Teamsters, Labor Dept. meet to discuss truckers' job quality

Trucking news and briefs for Friday, March 4, 2022:

Teamsters talk truckers’ work conditions with Labor Dept. officials

Deputy Secretary of Labor Julie Su on Thursday, March 3, hosted an online listening session with members of the International Brotherhood of Teamsters to discuss strategies for improving trucking job quality and for retaining and recruiting drivers.

The discussion followed the recent announcement of a partnership between the departments of Labor and Transportation as part of the "Driving Good Jobs Initiative." The partnership includes a series of listening sessions to engage drivers, unions and other trucking industry stakeholders to improve labor standards and ensure that the concerns of workers are heard and addressed.

“Truck drivers from across the country who are members of the International Brotherhood of Teamsters – the nation’s largest private-sector union for truck drivers and related industries – provided us with invaluable insight about the importance of ensuring truck drivers receive family-sustaining wages and benefits, work in safe and healthy working conditions, have a voice in the workplace, and access to training opportunities,” Su said.  

According to the Department of Labor, topics discussed during the session included the alleged misclassification of drivers as independent contractors, better compensation for drivers, support for collective bargaining and enhanced industry training and safety standards.

Stakeholders also emphasized the importance of addressing racial and gender inequities in the industry, and increasing outreach to drivers of color and women, with a focus on personal safety to attract more women to the industry.

[Related: FMCSA's driver-advisory panel's first meeting: Report]

FMCSA modifies regs to expand windshield area for safety tech

In a final rule to be published in the Federal Register Monday, March 7, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration is updating its regulations to expand the area on windshields where certain safety technologies can be mounted.

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations (FMCSRs) currently require devices with vehicle safety technologies to be mounted not more than 4 inches below the upper edge of the area swept by the windshield wipers, or not more than 7 inches above the lower edge of the area swept by the windshield wipers, and outside the driver’s sight lines to the road and highway signs and signals.

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FMCSA is modifying that regulation (Section 393.60(e)(1)(ii)) to increase from 4 inches to 8.5 inches below the upper edge of the area swept by the windshield wipers where safety technologies can be mounted.

The agency is also revising the definition of “vehicle safety technology” to include more devices. Vehicle safety technology will now be defined in the FMCSRs as:

Vehicle safety technology includes systems and items of equipment to promote driver, occupant, and roadway safety. Examples of vehicle safety technology systems and devices include a fleet-related incident management system, performance or behavior management system, speed management system, lane departure warning system, forward collision warning or mitigation system, active cruise control system, transponder, braking warning system, braking assist system, driver camera system, attention assist warning, Global Positioning Systems, and traffic sign recognition. Vehicle safety technology includes systems and devices that contain cameras, lidar, radar, sensors, and/or video.

The new regulations will take effect May 6.

[Related: Over-the-road reality creeps toward 'automated future'?]

New Love’s locations open in Tennessee, New York

Two new Love’s Travel Stops locations opened this week in Newport, Tennessee, and Ripley, New York. The two stores add a combined 164 truck parking spaces to the company’s network.

The Newport store, located off of I-40, offers Chester’s Chicken, Godfather’s Pizza and Petro’s Chili restaurants; 70 truck parking spaces; eight diesel lanes; seven showers; a Speedco opening March 28; and more.

The Ripley location includes a Hardee’s restaurant, 94 truck parking spaces, eight diesel lanes, eight showers, a Speedco opening April 11 and more.

The Tennessee location is the company’s 19th in the state, while the New York store is the company’s 4th in the state.

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