TCA seeks nominations for 'Best Fleets' contest

Trucking news and briefs for Friday, Sept. 10, 2021:

TCA seeks nominations for ‘Best Fleets to Drive For’ contest

The Truckload Carriers Association is seeking nominations for its annual “Best Fleets to Drive For” contest. Through Oct. 31, company drivers and independent contractors can nominate companies that provide exceptional workplace environments.

By nominating a fleet, a truck driver recognizes the things about the company’s culture that they like, such as compensation, safety practices, benefits, equipment, training and more. If the company accepts the nomination and agrees to participate, the survey then digs deeper into its policies and practices, bringing to light the areas that are innovative and/or successful.

To be eligible, a fleet must operate 10 or more trucks in the U.S. or Canada. TCA membership is not required.

The top 20 finishers will be identified as Best Fleets to Drive For and will be announced in January 2022. From this pool, companies will then be divided into both “small” and “large” categories, and TCA will select two overall winners.

Trucker gets probation, fine for fraudulently obtaining disability benefits

A Pennsylvania-based truck driver was sentenced on Aug. 23 to five years of probation with five months of home confinement and to pay $80,361 in restitution and a $700 special assessment.

In April, Peter Albanese pleaded guilty to wire fraud, Social Security fraud and false statement charges.

According to the Department of Transportation Office of Inspector General, from 2017 through October 2020, Albanese collected over $80,000 in disability benefits while concealing work and income as a commercial truck driver. He also reportedly presented a false Medical Examiner’s Certificate during a roadside inspection to conceal that he didn’t undergo a medical exam or hold the federally required certification.

I-5 rest areas in Washington closed for a week

Rest areas on a major freight route in Washington state will be closed for the next week so crews can make repairs.

The Washington State Department of Transportation says the Smokey Point rest areas on Interstate 5 will be closed from Friday, Sept. 10, through Friday, Sept. 17, for maintenance. Both the northbound and southbound rest areas at milepost 207 are closed.

WSDOT says maintenance crews will remove hazardous trees, repair fencing, remove graffiti, restripe parking stalls and address additional site needs.

Nearby rest areas on I-5 at Silver Lake south of Everett at milepost 188 and Bow Hill north of Burlington at milepost 237 remain open, according to WSDOT.

Fleet raises independent contractor pay

Bay & Bay Transportation announced Sept. 9 that, effective immediately, it has increased its pay for independent contractors by 30 cents per mile.

Independent contractors joining the fleet will now receive between $1.40 and $2 for loaded miles, plus fuel surcharges. Additionally, after a 90-day review, qualifying drivers will have the opportunity to change to a 70% linehaul option.

“We continue to set new industry standards at Bay and Bay because we want to build strong and lasting relationships with our drivers,” said Michael Blair, director of driver recruitment at Bay & Bay.

Drivers interested in taking advantage of Bay & Bay’s pay for the lease-purchase opportunities are encouraged to reach out quickly. New and late model Freightliner Cascadias and Kenworth T680s are available and are in high demand, the company said. Current deals include $0 down with a sign-and-drive option.