, fOn brnyt ny ikhw ik auh tr~k frweIvrW ƒ kwrobwr qoN bwhr krn dI koiSS nhIN kr rhy hn, "Awtonoms tr~ikMg tYknwlojI ƒ Apxwaux nwl sQwnk frweIivMg nOkrIAW 'qy iDAwn kyNdRq krky frweIvrW dy jIvn dI guxv~qw iv~c suDwr kIqw jw skdw hY[ IKEA dy nwl iml ky AsIN sur~iKAw ƒ vDw skdy hW, frweIvrW leI kMm krn dIAW siQqIAW iv~c suDwr kr skdy hW, Aqy ie~k vDyry itkwaU mwl FoAw-FuAweI pRxwlI bxw skdy hW[" frweIvr-shwiek tYknwlojI
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kUprtIno-ADwrq Plus ny ie~k "fRweIvrien" isstm iqAwr kIqw hY ijs iv~c Awtomyitf pRvyg, bRyikMg Aqy stIAirMg ie~k pUrI qrHW nwl ru~Jy frweIvr dI shwieqw krdw hY[ pl~s dy sih-sMsQwpk Aqy mu~K sMcwln AiDkwrI SOn kyrIgn ny ikhw, "AsIN iesƒ Asl iv~c ie~k nvIN auqpwd SRyxI dy rUp iv~c dyKdy hW, ijsƒ AsIN au~c svYcwlq frweIivMg kihMdy hW "[
Awtonoms qknwljI ivc mUhrlIAW kMpnIAW
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Aurora isr& pMj swl pihlW sQwipq kIqI geI, Aurora ny v~fIAW qr~kIAW kIqIAW hn Aqy tr~ikMg leI Awpxy Aurora Hoirzon dirver-as-a-serivce kwrobwr dI SurUAwq leI trmInl-tU-trmInl Pryt nY~tvrk sQwpq kr irhw hY[ Aurora ny Uber dI
www.punjabitruckingusa.com January - March 2023 10
swbkw svY-frweIivMg kMpnI ƒ vI KrId ilAw hY[
kMpnI dI tYknwlojI bwry Geekiwre nwl ie~k qwzw ieMtrivaU iv~c, Aurora CEO ikRs aurmsn ny ikhw, “AsIN jo frweIvr bxwieAw hY auh sYNsrW dy sumyl dI vrqoN krdw hY ijs ivc LIDAR, rwfwr, kYmry, swfy ivSyS hweI-fYPInySn nkSy mOjUd hn[ swfy kol swfI mlkIAq vwlw PstlweIt LIDAR hY, jo swƒ dUijAW nwloN A~gy dyKx dI iejwzq idMdw hY Aqy swfy kol bhuq swrw kMipaUitMg AOnborf hY[
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ie~k hor islIkwn vYlI ADwrq qknIkI kMpnI, Gaitk pRcUn storW Aqy vyArhwaUsW dy ivckwr QoVHy smyN ivc spurdgI leI hlky Aqy m~Dm-ifaUtI tr~kW 'qy Awpxy p~Dr 4 isstm dw vpwrIkrn kr rhI hY[ 2021 iv~c iesny bYNtnivly, Arknsws iv~c vwlmwrt leI frweIvr rihq sMcwln SurU kIqw[ splweI cyn dw ieh "m~D-mIl" ih~sw kMpnI leI ie~k Aihm ih~sw bx igAw hY[ sIeIE gOqm nwrMg ny ikhw, "koeI vI Asl iv~c m~D mIl 'qy iDAwn nhIN dy irhw hY[ iesƒ splweI cyn dy ie~k 'AnsYksI' ih~sy vjoN dyiKAw jWdw hY[ ies leI, swfw Poks AYplIkySn dy aus G~t syvw vwly Kyqr 'qy kyNdRq krdy hoey ie~k Asl kwrobwr bxwauxw sI[
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www.punjabitruckingusa.com January - March 2023 11 G O O D P AY - F A M I LY E N V I R O N M E N T B E N E F I T S - D E D I C A T E D & T E A M L O A D S I N T B - I A HIRING DRIVERS & OWNER OPERATORS 408-386-0913 Educat on - Ser v ce - Suppor BI T JA R N U U C P KIN N G ICA A R S E S O M C A A H T T I R O O N N NAPTA M E D M U B O E R R P
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Shippers Have Upper Hand in Rate Negotiations For New Year
For several years prior to the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020, parcel shippers enjoyed consistently low rates and money-back guarantees, but with tightening capacity and supply chain problems, freight carriers had the upper hand for the last three years. No longer. Analysts believe that shippers will again be able to negotiate friendly rates to move their goods.
In fact, carriers have already entered discussions with major shippers before the new year begins. Shippers are even expected to negotiate down high general rate increases (GRI), partly because they have a glut of options that don’t necessarily include FedEx or UPS, who routinely hiked prices during the pandemic.
Shippers can turn to regional carriers, parcel consolidators and the U.S. Postal Service (USPS) for last-mile deliveries.
Some retailers have established their own delivery networks with Amazon now considering expanding its capabilities.
Because shippers have more options, they are finding prices, service, and reliability better than in the past. The USPS has increased its processing capabilities significantly in the last two years. Its Retail Ground service accepts shipments up to 70 pounds.
Add to that the recent transcontinental partnership between OnTrac and LaserShip. The unified carrier is expected to undercut its own announced 6.9% GRI for large residential shippers. The discounts are expected to target goods under three pounds, which have traditionally been moved by the USPS.
Analysts have concluded carriers may not see the rapid rate increases the economy experienced during the pandemic for quite some time. That type
of demand will not be seen anytime soon. The economy continues to slow, and carriers are faced with excess capacity to fill.
In addition, the USPS’s expansion gives it a daily processing capacity equivalent to 60 million parcels, a figure that includes regular packages and flats. Currently it handles between 30 million and 38 million daily packages depending on seasonality, so increases in USPS business are expected in 2023.
Another issue for UPS is its continuing negotiations with the Teamsters Union which represents about 380,000 UPS employees. Teamsters President Sean O’Brien has indicated his members would strike if a new contract hasn’t been settled by next summer. Such a strike would force shippers to look for even more alternatives for moving their items. UPS delivers more than 25 million pieces of freight each day.
www.punjabitruckingusa.com January - March 2023 12
Several Trucking Industry Issues Await Legislative Action
A divided federal government with Democrats controlling the White House and Senate and the Republicans gaining the majority in the House of Representatives, could make it difficult this year to get much meaningful legislation passed regarding the trucking industry. Nevertheless, many pressing issues need to be considered by the feds.
One major focus of the Biden Administration and the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) is to reduce the rising number of injuries and fatalities involving commercial trucks.
One possible step in addressing the number of crashes is new regulations about speed limiters. The FMCSA recently issued a notice of intent to consider outfitting trucks with electronic engine devices to set and limit truck speeds. A maximum speed has yet to be proposed. The notice obviously drew concern from the industry with more than 15,000 responses recorded on the National Registry.
Many of the comments came from independent owner-operators and small trucking companies that are opposed to any new rules on limiters. They claim the crash safety benefits reported by safety groups are undercut by accidents caused by cars and trucks traveling at different speeds. Large trucking companies and some safety groups, however, do support a 70-mph limit.
Companion legislation from both the House and Senate to provide federal grants for more truck parking is being strongly considered. The truck parking bill that was introduced in 2022 will have to be reintroduced into the 2023 Congress which will be sworn in this month. Some analysts believe that a bipartisan bill could be passed at some point this year addressing the issue. Large and small carriers have been lobbying Congress for several years to solve the problem.
Bathroom Access Act
A bipartisan bill was introduced late in the last Congress to provide more access to bathrooms in warehouses, ports, and other businesses to provide access to these facilities for truck drivers. The Bathroom Access Act mirrors legislation that has already passed in Washington. The potential law has broad support from trucking companies and owneroperators.
Although Republicans in the House will attempt to block the Democrat’s agenda for social justice and climate change, there still should be grant money from the 2021 Bipartisan Infrastructure bill to continue strengthening the nation’s supply chain.
Dating back to the Trump Administration, the FMCSA has been attempting to put illegal brokers out of business and to clarify the differences
between brokers, bona fide agents, and dispatch services. Interim guidelines from Congress need to finalize the guidelines by June 16. Despite these efforts, reports of double brokering and illegal brokering continue.
While The Guaranteeing Overtime for Truckers Act did not pass in 2022, it, or similar legislation, will be a priority for both the Independent Owner-Operator Drivers Association and the Biden Administration. Such legislation would require trucking employers to pay driver’s overtime. Currently, the Fair Labor Standards Act exempts companies from having to do so for most drivers.
Wireless IDs on All Trucks
A proposed rulemaking from the FMCSA would make a “unique ID” standard equipment on all commercial trucks. The main goal is to help streamline inspections. The idea, however, has drawn criticism from every sector of the industry. Cost issues and security are the biggest concerns.
Truck Size and Weight
With new electric trucks coming into the industry that weigh up to 40% more than standard diesel trucks, increasing federal truck size and weight limits is a high priority many shippers and carriers, particularly those who carry automobiles. Consumer Brands Association and other organizations are asking for the launch of a 10-state pilot project to allow heavier weights to operate on the federal interstate system.
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November & December 2022
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Despite the names “Autopilot” and “Full-Self Driving,” lawyers for electric automaker Tesla admitted in court that the company’s vehicles were not fully capable of autonomous self-driving in their arguments against a class-action lawsuit.
For at least six years, Tesla’s founder Elon Musk made statements that the company’s vehicles would soon operate without driver engagement. Musk, of course, has made bogus statements throughout his career, including his prediction that Tesla would put a million robo-taxis on the road by the end of 2020. To date, no Tesla on the road is capable of full self-driving.
In their arguments, Tesla’s lawyers defended the company by saying the fact Tesla’s cars are not fully self-driving is a “mere failure to realize a long-term aspirational goal” and should not be considered “fraud.” That claim is part of the motion to dismiss the
case that was filed last week in U.S. District Court in San Francisco.
Tesla’s main contention for dismissing the case is that customers who bought the cars signed papers that obligated them to individually file claims through private arbitration. Instead, the main plaintiff, Briggs Matsko of California, filed a class-action suit which other customers could join in a public trial.
Private arbitration would protect the company by keeping any testimony from Tesla engineers a secret. In a class-action suit, all testimony would be public.
Tesla and Musk have been hit with thousands of lawsuits over the years and private arbitration is usually the first move against public court lawsuits.
The case of Cristina Balan, which was reported on by the Los Angeles Times, was eventually kept out of public court. Balan, a former Tesla engineer, claims she was defamed by Tesla in 2017, damaging her professional reputation, but Tesla kept the case from going public.
An important piece of evidence in the class-action suit is a 2016 video produced by Tesla showing one of its cars apparently driving itself. A message in the video read, “The person in the driver’s seat is only there for legal reasons. He is not driving anything. The car is driving itself.”
Later the company admitted the video was fake, produced with multiple takes, including the cutting of a scene where the car plows into a fence. Nevertheless, the video is still up on Tesla’s website.
Regulatory agencies have been investigating Tesla’s automated technology ever since the company opened its doors. The company’s Autopilot software has been linked to several crash fatalities.
In 2020, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration opened an investigation into why the Tesla vehicles disproportionately crash into emergency vehicles parked on the roadside. The agency has yet to release any conclusions.
Last year, billionaire software entrepreneur Dan O’Dowd spent his own money running for a U.S. Senate seat in California just to point out that Tesla’s self-driving technology was a fraud. He ran commercials across the state showing a Tesla turning the wrong way, hitting curbs, and swerving into traffic.
www.punjabitruckingusa.com January - March 2023 16 INDUSTRY ARTICLE
Tesla’s Self-Driving System Subject
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Driver Recruitment Slows as Freight Market Softens
Although an American Trucking Associations study done last year showed that the trucking industry driver shortage was at a historic high of nearly 78,000 drivers, many transportation companies have cut back on the amount of money they are willing to spend on recruitment at a time when freight markets have slowed.
Recruitment experts, however, have advised carriers to remain focused on retention efforts and to continue working on keeping a steady flow of new drivers coming on board. Experts have warned that consistency in recruiting and retention are important to the process.
“Even if carriers are slowing down in recruiting, retention efforts should be in full swing,” said Priscilla Peters, vice president of marketing and training at Conversion Interactive Agency. “Carriers who are strategically focused on both come out winners.” She further
indicated that technology and AI tools were a “key component” of recruiting and retention.
According to the online jobs platform Talent.com, recruitment spending for jobs in the transportation industry have dropped by more than 20% since 2021 when companies were aggressively recruiting new drivers.
“This is normally our most active time of year, especially for transportation, for retail, materials handling and warehouse kind of jobs,” said Robert Boersma, vice president of operations at Talent.com.
None of this comes as a surprise as the economy has slowed in the wake of high inflation and rising interest rates. The housing market, in particular, has seen declines across the board, meaning that fewer shipments of materials are on the road.
“Companies understand that things happen, and things change, and they need to be as proactive as possible,” Boersma said. “They kind of feel the pressure coming on and they’re the ones making decisions a lot of the time about, ‘How aggressive do I need to be right now?’ And they’re making the choice to throttle back a little bit.”
Although the U.S. economy continues to add jobs—a 263,000 increase in November— employment in transportation and warehousing declined by 15,000 during that month and has decreased by 38,000 since July 2022.
One bright spot in the situation is that carriers who usually add trucks and hire drivers when freight demand is high, as it was in 2020 and 2021, couldn’t do so amid shortages of drivers and equipment. As a result, there now is less pressure on carriers to fill empty trucks.
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High Inflation, Rising Insurance Rates, Possible Recession Are Major Concerns for Trucking Industry in 2023
Although diesel gas prices have dropped slightly in recent months, from $5.30 per gallon in early November to about $4.70 in late December, 2022 was a challenging year for most owner-operators. Inflation rates remain at nearly 7% which means that everything is more expensive for truckers, including new equipment, maintenance, parts, and insurance.
Some of this has been offset by historically high spot markets since the beginning of the pandemic, but most of those profits have dwindled away paying for gas and other costs.
According to the American Truck Business Service (ATBS), on average net income took about a $1,000 annual hit for drivers with a lease agreement. For independents, however, the pain was three times that because of spot market declines.
For those looking for higher revenue during the holiday season, retail numbers are not good with a 0.6% decline in consumer spending in November. In fact, recent snapshots of the spot market forecast a further drop in rates for most freight sectors.
These drops in retail numbers may indicate that consumers are simply refusing to pay the inflationary prices that sellers are charging, especially when interest rates have soared making it more expensive to borrow money.
In a recent opinion piece by Peter Matthews and Tom McCallum for IAT Insurance they said, “Consumer spending is showing signs of slowing and an economic downturn or full-scale recession would significantly impact freight demand and margins. Although that lower demand could help alleviate some of the pressure of the fleet driver shortage, smaller fleets are likely to feel more pain.”
Matthews and McCallum went on to pinpoint that independents and fleets should be concerned with the following:
• California Assembly Bill 5 could put the entire trucking situation in the state into turmoil by recategorizing drivers from independent contractors to regular employees. Since the National Labor Relations Board favors the law, other states could follow with laws of their own.
• Rising cost of insurance claims has made rates higher. Matthews
and McCallum warn that “personal injury attorneys continue to attack the trucking industry.”
• A tight market for new and used equipment with the used truck market still under pressure because fewer trucks were manufactured during the pandemic. In California, heavy trucks will need 2010 or newer engine models.
• The need to maintain safety in tough economic times is a priority even with fleets looking to cut corners to save money. Matthews and McCallum said, “The pressure to run harder and faster to earn revenue pushes hard against staying safe, but there are long-term implications if you’re considered an unsafe carrier.”
• The future holds a variety of changes, among those electric and autonomous trucks, with Matthews and McCallum feeling these “fantastical ideas…aren’t as far over the horizon as some might think.” They admit that a variety of questions are yet to be unanswered such as how will autonomous trucks be covered by insurance and will trucking companies “be liable if the navigation system fails and causes an accident?”
www.punjabitruckingusa.com January - March 2023 20
New Study Shows U.S. Faces Significant Challenges in Moving to Electric Vehicles
More than 57% of California’s current electrical output would be needed for the state to achieve full electrification of passenger cars and trucks, freight trucks and long-haul trucks, according to a new report from the American Transportation Research Institute (ATRI).
Across the U.S. that number dips to about 40%. Passenger vehicles would require 26% of that while commercial trucks would need 14%. Even this number presents a significant challenge to the nation’s ability to drop its transportation sector to the zero-emission goals that have been laid out by several states and the Biden Administration. Some states would need to boost their electrical output by as much as 60%.
In addition, ATRI’s study found that mining for the precious metals needed to make batteries would have to increase and could take as long as 35 years at current production levels to meet demand.
ATRI also found the U.S. would need to spend more than $35 billion to have enough charging stations to power commercial trucks. The Bipartisan Infrastructure Bill, passed last year, provides only $7.5 billion for that purpose.
In California, new solar farms are popping up across the state’s Central Valley and a federally funded floating offshore wind farm off the Central Coast is slated to begin producing energy by 2030.
"Carbon-emissions reduction is clearly a top priority of the U.S. trucking industry, and feasible alternatives to internal combustion engines must be identified," said Srikanth Padmanabhan, President, Engine Business, Cummins Inc.
"ATRI's research demonstrates that vehicle electrification in the U.S. will be a daunting task that goes well beyond the trucking industry—utilities, truck parking facilities and the vehicle production supply chain are critical to addressing the challenges identified in this research. Thus, the market will require a variety of decarbonization solutions and other powertrain technologies alongside battery electric," concluded Padmanabhan.
www.punjabitruckingusa.com January - March 2023 21 TRUCKING NEWS
Customers purchasing a new battery-electric or fuel cell heavy-duty truck could qualify for a tax credit of as much as $40,000 under a new federal program which was part of the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA). The IRA tax credit makes owning an
The law also provides credits for installing alternative fuel infrastructure as well as a $7,500 tax credit for anyone purchasing a new electric vehicle (EV) under 14,000 pounds. The tax credits are equal or less of the following amounts:
• Fifteen percent of the vehicle purchase price for plug-in hybrid EVs.
• Thirty percent of the vehicle purchase price for EVs and fuel cell EVs.
• The incremental cost of the vehicle compared to an equivalent internal combustion engine vehicle.
One important exception to qualify for the tax credit is the “final assembly” requirement mandated in the IRA legislation. Clean vehicles that were purchased after August 15, 2022, must have had their final assembly in North America to meet the eligibility criteria.
Also available in 2023 is an IRS tax credit for installing fueling equipment for hydrogen, electricity, E85, diesel fuel blends containing a minimum of 20% biodiesel, natural gas or propane.
A tax credit of 30% of the cost of the equipment and 6% for property (subject to depreciation and not to exceed $100,000) will be available, although permitting and inspection fees are not covered.
Another element of the legislation is that eligible fueling equipment must be installed in regions where, according to the 2020 census, the poverty rate is at least 20%, or the family income is less than 80% of the state median family income level.
electric truck cheaper than owning a diesel one in most cases, with urban and regional electric trucks becoming cost-superior to diesel models as soon as this year.
These tax credits, however, cannot be combined with the Clean Vehicle Tax credit which can be used to purchase EVs and fuel cell vehicles up to 14,000 pounds.
In addition, any work done on charging infrastructure must meet apprenticeships and prevailing wage requirements. Consumers who purchase qualified residential fueling equipment this year can also receive a tax credit up to $1,000.
www.punjabitruckingusa.com January - March 2023 22
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Punjabi Women in Trucking: Harneet Sihota
This is the first installment in a new series for Punjabi Trucking Magazine focusing on Punjabi women in the trucking industry.
Nestled comfortably in the corner of the Pacific Northwest on the U.S.Canada border, Blaine, Washington is the home of family owned and operated Kam-Way Transportation Inc. Founded in 2008, Kam-Way now boasts a brokerage network of over 15,000 carriers nationwide as well as a fleet of 250 trucks and 600 company trailers, both dry van and refrigerated. The organization also has offices in Sumner and Spokane, Washington, Fresno, California and Surrey, British Columbia. Kam-Way has relay points setup throughout Washington, Oregon, California, Nevada, and Arizona— allowing delivery between the USA and Canada. Customers served include PetSmart, Costco, Walmart, ULTA, IKEA, MIEJER, Kraft Foods, Nestle, among others.
Kam-Way was founded as the entrepreneurial dream of Kam Sihota who grew up in Fresno. His partner from the beginning has been his wife Harneet who is currently the Human Resources Director for the company. Harneet was born and raised in the Vancouver, British Columbia suburb of Richmond just about a 45-minute drive north of Blaine. She received her bachelor’s degree in Organizational Studies from Fresno Pacific University and her Master’s in Business Administration from the University of Phoenix. We recently interviewed Harneet.
PTM: How did Kam-Way get started?
Harneet: It was the idea of my husband who has always had an entrepreneurial spirit. He wanted to
build a solid organization from the ground up that would be both successful and innovative. In the beginning, the company was small. I wore many hats in the first few years, including billing, accounts payable and whatever was needed. Once we realized the importance of human resources, it began with me as a department of one and we have since built a team. We currently have a nondriving staff of about 115 people.
PTM: What is the main emphasis of your job today?
Harneet: As Human Resources Director, there are obviously compliance issues, but I believe my primary job is to build a strong and productive work culture. That starts with training. I am very passionate about providing good training to our team members. I feel that developing our people to be good at their jobs is essential. If they do well, the company does well. I’m always looking to establish the best processes for building a cohesive team. I like to think we really care about our people, cultivate a great culture to be a part of and want to see the team advance in their career paths. To build a rewarding employee experience, you need to understand what matters most to your people.
PTM: What challenges do you face on a day-to-day basis?
Harneet: One of our biggest challenges is in recruiting. The people we recruit are often new to the trucking industry. Blaine is a very small town without a large pool of potential new recruits. Another big challenge is retention. We always seem to need drivers and other personnel. We believe in providing knowledge and coaching for our managers to develop them into great leaders for the teams they oversee. We are also continuing to build our internship program which invites
university students to intern at the company with the potential of joining our team as new hires. I think the pandemic really proved how important trucking is to the world. Without the tireless work of many in the industry, things would have been far more difficult. I also think trucking can provide a good living for those who go into it.
PTM: What are you most proud of about your company?
Harneet: Like I said, I think we have built a great culture at Kam-Way. I also think we give back to the community. I’m proud of our partnership with Washington State Patrol and the Homeward Bound Program. The Homeward Bound Program is made up of 30 trailers featuring missing children posters with age progression to gain exposure to their situation. I think the program is important because it provides community awareness and gives the families hope of bringing their children home. In 2019, Kam received the Chief’s Specialty Award from the WSP.
I’m also very proud of our partnership with Truckers Against Trafficking. I have been on the advisory board of TAT for over a year, and I’m focused on making trafficking an issue we are all aware of. Our company looks to assist law enforcement in recognizing and reporting on trafficking. Our truckers are the eyes and ears of the community on the road. Our drivers and non-driving staff all receive TAT training as part of their new hire onboarding orientation.
In addition, I’m involved in making our company veteran friendly. After Kam’s grandfather came to America in the 1950’s he served in the U.S. Navy, so we are very dedicated to our vets. We are always looking to recruit military veterans into our organization.
www.punjabitruckingusa.com January - March 2023 24 INDUSTRY NEWS
Kam-Way has established a strong initiative for this year to hire drivers and other personnel who served our nation. I recently attended the VeteranReady Summit in Washington D.C. at the headquarters of the American Trucking Associations and am hoping to implement some of the strategies I learned with our team. In addition, Kam-Way features a Hero Fleet made up of equipment dedicated and painted to recognize our vets.
PTM: What are your future goals?
Harneet: Business is always a work in progress. I want to continue to provide the best training to our team. As for the organization, Kam and President Money Singh are always looking ahead, always wanting to go forward. Their next goal is to have 500 trucks on the road in the next five years. The organization is also looking at transitioning to zero emission trucks and we’re working with next generation technology companies and manufacturers such as Hylion, Hydron, Tesla and Daimler. We do have an order in with Tesla for some of their new Semis, but I think that’s a bit in the future. Finally, I believe our company is strongly dedicated to sustainable growth and strives to be an environmentally conscious organization
Trucking Industry Faces Change as New Emissions Standards Take Effect
As part of efforts to stem the negative effects of climate change, the Biden Administration will soon release new emissions standards for heavyduty trucks. According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the change to lower nitrous oxide levels can involve one of two options.
Option 1 is a two-step process that would set a stringency increase in engine model year 2027 and another one for engines produced in 2031. Option 2 would simply mandate full implementation of the new standards for model year 2027.
The new standards would eventually drop truck emissions by 90% compared with current levels. EPA estimates that NOx emissions from a total fleet of heavy-duty trucks on the road in 2045 would decrease by as much as 60% with Option 1. Option 2 would cause a lower overall NOx emissions decrease than Option 1.
EPA is also proposing longer emissions warranty periods that would increase the number of useful life miles covered under a warranty, as well as making improvements to engine maintenance service.
With the lower emissions standards,
the Biden Administration said the nation could see as much as $250 billion in public health benefits over the next ten years. Stakeholders in the trucking industry, however, argue that the overall cost of the change would be greater than the proposed benefits.
“If the proposed rule, either option, is adopted, many if not most carriers and truckers will opt to keep the vehicle(s) they have for longer than they otherwise would have,” said David Owen, president of the National Association of Small Trucking Companies (NASTC).
“Small-business truckers in general cannot afford to buy brand-new power units, which today cost around $140,000. New vehicles complying with the proposed rule as of MY [model year] 27 will cost significantly more—reflecting the sophisticated new technologies that enable their engines to meet the new standards and requirements, a period of inflation-fed cost increases and new technologically complex systems still working out the bugs. So, for the large percentage of carriers having 20 or fewer trucks, the new vehicles will be even less of an option; these carriers will remain in the used heavy-duty truck market,” concluded Owen.
Todd Spencer of the Owner-Operator
Independent Driver Association has argued that the timeline for fulfilling these standards needs to be extended as electric and hydrogen fuel cell trucks become less expensive.
“Any final rulemaking must better prioritize affordability for owner-operator drivers who will be required to purchase and install new equipment,” Spencer said. “This rulemaking must ensure that drivers and carriers who are investing in new vehicles are getting a fair deal and will not be constantly sidelined from their profession due to costly and repeated breakdowns.”
The Biden Administration has made the availability of lower emissions trucks a top priority and the Inflation Reduction Act provides up to $40,000 in tax credits for those purchasing new trucks. Manufacturers are set to spend more than $625 billion in the development of new electric vehicle technology.
Most experts in the industry say that Option 2, the two-step process, is the most viable way to go. But, for the change to be effective, new trucks need to be affordable so that small companies can purchase them, durable so that they will not be subject to constant maintenance, safe and environmentally cleaner.
www.punjabitruckingusa.com January - March 2023 26
Inflation, High Mortgage Rates Have Put the Brakes on New Home Construction
Spiraling inflation and the corresponding interest rate hikes that were used to fight it have put a damper on the construction of single-family homes that will extend well into next year. The downturn is the first in eleven years.
Last January when the 30-year mortgage rate was under 4%, a seasonally adjusted 1.16 million properties were built. By this October that number had plummeted to an adjusted pace of 855,000 as rates rose to over 7%. In other words, many Americans looking to buy a new home simply could not do so.
While the construction of new family homes dropped 11% last year, they are set to drop over 13% this year and about 5% in 2024, according to a new report from credit and finance rating agency Fitch Ratings.
“We expect 2023 to be a challenging year for U.S. homebuilders as persistent affordability issues will lead to housing demand continuing to weaken,” wrote Robert Rulla, senior director at Fitch Ratings.
Single family home construction had been at a fever pitch for several years, especially during 2020 and 2021 when mortgage rates reached historic lows. Analysts, however, say homebuilding will rebound in 2024 and once inflation has gone back down, mortgage rates should again reach the 5% level.
In fact, rates have already fallen as inflation has dropped slightly and gas prices have declined. Current rates are at 6.33%, up from 3.1% at this point in 2022.
Although construction is down, analysts are quick to caution against any comparison with the major housing slump that triggered the Great Recession. Nevertheless, homebuilders’ earnings per share will drop a whopping 40% this year due to the housing slowdown.
www.punjabitruckingusa.com January - March 2023 27 TRUCKING NEWS
EPA Issues ‘Stringent’ New Rule on Emission Standards
Representing the first update to federal emissions regulations since 2001, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) finalized a tough new standard in December for heavy-duty vehicles such as large trucks, delivery vans and buses. The new standard goes into effect with model year 2027.
The new rule requires heavy-duty trucks to cut down on tailpipe smog and soot by reducing emissions of nitrogen oxides (NOx) by 48% by 2045 and will be more than 80% stronger than the current standard, according to the EPA’s 1,153-page rule.
The Biden Administration has made the case that the changes are needed to mitigate climate change and to improve public health. A U.S. Senate committee on the environment said that it estimated the new rules would result in the following annual benefits:
• Up to 2,900 fewer premature deaths
• 6,700 fewer hospital admissions and emergency department visits
• 18,000 fewer cases of asthma onset in children
• 78,000 fewer lost days of work
• 1.1 million fewer lost school days
The new rule would also require manufacturers to ensure that engines and
emission systems are in working order, especially in limiting the ability for tampering electronic pollution controls.
EPA estimates this provision could cost as much as $2,500 for a heavy-duty diesel engine.
EPA Administrator Michael Regan said the new rule and new investments from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Act and Inflation Reduction Act in modern infrastructure and technology “will accelerate President Biden’s ambitious agenda to overhaul the nation’s trucking fleet, deliver cleaner air, and protect people and the planet.”
www.punjabitruckingusa.com January - March 2023 28
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www.punjabitruckingusa.com January - March 2023 29
New Changes to Tax Code May Find Gig Workers and Online Sellers Unprepared
Individuals who make money in the gig economy or sell products online will need to educate themselves on new tax liabilities that were a product of the 2021 American Rescue Act. Any income above $600 made in 2022 will need to be included when filing with the IRS this year.
“As taxpayers gather tax records, they should remember that most income is taxable. This includes unemployment income, refund interest and income from the gig economy and digital assets,” said the IRS in a December news release. The changes apply to tax code section 6050W.
A group of mostly online platforms, Coalition for 1099-K Fairness, which includes Airbnb, eBay, Etsy, and PayPal, however, have been lobbying Congress to delay or waive these changes.
“Without timely congressional action, millions of Americans and fledgling micro-businesses will begin receiving 1099-Ks in January 2023, often in instances where there is no
tax liability whatsoever, creating significant confusion and administrative challenges,” the Coalition said.
Section 6050W of the tax code establishes the level of income a worker must make before they are required to pay federal taxes. Before the change, earners that made less than $20,000 and had fewer than 200 transactions in a tax year were exempt from paying taxes on those earnings. That dollar figure has now plummeted to $600 and with no minimum number of transactions.
The $20,000 threshold kept many gig workers from having to pay taxes. Many Uber drivers who only work part time make less than $20,000.
In an interview earlier this year, Katie Vlietstra, vice president of government relations and public affairs for the National Association for the SelfEmployed, warned about unintended consequences that could result from the changes.
She said, “Every individual should
be meeting their tax obligation,” she said. “They should understand their tax liabilities. Our concern is when you are making big fundamental changes, there isn’t a lot of emphasis placed on the technical changes.”
Because of the change, workers will need to claim income above $600 and employers will be required to submit a 1099-K form to the IRS. Some analysts say that the reporting is not cut and dry. For example, if an individual gets a payment through a Cash App, such as Zelle, those will not be reported.
A survey from the Coalition for 1099-K Fairness found 47% of gig workers were unaware of the IRS change. Of those surveyed, 86% made less than $5,000 selling online in 2021, and 89% said selling was not their primary source of income.
Because of the change, the IRS estimates it will bring in an additional $8.4 billion in tax revenue over the next ten years.
www.punjabitruckingusa.com January - March 2023 30
Uber to Pay City of Chicago
$10 million for Alleged Food Delivery Scams During Pandemic
n a legal victory for the city of Chicago and its restaurant owners, Uber has agreed to a settlement that would pay out a total of $10 million, including the $3.3 million it has already repaid to city merchants.
The lawsuit alleged that during the pandemic when food delivery became commonplace, Uber platforms, Uber Eats and Postmates, charged restaurants exorbitant fees and listed them on their apps without permission.
The allegations also said Uber’s platforms charged restaurants more than 15% for commission fees in violation of the city’s cap on such fees during the period of November 2020 and April 2021.
The city is also involved in similar lawsuits against DoorDash and GrubHub. The city has targeted these platforms for their listing practices, which have resulted in scams, wrongly priced items and reports of customers ordering food that wasn’t listed on the menu.
In contrast to these companies, Uber decided to settle with the city while still denying any wrongdoing in the matter.
It agreed to pay out $2.25 million to restaurants for violating Chicago’s emergency commission limits. It will also pay merchants $500,000 for listing them on their apps and another $2.5 million in commission waivers.
The city recently set up an online portal for restaurants to apply for money from
the settlement. Another $1.5 million will be paid to the city for the two-year long investigation.
“The settlement reflects the city’s commitment to creating a fair and honest marketplace that protects both consumers and businesses from unlawful conduct,” Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot said in a press release.
“Chicago’s restaurant owners and workers work diligently to build their reputations and serve our residents and visitors. That’s why our hospitality industry is so critical to our economy, and it only works when there is transparency and fair pricing. There is no room for deceptive and unfair practices,” concluded Lightfoot.
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A Federal Court Won’t Hear Arguments on Blocking AB5 Until May
The ongoing saga of California’s independent contractor law AB5 will go on a little longer as a federal district court has delayed a new hearing for an injunction blocking the law from going into effect. Instead, owner-operators will have to scramble to make sure they are not breaking the law, which uses the three-pronged ABC test to determine whether a worker is an employee or an independent contractor.
The district court will not take up the request from the California
A formal request for a preliminary injunction would need to be filed by Jan. 11. The state and the Teamsters Union are the defendants in the case and must file a response by March 8.
Originally, an appellate court, at the request of the CTA, blocked the law from going into effect, hoping the U.S. Supreme Court would take up the issue. CTA argued that federal law prevents California from passing legislation that interferes with interstate commerce. The high court, however, declined from
Dynamex decision and codifying the ABC test for determining worker status.
The trucking industry has been particularly focused on the B section of the ABC test, worrying that an independent doesn’t perform work that is outside the usual course of the business that hires them. A trucking company hiring an independent contractor to move freight has an obvious conflict with the B prong.
Benitez ruled that AB5 ran afoul of the Federal Aviation Administration Authorization Act, a 1994 law that restricts states from passing laws involving transportation. In the new hearing, the court will also have to consider the commerce clause to the Constitution which gives the Congress the duty to regulate commerce with foreign nations and between the states.
“The Commerce Clause gives Congress the authority to regulate commerce between the states,” OOIDA stated in the original brief. “This grant of authority implies a restriction on state’s authority to interrupt—by discriminating against or imposing improper burdens on— interstate commerce.”
OOIDA further said that “applying AB5 to the motor carrier industry means that carriers will no longer be able to use independent owner operators in California, ending a business model that has served as the lifeblood of the industry.”
Trucking Association (CTA) and the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association (OOIDA) to stop the law until May 1. Briefs in the case were filed in December, but in an agreement among all parties, the court set a new schedule for deadlines involving the litigation.
hearing the case.
Judge Roger Benitez, the appellate court judge who ruled on the original injunction may be asked to decide on the case once again. AB5 was approved by the state in 2019 not long after the California Supreme Court ruled in the
Instead of the ABC test, OOIDA argues that the multi-prong “Borello test” was a better guide in determining litigation on employee versus independent contractor status. “OOIDA is not aware of any instance when the application of Borello has failed to address misclassification problems that may be found in the trucking industry,” OOIDA said.
www.punjabitruckingusa.com January - March 2023 32 INDUSTRY NEWS
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www.punjabitruckingusa.com January - March 2023 34
Biden Administration Announces $36 Billion Bailout of Truckers Pension Fund
More than 350,000 workers, who had their retirement pensions through the Central States Pension Fund (CPSF), received a welcome Christmas present in December when the Biden Administration released $36 billion in bailout money for the distressed fund.
Most of the workers were Teamsters who drove for lessthan-truckload carriers Yellow and ABF Freight. The money was authorized through the Butch Lewis Pension Plan Relief Act of 2021 and was part of the $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan which was President Biden’s first piece of consequential legislation.
Lewis was an Ohio native and Vietnam War veteran who later became the president of a local Teamsters’ chapter in Cincinnati. He became a political activist after the 2014
passage of the Multiemployer Pension Reform Act which threatened large cuts to pension plans.
“These workers paid into the fund for years or even decades and faced cuts through no fault of their own,” a spokesman for the White House said in December. “Approved by the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation, this is the largestever award of federal financial support for worker and retiree pension security and the largest award from the American Rescue Plan’s Special Financial Assistance Program.”
CPSF had been the largest financially troubled multiemployer pension plan in the nation. Experts predicted it would be insolvent by 2025 with workers and retirees facing a 60% cut in benefits. Now, the fund should be paying out full benefits until 2051.
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www.punjabitruckingusa.com January - March 2023 35
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Abipartisan bill introduced into the U.S. House of Representatives in December would for the first time allow truck drivers access to restroom facilities at commercial retailers, warehouses and ports while delivering or loading freight.
The bill, labeled the Trucker Bathroom Access Act, was cosponsored by Rep. Troy Nehls (R-Texas and Chrissy Houlahan (D-Penn.). It ensures that it against federal law not to allow bathroom access for truck drivers who are on duty. The bill is based on similar state legislation from Washington and
Bipartisan Bill Gives Truck Drivers Access to Restrooms
“American truckers are this nation’s backbone, and we owe them a debt of gratitude for the tremendous contributions they made during the pandemic,” said Nehls in a press release. The Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association (OOIDA) and the Women In Trucking Association (WIT) lobbied for the bill.
In thanking the legislators for introducing the bill, OOIDA President Todd Spencer said, “We’ve heard from countless drivers who have been forced to ‘hold it’ because they were not allowed to access the bathroom when they were picking up or delivering freight. The men and women of America’s trucking industry keep our supply chain moving, and it’s only reasonable that their most basic needs be accommodated while they are on the job.”
Houlahan noted that as more women come into the industry, equal access to facilities is essential. She said the legislation “will give all truckers, and female drivers in particular, the confidence of having access to a restroom when they deliver goods to businesses and American families. Ultimately, keeping more drivers on the road means fewer supply chain delays and lower costs.”
Facilities covered under the legislation include “a place of business open to the general public for the sale of goods or services,” and “a shipper, receiver, manufacturer, warehouse, distribution center or any other business entity that is receiving or sending goods by commercial motor vehicle.”
Railroad facilities, however, are not covered by the legislation, nor is “any structure such as a filling station, service station or restaurant of 800 square feet or less that has a restroom located within such structure that is only intended for use by employees.”
A separate section of the bill covers seaports and says that port officials should provide:
Access to existing restrooms while covered drayage truck operators are on port property and when such access does not pose an obvious safety risk to such truck operators and other employees.
Additional restrooms, if necessary, at locations where there is the most need.
A place for covered drayage truck operators to park vehicles while accessing such restrooms.
www.punjabitruckingusa.com January - March 2023 36 INDUSTRY NEWS
Uber Freight Partners with Volvo Autonomous Solutions but Will Be Patient in Development of Driverless Trucks
In another partnership between an autonomous technology company and either a truck manufacturer, freight carrier or retailer, Uber Freight will now team with Volvo Autonomous Solutions to eventually put driverless trucks on the road delivering Uber freight.
In the announcement on the Uber Freight website, the company said, “Uber Freight and Volvo Autonomous Solutions (V.A.S.) have announced a multi-phase commercial and technology partnership to deploy Volvo’s autonomous transport solution on the Uber Freight network. Uber Freight will be one of V.A.S.’s first customers to pilot their hub-to-hub autonomous offering. As a part of the partnership, V.A.S. will offer autonomous freight capacity to Uber Freight shippers on select routes, starting in Texas.”
Missing from the announcement, however, is any reference to the dates that this partnership will begin putting trucks on the road. Both Uber and Volvo seem to be using patience as to when the first piece of freight will be delivered.
Lack of a timeline may not be a bad thing as other autonomous developers have introduced partnerships which have yet to become productive. Last year, TuSimple said it had delayed its development of an autonomous Navistar International Class 8
truck and the truck manufacturer subsequently cut ties with the fledgling technology firm. After the announcement of the breakup, TuSimple’s shares dropped to a 52-week low of $1.99.
Likewise, Aurora Innovation has also delayed commercialization of its Aurora Driver system until 2024. CEO Chris Urmson said in a company report, “Aurora will not launch our autonomous trucking product until our Safety Case for our initial driverless operations is complete.”
Analysts say the industry is still grappling with several questions about autonomous trucks. One major issue is whether a driver will need to always be on board—most preliminary runs have involved in-cab employees monitoring the truck’s progress, and in some cases, law enforcement also keeping track of the vehicle.
Another major issue is fueling, or since most autonomous trucks are electric, charging stations. Specialized stations will have to be provided with attendants on duty to receive such trucks.
Other issues include inspections, weigh stations, toll booths, connecting to fleet management systems, and maintenance. Repair and maintenance are particularly important since the ultimate goal would be to run driverless trucks for as many hours as possible.
www.punjabitruckingusa.com January - March 2023 37
Coalitions in the Southwest and Southeast Establish Hydrogen Networks
With federal funding available through the 2021 Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, the states of Arizona and Nevada have teamed with the Navajo Nation to establish the Southwest Clean Hydrogen Innovation Network (SHINe) to build hydrogen hubs across the Southwest. Likewise, states in the Southeast have formed a similar collaboration.
SHINe has recently submitted a concept paper to the U.S. Department of Energy that includes its plans for production, processing, storage, and delivery systems for hydrogen fueling.
“The SHINe network includes salt cavern storage, heavy-duty transportation and distribution technologies that will help accelerate the use of clean hydrogen as a source of low-carbon energy powering the economy,” said Ellen Stechel, executive director of the Center for an Arizona Carbon-Neutral Economy (AzCaNE) in a press release.
AzCaNE is a product of the hydrogen hub coalition at Arizona State University in Tempe. The Center and its partners hope to take advantage of available undeveloped land in the desert as well as its proximity to California which
has already established rigorous zeroemissions goals.
Along with the Navajo Nation, which spans an area of over 27,000 square miles, SHINe also includes more than 40 Arizona organizations, including the city of Phoenix, nonprofits, private companies and state agencies in Nevada and Arizona.
SHINe has also partnered with local utilities such as the Salt River Project, Southwest Gas and Tucson Electric Power. Participating educational institutions include ASU, North Arizona University in Flagstaff, University of Arizona in Tucson, and University of Nevada-Las Vegas.
In the east, the Southeast Hydrogen Hub coalition recently announced it had been created among an increasing group of hydrogen users in Alabama, Georgia, Kentucky, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Tennessee.
Partners include Columbus, Ohio-based national science and technology leader Battelle, a private science and technology non-profit, Dominion Energy, Duke Energy, Louisville Gas and Electric Co., Kentucky Utilities Co., Southern Co.,
and the Tennessee Valley Authority.
A Battelle Institute press release said, “A hydrogen hub in the southeastern U.S. is expected to bring robust economic development benefits to the region, and hydrogen is attractive as an energy resource because it has immediate potential to accelerate decarbonization in the Southeast and across all sectors of the U.S. economy—including transportation, which generates the largest share of greenhouse gas emissions in the country.”
These utilities provide energy to a significant portion of the Southeast and the inclusion of hydrogen fueling will help economic growth in the region.
“With the nation’s leading utilities forming a solid, customer-centered foundation, the Southeast Hydrogen Hub promises to become a new catalyst for economic development and growth, while bringing broad, economy wide decarbonization to the customers and communities we serve,” said Chris Cummiskey, executive vice president, chief commercial officer and customer solutions officer at Southern Co., which serves nine million customers.
www.punjabitruckingusa.com January - March 2023 38
INDUSTRY NEWS November & December 2022
Amazon Introduces Driver Tipping
Feature Just as it is Sued by Washington D.C. Over Use of Tips
It was one step forward and one step back this December for Amazon. At the same time as the e-commerce giant was introducing a feature meant to put more money in the pockets
with the same amount going to a charity of that driver’s choice.
During the same week, Washington D.C. Attorney General Karl Racine announced that a lawsuit had been filed against Amazon alleging that tips meant for drivers were used to increase the company’s profits and support its labor costs. Racine’s claims Amazon violated the district’s Consumer Protection Procedures Act by misleading both customers and delivery drivers about where their tips were going.
“Workers in the District of Columbia and throughout our country are too often taken advantage of and not paid their hard-earned wages,” Racine said in a press release.
“What’s more, consumers need to know where their tips are going. This suit is about providing workers the tips they are owed and telling consumers the truth. Amazon, one of the world’s wealthiest companies, certainly does not need to take tips that belong to workers. Amazon can and should do better,” concluded Racine.
The suit alleges that Amazon’s Flex delivery service Flex changed its driver payment model to include customer tips into the base salary without informing drivers or customers of the change.
When a payment was made for merchandise delivered by a Flex driver, customers were encouraged to add a driver tip and were even prescribed a preselected amount. According to the lawsuit, Amazon clearly told customers that “100% of your tip goes to your courier.”
of its delivery drivers, they were sued by the District of Columbia for profiting on customer tips.
A new feature introduced in December would allow a driver to get an additional $5 just because a customer told their Alexa device, “Alexa, thank my driver.” The added money would be paid by Amazon and not the customer.
This feature applies to the first one million acknowledgements and the five drivers with the most thanks will receive $10,000
However, that tip was actually being used to subsidize driver base salaries and not extra. In response, Amazon said it stopped that practice in 2019 and that a settlement with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) covered any payments owed to drivers. Amazon says the D.C lawsuit is without merit.
In 2021, Amazon paid out $62 million to Flex drivers as part of the settlement with the FTC. Now Racine is seeking civil penalties for consumer harm and a court order that would stop the company from subsidizing driver base pay with tips in the future.
www.punjabitruckingusa.com January - March 2023 39 INDUSTRY NEWS
FMCSA Study Looks at How to Prevent Crimes Against Truckers
Two recent research studies have examined the degree to which America’s truck drivers are victims of harassment and assault and how those crimes can be averted. Minorities and women are more likely to be victims, according to the studies by the Battelle Memorial Institute and the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA).
FMCSA’s report is titled the “Crime Prevention for Truckers Study.”
In virtually every category of the FMCSA report, male minorities and women were more likely to encounter issues such as being called a derogatory name, vocally threatened, vandalized, pushed, or physically harmed, threatened with a weapon, or touched inappropriately.
“Harassment is more likely to happen at truck stops, places where truck drivers pick up or deliver cargo, and fueling stations,” according to the two-year study by the Battelle Memorial Institute, based in Columbus, Ohio.
FMCSA’s Office of Analysis, Research, and Technology authorized the five-year “Crime Prevention for Truckers Study” to better understand the nature and prevalence of harassment and assaults against truckers. The study should also be helpful for fleet managers, truck stop operators, and law enforcement officers in their efforts to address the problem.
FMCSA’s report had five major conclusions:
Nature and Frequency of Crimes
According to the report, “Crimes against truck drivers are prevalent.” Between 50% and 60% of all truck drivers have been harassed in some way, with women reporting the most instances of harassment. The study found that “Being called undesirable names and receiving threatening words are by far the most common harassment truck drivers experience.” Women were more likely to get “pushed or hit or physically hurt.” In addition, “Relative to male truck drivers, women truck drivers are particularly exposed to crimes that are sexual in nature.”
Where and When do These Incidents Happen
The study found that while harassment can happen anywhere, it is most likely experienced at truck stops (23%-30%), cargo pick-up or delivery locations (15%17%) and fueling stations (9%-11%). It can also happen while the driver is inside their truck (15%-33%). The study also concluded that “crimes can happen at any day and time, crimes against women truck drivers are more likely to happen at night (after 12 a.m. to 6 a.m.).”
Characteristics of the Harasser
The report says, “The individuals committing crimes against truck drivers are more likely to be other truck drivers whom the victims did not already know (e.g., 31% of women, 27% of minority male, and 34% of non-minority male truckers who were victims mentioned that the perpetrator was another truck driver they did not know before). Relative to men, women truck drivers are more likely to experience harassment from another truck driver at their company (15%) or by their trainers (11%).”
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More than half of harassment incidents involving truck drivers go unreported. Women are more likely than males to report an incident. Many believe it will make no difference if they report the offense or not. The study said there was “a reluctance by truck drivers in reporting the harassment incidents and follow-up with harassment complaints by respective departments in their trucking companies.”
Statistical Comparison of Crimes Among Trucker Groups
While the study found there wasn’t “a statistically significant difference in the experience of harassment overall for women and minority males compared to non-minority men,” it did find that women drivers were “2 to 4 times more likely to report being touched without permission compared to non-minority males.” And minority women were 2%-
6% more likely to experience unwanted touching compared to non-minority males.
The report provided several recommendations about how harassment and assault can be stopped:
• Enhanced safety at trucking facilities topped the list, including “safe and welllit sidewalks between parking lots and fueling islands to the store or cashier area would deter the aggressors. Location of restrooms should be closer to parking entrances as opposed to secluded areas. Presence of a safety patrol and local law enforcement will also improve safety.”
• Provide more parking. Drivers surveyed said that “many of the crimes that happen against truckers are the direct result of limited parking availability, especially in urban areas.”
• Many drivers surveyed in the report
said they would like to carry a firearm. Currently, many trucking fleets, shippers and receivers don’t allow drivers to carry firearms. The report said, “Many truck drivers suggested a regulation that prohibits carriers from barring their drivers and employees from carrying legally owned firearms, and barring shippers and receivers from prohibiting firearms on their properties.”
• Improved communications would allow drivers, dispatchers, and customers to develop efficient and safe travel plans.
• Increased personal safety training is needed. Specialized training could take place along with safe driving and maintaining cargo security.
• Develop educational material with topics such as “how to recognize, prevent, interject, and report crimes.”
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New Technology Provides Solutions for Driver Distraction Problems
distraction and risk, both inside and outside of the vehicle, including cell phone usage, eating or drinking, smoking, seat belt use, general inattentiveness, failure to stop at intersections, weaving within or departing from lanes and unsafe following distances.”
Rising insurance premiums and policies that go unrenewed because of safety issues are driving the trucking industry to analyze the problem of driver distractedness more carefully.
Cell phone usage is an obvious culprit, while eating, drinking, smoking, and reaching for objects in the cab are also responsible for drivers diverting their attention from the road. Luckily, new technology is available that can alert fleet managers to potential problems before they result in a costly accident.
One such solution is offered by San Diego-based company Lytx which manufactures and sells video telematics products used by commercial and publicsector fleets to help improve driver safety and productivity.
According to the Lytx website, its MV+AI (machine vision plus artificial intelligence) technology “helps identify
The MV+AI system alerts drivers and helps “empower” them to alter behavior in “real time to avoid potential collisions.” In addition, fleet managers can use video footage and “comprehensive dashboards” to track drivers and ensure accountability.
Another company providing similar technology is Ontario, Canada-based Zenduit, whose Driver Distraction Camera measures both driver fatigue and distractedness.
According to the company’s website, “The detection is focused on a driver’s physical indicators, such as gaze direction and facial features that reflect a driver’s overall alertness.” The camera also produces a sound alert when it detects problems.
Texas-based Solera Fleet Solutions offers an eDriving solution. According to Solera’s website, eDriving provides risk reduction (over 80% reduction in risky events), privacy protection and automatic crash detection which sends out an alert. The product is available for big rigs, light-duty trucks, and private
Michal Yariv, vice president and general manager of strategic initiatives for Solera Fleet Solutions, said, “We now have the ability to notice the driver doesn’t have a seat belt on. Or the driver’s eyes are looking drowsy. And we can give some sort of audible warning to the driver and let them know that they’re doing something dangerous.”
North Carolina-based Best Logistics has been using software from San Diego-based Netradyne to decrease insurance claims and improve driver safety. Netradyne products, including the Driver•i fleet dashcam, provide realtime alerts, actionable data for improving safety, and transparency for drivers.
The dashcam, mounted on the cab’s windshield, uses artificial intelligence to identify road signs, signals, pedestrians while delivering data in real time. The system’s alerts operate at more than 98% accuracy.
The Netradyne system has an onboard coaching feature to alert drivers to what the camera is detecting. “Hopefully drivers respond to that” with more attentive driving, said Brannan Ekins, safety supervisor for Best Logistics. “Some of them get pretty upset with it. We know why they’re distracted and if we need to follow up with a coaching discussion, we can do that now.”
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www.punjabitruckingusa.com January - March 2023 43 TRUCKING NEWS Punjabi Trucking Magazine delivered FREE to your home or office. Only $10.00 per year Just pay shipping & handling and get it via US Mail anywhere in USA Subscribe today Email: email@example.com or call 877.806.2525
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Investors Eye Mexico as New Destination for Manufacturing
Mexico may soon be exporting more than mariachi music and sombreros as transnational companies eye the North American nation for investments in manufacturing. In fact, foreign direct investment (FDI) in Mexico increased about 30% to over $32 billion in the first three quarters of 2022 with 45% of that being new investment.
Analysts believe that many companies are looking at Mexico as a more attractive alternative to China and other parts of Asia for production of retail goods. Called “nearshoring,” it’s when a business moves its operations to a country which is closer to the final consumer.
In this case, Mexico is far closer to American borders than
China. In 2020, the U.S. imported $434.7 billion in goods from China.
Of course, Mexico has its issues, including consistent violence which plagues several areas of the country. Mexico is currently involved in several disputes with the U.S. involving the U.S.Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA), the trade settlement that replaced NAFTA. The nation also needs to improve its physical and digital infrastructure if it wants to entice tech companies.
Nevertheless, Mexico is drawing the attention of investors. In November, Mexican Foreign Minister Raquel Buenrostro told the Mexican Senate that hundreds of foreign companies are looking at relocating their operations.
“More than 400 North American companies have the intention to carry out a relocation process from Asia to Mexico,” said Buenrostro. “This is a sign of the importance of the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement, a trade pact where ties with the U.S. and Canada have been strengthened, and where an institutional framework was established that grants legal certainty to investors, businessmen and consumers in the region.”
After the signing of the USMCA in 2020, analysts believed that a flood of manufacturers would move factories to Mexico, but the pandemic put a damper on those plans. Now, however, with the opening of the North American economy and China still plagued by shutdowns and quarantines, Mexico is a realistic alternative for many companies.
Mexico already has a robust manufacturing base that is connected with U.S. companies, especially involving automobiles and automotive parts. Both Ford and Chevrolet maintain manufacturing plants in the nation.
An attractive element of nearshoring is that Mexico’s minimum wage is only about $1 an hour, while China’s has increased to about $3 an hour. Cheaper labor costs would add to lower transportation costs for companies moving to Mexico.
Another factor is tariffs. Goods coming to the U.S. from China are slapped with a 25% tariff while goods from Mexico may qualify for duty-free importation under the USMCA.
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