Trucking group wants drivers prioritized for COVID vaccine

Trucking news and briefs for Friday, Dec. 4, 2020: 

ATA wants truckers prioritized for COVID vaccine
The American Trucking Associations called on elected and healthcare officials to give truck drivers and others in the supply chain priority once a COVID-19 vaccine is approved and ready for distribution.

The group sent letters to the White House, the CDC Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices, President-elect Biden and the National Governors Association asking that the trucking industry’s workforce be included in prioritized access pools along with other essential workers.

“Our workforce represents a central and critical link in the nation’s supply chain and will play an essential role in the imminent COVID-19 vaccine distribution process,” wrote Bill Sullivan, ATA’s executive vice president for advocacy. “As the trucking industry is called upon to deliver vaccines across the country, it is imperative that truck drivers have prioritized access to the vaccine to minimize the potential for supply chain delays and disruptions.”

The letters cite the industry’s designation as essential by the Department of Homeland Security’s Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency, noting that more than 80% of U.S. communities rely exclusively on trucks to receive necessary goods.

Also on Tuesday, the CDC Advisory Committee on Immunization and Practices voted 13-1 to give priority to health care workers and nursing home residents once a vaccine is approved and is distributed. The committee said the first doses of a coronavirus vaccine should be given to an estimated 21 million health-care workers and 3 million residents and staff of nursing homes and other long-term-care facilities.

Deadline change for Christmas group’s nominations for assistance, given record funds haul
Regular Overdrive readers are familiar with with Truckers Christmas Group nonprofit led by drivers and owner-operators who coordinate fund-raising every year toward a goal of delivering assistance to trucking families in need around the Christmas holidays. Tom Kyrk, team driver and the group’s public relations lead, reached out with news of a record $20K-plus haul in donations this year and, thus, a decision to make a last-minute change to the deadline for nominees for receipt of assistance this year.

The deadline had been 23:59 Eastern time this evening, but will now be the same time on this coming Monday. Anyone can nominate a deserving trucker and family, and self-application/nomination is a possibilities as well.

Access the group’s nomination page via its website, and read more about the TCG via this link to prior coverage.

Wreaths Across America set for national wreath-laying event
Wreaths Across America’s annual escort of wreaths will have a different look and feel this year due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

The physical journey – which will include one tractor-trailer load of wreaths hauled by Gully Transpiration driver JD Walker, 11 wrapped Chevrolet vehicles and nine police cruisers – will take place from Tuesday, Dec. 15, through National Wreaths Across America Day on Saturday, Dec. 19.

In partnership with PenFed Credit Union’s digital media content team, PenFed Digital, this year’s escort will also be shared virtually for the nation to join along from the safety of their own homes. During the escort and leading up to its departure, viewers can follow along, learning about the mission and hearing stories from people it impacts on the WAA Facebook page.

“For those who have had the opportunity to participate in the escort of wreaths over the years, it is truly an experience of a lifetime,” said Karen Worcester, executive director, WAA. “The way we have been welcomed into communities, over the years, with flags waving and streets lined with children and veterans, is something we always wished every American could witness. And now, thanks to PenFed’s support, we’ll be able to offer this incredible journey to all those who wish to participate. We are both grateful and excited to safely share the mission with all who want to participate.”

Special delivery: The 2020 U.S. Capitol Christmas Tree was delivered to the West Lawn of the U.S. Capitol Building in Washington, D.C., and a tree lighting ceremony was held Wednesday, Dec. 2. The tree was transported by Apex Transportation with a Kenworth T680 from Colorado to D.C. Members of Colorado’s congressional delegation, U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and others spoke at a lighting ceremony for the lighting of the tree, an Engelmann Spruce from the Grand Mesa, Uncompahgre and Gunnison National Forests in Colorado.Special delivery: The 2020 U.S. Capitol Christmas Tree was delivered to the West Lawn of the U.S. Capitol Building in Washington, D.C., and a tree lighting ceremony was held Wednesday, Dec. 2. The tree was transported by Apex Transportation with a Kenworth T680 from Colorado to D.C. Members of Colorado’s congressional delegation, U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and others spoke at a lighting ceremony for the lighting of the tree, an Engelmann Spruce from the Grand Mesa, Uncompahgre and Gunnison National Forests in Colorado.

Minnesota petitions FMCSA to consolidate CDL skills test
The state of Minnesota is asking the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration to reconsider a petition it previously denied to allow the state to combine two of the three parts of the CDL skills test.

Minnesota’s request is three-pronged. The state asks that it be allowed to combine vehicle control skills and on-road driving parts of the skills test, thus having just two parts to the test, along with the pre-trip inspection. It also requests to be exempt from the American Association of Motor Vehicle Administrators (AAMVA) 2005 Test Model Score Sheet. Finally, the state requests to be exempted from the requirement the CDL applicants pass the pre-trip inspection portion of the exam before proceeding to the rest of the test.

FMCSA denied the petition in 2017 because the agency said not following the AAMVA score sheet could cause issues if a CDL holder moved to another state and needed to transfer his or her CDL. FMCSA added that combining the two parts of the skills test would allow a prospective driver to pass the test while exceeding the maximum point deduction allowed when the two parts are given separately.

The agency is asking for public comment on Minnesota’s reconsideration request, which can be made here through Dec. 30.

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