Open Road Winter 2017

Page 1

Quarter 4, 2017

Fall Conference Tech & Trucking

Cathy Gautreaux Moves to Washington

Allied Interview with Judy Smart

LMTA’s Message to the Capitol

CONTENTS Letter From the Former Executive Director


Cathy Gautreaux



Cathy Gautreaux’s beginnings at LMTA lead her to the Capitol by Steve Wheeler

The Voice of the industry


LMTA’s Call on Washington by Timothy Boone

Q&A with Allied Industry


President of Roadrunner Towing and Recovery, Judy Smart by Timothy Boone

Fall Transportation Conference


Hot topics and discussions about the future by Ted Griggs

LMTA Hits the Road with Renaissance


Meet the new publisher of Open Road by Topher Balfer

Legal Perspective


Case Notes: Owner Operator Issues by Douglas K. Williams, Breazeale, Sachse & Wilson, L.L.P.

Calendar of Events


Looking ahead to 2018 with LMTA

New LMTA Members 2018


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Letter from the former Executive Director

VOLUME 8, Issue 4 Open Road is owned by the Louisiana Motor Transport Association and published four times a year. For more information, contact the LMTA at 225-928-5682.

production editor / administrative services

Dana P. Weidman

published by renaissance publishing llc editor Jessica DeBold art director Ali Sullivan Chief Executive officer Todd Matherne vP of sales Colleen Monaghan account executive Tess Jones contributing writers Timothy Boone,

Ted Griggs, Doug Williams, Steve Wheeler Photographer John Ballance LMTA Officers John Austin

Chairman of the Board Bengal Transportation Services Andrew Guinn PRESIDENT Port Aggregates, Inc.

David Newman 2nd vice president Newman Transport, LLC

Gary Gobert 1ST VICE PRESIDENT Lake City Trucking

Todd Ruple SECRETARY Preferred Materials, Inc.

Judy Smart Treasurer Roadrunner Towing & Recovery, Inc. Kary Bryce Ata vice president Preferred Materials, Inc.

Louisiana Motor Transport Association (LMTA) is a Louisiana association of trucking companies, private carrier fleets and businesses which serve or supply the trucking industry. LMTA serves these companies as a government affairs representative before legislative, regulatory and executive branches of government on issues that affect the trucking industry. The association also provides public relations services and serves as a forum for industry meetings and membership relations. For information contact LMTA at: Louisiana Motor Transport Association, Inc. 4838 Bennington Avenue • PO Box 80278 Baton Rouge, LA 70898 • Phone: 225-928-5682 • Fax: 225-928-0500

“The past is your lesson, the present is your gift and the future is your motivation.” I’m writing my last column from Washington, D.C. after my first week as the Deputy Administrator of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration. With my right hand on the family Bible, I freely took a formal oath of office and signed a pledge to defend the Constitution of the United States and faithfully discharge the duties of the office. So help me God. The last few months have been a whirlwind. Ending a career with LMTA after 32 years was a challenge in and of itself, but starting a new career with the Federal government and moving to Washington, D.C.? Now, that’s something I didn’t anticipate would happen this late in my professional career! The Past is Your Lesson. My tenure with LMTA introduced me to the trucking industry and taught me its history, its diversity, its unique challenges and above all else its importance to America. I witnessed the evolution of this industry through the fall of economic regulation, the transition to safety regulation and the arrival of technology that will greatly change the trucking industry as we know it. I will never forget the people who shared their challenges —­­­­both good and bad — over the years that provided me with the foundation for this new position. The Present is Your Gift. As I find myself in the nation’s Capitol, I am awestruck with its beauty, it’s significance and its purpose. I have been given the opportunity to lead a modal administration inside the United States Department of Transportation (USDOT) — using the experiences and knowledge that I gained while at LMTA. This opportunity is truly a gift and a challenge that I take very seriously. The Future is Your Motivation. Having been in the position only five (5) days so far, I can truly say that I have reflected on my years at LMTA every single day. My inspiration is the men and women of the trucking industry — United States citizens who own and/or operate trucks. My goal is to provide them with a modal agency that understands their challenges and motivations, applies the regulations fairly and equitably and enforces the law without prejudice — all accomplished through a collaborative effort that is committed to ensuring and improving safety on our nation’s highways. Saying goodbye to my friends in the trucking industry was hard. I will never forget you.

To advertise call Tess at (504) 830-7239 or email Copyright 2017 Open Road, Louisiana Motor Transport Association and Renaissance Publishing LLC. POSTMASTER: Send address changes to Louisiana Motor Transport Association, Inc. 4838 Bennington Avenue • PO Box 80278 . No part of this publication may be reproduced without the consent of the owner or Publisher. The opinions expressed in this publication are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the view of the magazine’s managers, owners or publisher. Open Road is not responsible for unsolicited manuscripts, photos and artwork even if accompanied by a self addressed stamped envelope.

110 Veterans Memorial Blvd., Ste. 123, Metairie, LA 70005 (504) 828-1380 •

Cathy Gautreaux Deputy Administrator Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration

“How lucky I am to have something that makes saying goodbye so hard.” – A.A. Milne

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Cathy Gautreaux BY STEVE WHEELER

It’s not clear who changed more during the past 32 years: Cathy Gautreaux or the association she directed for many of those years. When the young, wide-eyed Kelly Girl walked through the doors of the Louisiana Motor Transport Association more than three decades ago as a temporary receptionist, there was no way Gautreaux nor the LMTA could have envisioned that she would wind


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up as the association’s executive director, leading the group through tumultuous times, through legislative victories and through the storms of trucking industry regulation. From issues like interstate deregulation, to indemnification, to sales tax emptions for truckers, Gautreaux has guided the LMTA to major legislative victories for the trucking industry. She hasn’t won every fight,

of course, but at crunch time, the LMTA knew that Gautreaux would be standing tall at the State Capitol, fighting for Louisiana’s truckers and the trucking industry. November marks the end of an era at the Bennington Avenue offices of the LMTA. Gautreaux is leaving the association to take a new job at the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration in Washington, D.C.

The Early Years “I needed a job,” Gautreaux remembers, when she first walked into the LMTA offices three decades ago. “I thought I was headed to law school. I was promoted to the LMTA office manager after a few months. I had no clue about the trucking industry or what a trade association was. After the association went through five executive directors, they offered the position to me because I was basically doing the job through all the changes.” When Gautreaux was named executive director, it raised more than a few eyebrows in Louisiana and across the country. At the time, there were only two other women managers of state trucking associations in the United States. “I had no lobbying experience and was deathly afraid that I would miss some remote tax increase embedded in a piece of legislation,” Gautreaux laughed. “I lost a lot of sleep during my first few legislative sessions. Lucky for me, there were four special sessions that really didn’t impact trucking during my first year, which gave me an opportunity to learn the art of lobbying at the Capitol.” After all, lobbying lawmakers is one of the primary functions of every trade association. And for an industry as heavily regulated as trucking, lobbying is a critical part of the job. Gautreaux may not have had a lot of experience at first, “but I had so many people — LMTA members, other lobbyists, etc. — who took me under their wing and helped me along the way,” she said. “There is no way I could have been successful without so many people who I wish I could name and thank personally.” Things were very different 30-plus years ago down at the State Capitol, Gautreaux’s home away from home.

“Every piece of legislation was printed,“ she said. “We had a legislative service that dropped off a huge packet of legislation every morning during the session that you had to read and decipher the good and the bad. Committee meetings were not really publicized — you just had to jump in and find out what was going on.” When Gautreaux was named LMTA office manager, there was no one to train her. “So,” she said, “I went through each file cabinet drawer and read the administrative files on everything from the building mortgage payments, employee payroll, convention planning, etc. I would not recommend that as the preferred way to learn a job!” Gautreaux, who previously worked for the Ascension Parish Sheriff’s Office, believes that law enforcement experience helped her in her job directing the LMTA. “You learn the difference between fact and fiction, who to trust, who is a real threat and how to stand up to intimidation,” she said. “Bluffing and threats are a waste of time and energy. If you are going to do something, just do it. “I look back and think I was timid about making waves at the Capitol,” Gautreaux said, [something that is no longer a problem]. “With experience comes self-confidence,” she continued. “With support from the membership comes determination and purpose. If you have never lost as a lobbyist, you have compromised too much and have given away the store, just to call it a ‘win.’ That’s lazy lobbying. Drives me nuts! I’d rather lose with dignity.” Gautreaux said she never looked for a fight at the State Capitol, but was never afraid of one either.

“I’ve Been Blessed” As executive director of the LMTA, Gautreaux has learned volumes about the trucking industry and met many trucking company owners. She sees them as the backbone of the country, small family businesses whose owners work hard, honestly and fairly. “Over the years, I’ve been blessed with the opportunity to learn about this incredible industry and how important it is to the state and nation,” she said. “I’ve developed a true passion for the industry.” Having been in law enforcement and in the industry, Gautreaux sees her new job as middle ground. “I get to use my experience in both areas to promote safety and support an industry I have learned to love and respect,” she said. “I think motor carrier safety starts and ends with boots on the ground, the man or woman behind the wheel of the truck and the MCSAP officer in the patrol car. We need to give them the tools and training to do their job safely.” Gautreaux has witnessed many changes and challenges in the industry over the decades. Today, however, she believes the biggest challenges and changes facing the trucking industry include rapidly evolving technology and the focus on safety with Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations. “Now we are embarking upon the science and technology phase, and it will change this industry forever,” she said.

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LMTA Victories • Prohibited fines for Non-Violations of ”Right to Know” Law • Defeated attempt to restrict warranty repairs • Anti-indemnification legislation • Dedication of truck fees to highways • Created “logo” plates for LA carriers • Passed law for UCR in LA • Eliminated mandatory CDL suspension • Defending CMV sales tax exemption permanent

Top Legislative Victories

• Defeated increased container weights • Defeated lane and speed restrictions • Clarified permits for containers • Eliminated fines for containers proven to be in international commerce • Clarified owner-operators are independent contractors • Clarified reporting of hazmat incidents • Exempted IRP vehicles from mandatory participation in state inspection program • Increased legal height on interstate to 14 feet • Required all moving violations to be posted on driver operating record • Eliminated mandatory payment of fines at weigh scales & roadsides • Defeated 500% truck fee increase • Created permanent truck plates • Defined reimbursable expenses to fire departments responding to incidents • Repealed the 2% gross receipts tax


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Consolidation of LA Private and For-Hire Truck Plates. Prior to deregulation of the industry, for-hire motor carrier plates were twice as high as private motor carrier plates, even though private motor carriers could and were operating as for-hire carriers for back haul. This leveled the playing field. Deregulation. The intrastate trucking industry was deregulated by an act of Congress. We defeated an attempt by the LPSC to create a registration system in the state to maintain their control over the trucking industry and collect fees from motor carriers. Sales Tax Exemption. For over 10 years, we fought for a sales tax exemption for trucks operating in interstate commerce and as a result, it was finally made permanent. Unified Carrier Registration (UCR). We passed legislation to implement the national UCR program and ensure that the Louisiana State Police (LSP) — not the Louisiana Public Service Commission (LPSC) — would receive the fees collected from Louisiana motor carriers to support safety enforcement. We did not want the LSP to be dependent upon self-generated funds.

Indemnification. The most significant, costly, heated legislative victory in LMTA history, this legislation prohibits large shippers from requiring motor carriers to assume liability for the shipper’s negligence as a matter of public policy. For this victory, I received the national ATA President’s Award. Warranty Repair. We defeated an attempt to require all warranty work on trucks to be completed at a dealership, even if the motor carriers had permission from the manufacturer to complete minor repairs. Without this victory, trucks could have been stuck at dealerships for days or weeks waiting for minor repairs. Highway Funding. LMTA supported the TIMED Program. However, over the past several years, there have been many attempts to shift a significant portion of the highway funding burden to the trucking industry. In the 2017 regular legislative session, legislation was introduced to impose lane restrictions and a speed differential on the trucking industry in retaliation for LMTA remaining neutral in the attempt to raise fuel taxes by 30 cents and/ or 17 cents per gallon. The trucking industry is considered “the means to an end” to fund highways without new administrative benefits or operational efficiencies to offset the increased operating taxes. The trucking industry needs to remain a strong, effective, independent voice in the highway funding arena — answerable to no one but itself as highway users with no profit incentive. B

Answering the Call Attendees discuss annual LMTA Call on Washington By Timothy Boone

The annual Call on Washington, a chance for representatives of the Louisiana trucking industry to meet with the state’s Congressional delegation and discuss important industry issues, was held in late September. This year, 16 people made the trip, said Cathy Gautreaux, the former executive director of the Louisiana Motor Transportation Association. Usually, the Louisiana delegation is between 10 and 15 people, but it has been as high as 25 or so members in the past. “It’s incredibly important for our elected officials in Washington to hear from us in person,” she said. “If a motor carrier takes the time to go to Washington, those members of Congress recognize the time and expense it takes for them to get there.” The group met with all of the members of the state’s Congressional delegation, except for Rep. Steve Scalise, R-Jefferson, who was recovering after being attacked by a gunman earlier in the summer. Gautreaux said Scalise made his dramatic return to Congress the day after the local Call on Washington was wrapped up. The highlight of this year’s trip was a nighttime behind-the-scenes tour of the United States Capitol that was arranged by U.S. Rep. Garret Graves, R-Baton Rouge. About 10 of the people who made the trip got to go onto the floor of the House of 8

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Representatives. “We got to sit in the seats that our representatives sit in,” Gautreaux said. “He took us to areas that you normally cannot go through, like the Lincoln Room, and we got to look out on the National Mall at night. It was absolutely fabulous.” The LMTA had several issues in mind to discuss with Louisiana’s senators and representatives. Those topics included stabilizing the federal highway trust fund through higher fuel taxes, making available more parking off of interstate highways, setting up a pilot program to allow 18-20year-olds to operate commercial vehicles to address the shortage of truck drivers and giving the trucking industry a say in rules as autonomous vehicles are developed. State Rep. John E. Guinn, R-Jennings, said he made his first trip to Washington because he was concerned about the new federal rules mandating the use of electronic logging devices to monitor driver hours instead of the current paper logbook system. “I was curious as to the outcome of those computerized log systems,” Guinn said. He’s a former truck driver, who now works as an auctioneer selling trucks, so he has a special interest in the regulations. The LMTA is remaining neutral on the issue of electronic log systems, although the American Trucking Association is in favor of the measure.

Another first-time attendee was James “Gary” Gobert, president of Lake Charles-based Lake City Trucking. Gobert said he decided to participate in the Call on Washington for the first time because he’s now the first Vice President of the LMTA. “Being an officer, I felt like it was my duty to go,” he said. Gobert said the trip was worth it because he got a better insight on both how Congress and the ATA operate. “I have a better understanding of the ATA and where all the money they’re asking for goes,” he said. “I would suggest anybody in the trucking industry who gets the opportunity to go on this trip should take it.” The experience was so insightful that Gobert is already planning to attend the 2018 Call on Washington. Said Gobert, “I was able to see how the other guys dealt with the delegation, so maybe next time I’ll be able to talk directly to them.” B


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Q&A with Allied Industry

Judy Smart

President of Roadrunner Towing and Recovery

By Timothy Boone

What type of business are you in? How did you get started in this business? How long have you been in this business? Judy Smart‘s late husband, James Smart, started Roadrunner Towing & Recovery, Inc. in 1968. The company will be celebrating 50 years in business next year. While delivering a truck in Tennessee he met Judy through mutual friends and they began a long distance relationship. They married in 1974 and became partners in life and in business. “To my knowledge, I soon became the first lady to actually drive and operate a tow truck in Louisiana.” said Ms. Smart. How long have you been a member of the LMTA? What do you see as the greatest value you/your company bring to the LMTA? “We became members of the LMTA in 1985, and immediately became active in the association. James served as the president of the Baton Rouge chapter,” a position that Judy later assumed. Roadrunner is not only one of the most active companies in the LMTA, bringing a unique prospective to the association, but they are also one of the association’s most generous and longtime sponsors. As one of the few female trucking company owners and LMTA Board Members, Judy brings a distinctive style and opinion to association initiatives. Judy is also always quick to encourage LMTA members to support TransPac, LMTA’s political action committee. She urges them to note on any checks that they send directly to candidates that they are LMTA Members.

What do you see as the greatest value you/your company receive as a member of the LMTA? Ms. Smart says that one of the greatest values Roadrunner receives from the LMTA is respect for the towing industry. “The rapport we generate with the owners and management of trucking company members is invaluable.” “Our membership in the LMTA is distinctive in that we fall in the category of both an Allied and Trucking Company Member,” said Ms. Smart. What do you predict for the future of the trucking industry within your type of business? “Within the towing and recovery business, I think that we’re absolutely a necessary evil. You hate it that you have to be the one that goes and gets someone’s truck when it’s broken down or involved in an incident. But with all of the new technology, including cameras, hopefully we will soon be responding to fewer accidents,” said Ms. Smart What accomplishment(s) are you most proud of in your relationship with the LMTA and the trucking industry in Louisiana? Judy is most proud of the fact that both she and her husband received LMTA’s most prestigious T.H. Davidge Award from the LMTA for outstanding service to the trucking industry. James received it in 1996 and Judy received it in 2005. It’s such an honor to receive that award and Judy holds the honor of being the first woman to whom the award was presented. She is also grateful to LMTA and the trucking industry for allowing her the privilege of giving back to the association and the community. As everyone in the industry knows, Judy Smart is an ardent LSU fan and LMTA supporter. You always know where you stand with Judy! B

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2017 LMTA Fall Conference ELDs, Employer Notification Systems and Traffic Lead Fall Conference Discussions By Ted Griggs

Digital tools that improve safety like electronic logging devices, onboard cameras and notification systems that notify carriers when a driver is suspended generated much of the discussion at the LMTA Fall Conference. There are 6,000 active carriers in Louisiana, but less than 10 percent are LMTA members, said William Norris, Division Administrator, Louisiana Division Office, Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration. LMTA members comply with regulations for driver hours, but lots of other carriers don’t and that’s why electronic logging is necessary.

“It is not unusual for our folks to find drivers who have been up 21, 27, 32 hours continuously,” Norris said. “Will ELD stop it? I think it will start to shape a safety mindset.” Jonathan Weiner, FMCSA state program specialist, ran through a number of regulatory updates, including the delay for the Unified Registration System, designed to streamline registration; the entry-level driving rule, which takes effect Feb. 7, 2020; and the crash preventability demonstration program now underway. Those regulations and others will affect the trucking industry, he said. But the ELD is probably “the biggest rule in our agency in recent history.” 12

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Conference attendees wanted to know what Louisiana State Police and FMCSA officials recommended if drivers ran out of hours in a variety of scenarios. For example, what if the driver runs out of hours while waiting to pick up a load, and the shipper orders him to leave the property? Weiner said it may be possible for the driver to use a personal conveyance exemption to find a safe place to park. But the exemption covers a very limited distance. A trucker can’t just jump in the rig and drive an hour or more. LSP Capt. Chris Guillory said drivers should use common sense. The State Police aren’t out to hurt anyone. He recommended drivers use their smartphones to video a shipper in the event that they are ordered off the property. Meanwhile, Paige Paxton, manager of Driver Management, Louisiana Office of Motor Vehicles, told attendees that the employer notification system is live.

The system allows trucking companies to get digital notifications each morning if any of their drivers’ licenses have been suspended for any reason, whether it involves medical certification, not paying child support or taxes, or some other violation, she said. “Let’s face it. You’re a driver and you get suspended tomorrow, you’re going to drive as long as you can to feed your family,” Paxton said. The problem for trucking companies is that one accident, one fatality can be catastrophic, she said. Employer notification helps avoid liability issues generated by the old method — checking the Motor Vehicle Record or Official Driving Record once a year. Another topic that generated lots of discussion involved how best to warn drivers about slow-moving traffic or delays and prevent accidents caused by a truck running into the back of the queue. These slowdowns and the resulting accidents are a major problem on a four- or five-mile stretch eastbound on La. 415 every day around 5 p.m.

Conference Sponsors Patron Aeropres Corporation Port Aggregates, Inc. General Berard Transportation Compass Compliance Management Gulf South Insurance Agency, LLC Shreveport Truck Center Silver Drivewyze Grammer Industries Coffee Break C & S Wholesale Grocers SevenOaks Capital Associates, LLC Reception ENVOC National Tank Truck Carriers Peterbilt of Louisiana Port Aggregates, Inc.

Annual Sponsors Platinum Help, Inc. Gold Regions Insurance, Inc

LMTA Executive Director Cathy Gautreaux said the industry has discussed viable options to address this issue with the West Baton Rouge Parish Sheriff’s Office, Louisiana State Police and Motorist Assistance Patrol. The consensus was that nothing can be done, Gautreaux said. But she isn’t ready to accept that. Rachel Anderson, supervisor, Regional Traffic Management Centers, said DOTD has a Dynamic Message Sign, a big electronic sign that alerts truckers to lane closures and stoppages. Louisiana 511 Traveler Information also provides that information and more via computer or mobile device. The problem is that truckers can’t access their smartphones or tablets while driving, Gautreaux said. What’s needed is some sort of in-cab system that can provide an alert. Carriers said by the time they find out about an accident, it’s too late to tell a driver who’s on the road.

One possible solution could come from the Louisiana Transportation Research Center, which is looking into research projects to reduce fatalities, Gautreaux said. Although no one had the perfect solution to rear-end collisions on La. 415, Jim Angel, vice president of Video Intelligence Solutions for PeopleNet Communications, said carriers can protect themselves by equipping their trucks with video cameras. The placement of the cameras was also a large part of the discussion. The costs of claims tripled between 2005 and 2011, Angel said. It now costs well over $15,000 on average to repair a truck. However, studies show truckers are only at fault around 25 percent of the time in catastrophic collisions, he said. Still, carriers have to overcome a mindset, among the public and law enforcement, that typically blames the big truck for an accident. Video proof can flip that around, he said. B

Silver FedEx Corporation Grammer Industries Gulf Coast Business Credit Peoplenet Communications Port Aggregates, Inc. Southern Tire Mart, LLC TAB Bank Trico Transportation, Inc. UPS Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. Bronze Aeropres Corporation Bengal Transportation Services, LLC BMO Harris Bank N.A. Bruckner Truck Sales, Inc. Cash Magic Truck Stops Creel Brothers, Inc. Dedicated Transportation, LLC Dupre’ Logistics, LLC Ergon Trucking, Inc. Frisard’s Trucking Co., Inc. Lake City Trucking Newman Transport, LLC NOCS Transport, Ltd. Pilot Flying J Service Transport Company SevenOaks Capital Associates, LLC Transportation Compliance Services, USA Travel Centers of America d/b/a Petro Triple G Express, Inc. United Vision Logistics

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LMTA Hits the Road with Renaissance By Topher Balfer

The magazine in your hands is the same Open Road that has both informed and enlightened the trucking industry since 2009, but there is one small difference: the publisher. Beginning with this issue, the Louisiana Motor Transport Association has partnered with Renaissance Publishing, owned by CEO Todd Matherne and Editor-in-Chief Errol Laborde, to produce and distribute Open Road. The most award-winning print organization in the region, Renaissance Publishing’s in-house publications include New Orleans Magazine, Louisiana Life, Biz New Orleans, Acadiana Profile, and St. Charles Avenue. Open Road initially she grew from an annual publication to a quarterly under the guidance of LMTA Executive Director Cathy Gautreaux, and the magazine appealed to both the trucking industry and government officials alike. Dana Weidman, Office Manager, meeting planner, coordinator for the LMTA Safety Management Council and production editor, said that with Gautreaux departing the company for a leadership position in Washington, D.C., the LMTA team turned to a Louisiana-based publisher “to fully embrace our industry without losing its unique Louisiana flavor.”

“Although LMTA will continue to manage the content of the magazine, we look forward to Renaissance’s unique publishing style to draw in our members for a cover-tocover read,” Weidman said. Weidman added that LMTA was initially drawn to a partnership with Renaissance because of the company’s outstanding reputation for custom publishing—in addition to their in-house magazines, Renaissance produces Saints Gameday magazine, Lagniappe magazine for the Junior League of New Orleans and several other projects. “These are some very prestigious names that are trusted,” said Errol Laborde. “I don’t know if any other company in the state has the kind of client base that we have.” Laborde said that he and Todd Matherne were also attracted to a partnership with LMTA because of the sheer significance of the industry the organization represents. “It’s an important industry, one that probably doesn’t get the attention that it deserves,” he said. “If you think about it, New Orleans started as a river town. Then came automation, and now the highways have become the new rivers, and the trucks have become the steamboats.”

Jessica DeBold, manager of production and custom publishing at Renaissance, said the partnership fit like a “Cinderella shoe,” and that her creative team was already hard at work on a new “design lift” for Open Road. “We plan on implementing some of the same photography and layout strategies used in our in-house magazine, Biz New Orleans,” she said. “Developments are being made that we think Open Road readers will appreciate, like information about up-and-coming tools for the industry.” Art director Ali Sullivan said readers can expect to see the same great photography in Open Road, but that going into 2018 she hopes to bring more attention to the magazine with continuity throughout the issues and dramatic covers. This is the last issue with Cathy Gautreaux as Executive Director, so this issue is a special dedication to her years at LMTA. “Cathy has been imperative to the evolution of Open Road for years now, and we hope to pay tribute to her in this first issue by offering a fresh and impactful aesthetic that still holds true to the industry news readers look for,” Sullivan said. And although the partnership was formed in the midst of so many changes, one thing both organizations share is a strong hope for the future and the benefits that the relationship will bring. “Part of the goal of the magazine is to educate not only our members, but our government officials about issues facing the trucking industry today and in the future,” Weidman said. “We’re confident that the Renaissance Publishing team will help us meet this goal.” Matherne said that it’s his hope that the partnership will allow LMTA to “expand their footprint” and that, as LMTA’s membership grows, so will Renaissance’s readership. “I hope, because of the diversity of product and resources we have, that we will give them the ability to launch into a new expanded audience,” he said. “I think it’s a great opportunity for both of us.” B

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Legal Perspective

CASE NOTES OWNER OPERATOR ISSUES by Douglas K. Williams, Partner Breazeale, Sachse & Wilson, L.L.P.

Many carriers use owner operators in order to expand their ability to provide services to their customers. Most carriers rely on the owner’s status as an independent contractor when assessing business costs, including liability issues as well as tax issues. Below are two cases (one a taxing case, and one an insurance coverage case) involving owner operators.

recognized that an owner operator who has dropped off the load, and is no longer being compensated, is not automatically doing “the business of” the motor carrier. While the holding may be limited to the specific facts of that case, it certainly raises the possibility of a bright line test that helps to clarify when a motor carrier is responsible for the negligence of an owner operator.

I. Insurance Coverage: In Guidry v. U.S. Agencies Casualty Insurance Company, 213 So.3rd 406 (La. App. 1st Cir. 21617) plaintiff was the driver of a vehicle which had been leased to a motor carrier. The driver was injured in an accident caused by a third party motorist. The liability insurance issued to the third party driver was insufficient, and Mr. Guidry filed suit for uninsured motorists coverage (UM coverage). Mr. Guidry sued the carrier’s commercial auto insurer as well as his bobtail insurer. Both insurers asserted that the other insurance company had the primary UM coverage. The central issue was whether or not the driver was acting “in the business of” the motor carrier at the time of the accident. The facts established that Mr. Guidry’s compensation was based upon a percentage of the load. The accident occurred after Mr. Guidry had dropped off the load. The bobtail insurer denied coverage under the UM policy claiming that Mr. Guidry was “in the business of” the carrier at the time of the accident. The motor carrier’s commercial auto insurer denied that Mr. Guidry was in the business of the carrier at the time. In its final analysis, the court found that Mr. Guidry was not in the business of “the carrier” at the time of the accident. The court expressly noted that the driver was paid by the mile for his delivery, and that his delivery had been completed. He was not being paid by the motor carrier for any of his activity; thus, he was not doing “the business of” the motor carrier. Citing 49 CFR § 376.12, the bobtail insurer asserted that there was a presumption that the carrier (and the carrier’s insurer) was responsible for the negligent acts of the motor carrier’s driver. The First Circuit rejected that argument noting that the presumption only arises with regard to claims by third parties. The presumption does not apply to claims made by the motor carrier’s driver. The significance of the Guidry case is that the court

II. Unemployment Taxes: Delta Logistics v. Employment Department Tax Section, 361 Or 821 (2017), involved the question of whether a motor carrier could be assessed unemployment taxes for drivers of vehicles which were the subject of a federally regulated equipment lease. Oregon law had an exemption from unemployment benefits for truck owners that leased their vehicles to carriers and “personally operate, furnish and maintain” the leased vehicles. The Oregon Employment Department Tax Section (Department) sought to assess Delta Logistics unemployment taxes on drivers who were provided by owner operators, but who were not the actual owner operator. In essence, the department took the position that the exclusion applied only to the “owners” that “personally operated” the vehicles, and not to any drivers provided by the owner operator. The Oregon Supreme Court rejected the Department’s argument. While much of the court’s decision was based upon an analysis of Oregon law, it is important that the court took a practical approach towards the problem, and recognized the true nature of owner operator agreements (including the fact that some owner operators provide multiple units with drivers). Again, while the holding of this case may be very fact specific, it reflects a very common sense approach towards the issue which may be helpful in other cases (inherently, this case appears to recognize that compliance with federal regulations - including exclusive contracts between the owner operator and the motor carrier - does not automatically make the owner operator an employee of the motor carrier. As mentioned in previous articles, the clear identification of when a driver is an employee, and when he/she is not, continues to shift with the sands of time. B

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Louisiana Motor Transport Association, Inc.

2018 Calendar of Events January 11

Safety Management Council Planning Meeting

LMTA Office | Baton Rouge


General Membership Meeting

Northeast Louisiana

March 12

2018 Regular Legislative Session Begins

March 23-24

Truck Driving Championships

Blue Bayou Water Park | Baton Rouge

Baton Rouge Renaissance Hotel | Baton Rouge

April 21

Seafood Gala

Royal Sonesta Hotel | New Orleans

Hyatt Centric French Quarter | New Orleans

The Sugar Mill | New Orleans

June 6

2018 Regular Legislative Session Ends

August 2-4 Annual Convention

Pensacola Beach Hilton | Pensacola Beach, FL

October 9-10

Fall Transportation Conference

Hilton Baton Rouge Capitol Center

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NEW LMTA Members 2018 McCorquodale Transfer Monroe, LA Bart McCorquodale Household Goods Carrier

American Eagle Logistics, Inc. Broussard, LA Harold Vice, Jr. Common Carrier

Daniel & Eustis Insurance Baton Rouge, LA Jamey Satawa Insurance Broker

MAC Trailer Enterprises, Inc. Alliance, OH Michael Conny Truck/Parts/Equipment Manufacturers

Ulysses Trucking Baton Rouge, LA Ulysses Cook Bulk Carrier Bayou Services Lake Charles, LA Vic Vicknair Household Goods Carrier EDC Moving Systems Baton Rouge, LA John Stewart Household Goods Carrier Target Energy, LLC Shreveport, LA Rocky Gray Oilfield Carrier AdvantEdge Compliance Ville Platte, LA Jimmie Guilloty Safety Services MABB Productions, LLC Elmwood, LA Brian Bennett Bulk Carrier Peloton Technology Mountain View, CA Steve Boyd Transportation Software Custom Ecology Walker, LA Derk Lockhart Bulk Carrier Moriel G. Lemoine Distributors, Inc. New Roads, LA Veronica Lemoine Bulk Carrier Texas TransEastern, Inc. (TTE) Pasadena, TX J.J. Isbell Bulk Carrier EnvŌc Baton Rouge, LA Chad Lacour Transportation Software


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Marathon Petroleum Garyville, LA Don Hughes Private Carrier Crossland Insurance Agency New Iberia, LA Andrew Arceri Insurance Broker Webb Wheel Products Cullman, AL Marshall Boheler Truck/Parts/Equipment Manufacturers People’s Capital & Leasing Corp. Humble, TX Scott Ehrlicher Financial Services SmartTruck Precision Services Greenville, SC Steven Ingham Truck/Parts/Equipment Manufacturers CNC Oilfield Services Shreveport, LA Colton Sanders Oilfield Carrier Environmental Rental Service Gonzales, LA Jared Fay Common Carrier One Stop Compliance, LLC Thibodaux, LA Lee Barrios Safety Services Southern States Utility Trailer Sales Monroe, LA Rhodney Cook Truck/Parts/Equipment Manufacturers Western Concrete Pumping, Inc. Baton Rouge, LA Todd Termini Bulk Carrier

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