Truck Leasing Task Force examining inequitable lease agreements

Trucking news and briefs for Wednesday, Sept. 27, 2023:

Federal task force on leasing to hold second meeting in October

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s Truck Leasing Task Force (TLTF) will hold its second meeting on Tuesday, Oct. 17. The meeting will be held virtually for its entirety, from 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Eastern.

The TLTF will begin consideration of a task aimed at examining leasing agreements with "inequitable" terms. The full title of the task is “Common Truck Leasing Agreements Available to Drivers of Commercial Motor Vehicles and the Existence of Inequitable Leasing Agreements and Terms in the Motor Carrier Industry.” For this and all topics considered by the committee, FMCSA includes presentations by agency experts and those in the field under discussion.

The full agenda for the meeting, not yet available, will be published on the TLTF website at least one week before the meeting.

FMCSA asks that those interested in attending the meeting register in advance at the TLTF website, which will be available here. Advance registration is required by Friday, Oct. 13.

The task force held its first meeting in July to essentially take care of housekeeping items on the agenda and begin discussions about topics required by Congress in the 2021 infrastructure legislation that established the task force.

That legislation specifically required, in addition to the above topics, close looks at the following:

  • Whether inequitable terms and agreements affect the frequency of maintenance performed on vehicles subject to those agreements, likewise whether trucks are kept in good repair under lease/lease-purchase.
  • Agreements available to drayage drivers at ports relating to the Clean Truck Program or any similar program to decrease emissions from port operations;
  • Impact on net compensation of operators, including port drayage drivers.
  • Whether truck-leasing agreements properly incentivize safe operation, including driver compliance with hours of service regulations and laws governing speed and safety.
  • Resources to assist commercial motor vehicle drivers in assessing the financial impacts of leasing agreements.
  • The opportunity factor equitable truck-leasing agreements provide to start or expand trucking companies; and the history of motor carriers growing from one-truck owner-operator operations. .

[Related: FMCSA names nine to new Truck Leasing Task Force]

ATRI beginning research on challenges faced by female drivers

The American Transportation Research Institute (ATRI) is initiating research on the challenges facing women truck drivers, as well as barriers that might discourage women from considering a career as a truck driver.

The comprehensive study will also identify strategies for overcoming industry issues faced by women. 

Previous ATRI research has confirmed that women make up only 8.1% of all U.S. truck drivers, and only 2.7% of over-the-road truck drivers. In response, the ATRI Research Advisory Committee prioritized this new women-focused research initiative at its 2023 Annual Meeting.

Key components of the research will include:

  • National surveys and focus groups with women who are veteran truck drivers, new entrants, and women who are former truck drivers. In addition, the researchers will engage different groups of women to identify both issues and motivators for women considering careers in trucking. 
  • Recognizing that certain fleets have substantially more women drivers than typical fleets, motor carriers will be surveyed and interviewed to identify best practices in recruiting and retaining women truck drivers. Additional outreach will focus on women executives at motor carriers in order to understand issues and opportunities beyond truck driving. 
  • Collaborating with truck driver training schools to identify recruitment and training issues unique to women. 

Research analyst Abbigail Huffman, who will lead the multi-faceted research for ATRI, invites industry stakeholders who would like to be involved in the research to contact her at [email protected].

[Related: What are your top trucking concerns?]

Five rookie truckers named finalists for new truck

2023 Transition Trucking award finalistsThe five finalists for the Transition Trucking: Driving for Excellence award are, from left: Todd Kraus, Ondrae Meyers, Jessica White, LaTravis Wilcox, Brandon MeredithFastport

During a ceremony in Chillicothe, Ohio, five finalists have been named for the 8th annual “Transition Trucking: Driving for Excellence” award, dedicated to finding America’s top rookie military veteran driver through a rigorous nomination, selection committee and public voting process.

The program, hosted by Fastport, Kenworth, and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation’s Hiring Our Heroes initiative recognizes top drivers who have made the successful transition from active duty military to driving for a commercial fleet.

All 17 semi-finalists traveled to Columbus and Chillicothe, Ohio, to be recognized as the trucking industry’s top emerging talent. During the trip, the semi-finalists visited the National Veterans Memorial and Museum in Columbus, appeared on the Dave Nemo Show with Jimmy Mac on Road Dog Trucking Radio live from the MHC RoadReady Center in Chillicothe, and received an in-depth 90-minute tour of the Kenworth Chillicothe manufacturing plant.

The 2023 finalists are:

  • Todd Kraus, U.S. Army, Werner Enterprises
  • Brandon Meredith, U.S. Army, Slay Transport
  • Ondrae Meyers, U.S. Marines, CRST
  • Jessica White, U.S. Army, Stevens Transport
  • LaTravis Wilcox, U.S. Marines, Prime Inc.

In recognition of Kenworth’s 100th anniversary, this year’s award is the T680 Signature Edition truck, equipped with a 76-inch sleeper and the Paccar Powertrain featuring the Paccar MX-13 engine rated at 455 horsepower, Paccar TX-12 automated transmission and Paccar DX-40 tandem rear axles. The first runner-up will receive a $10,000 prize and the remaining finalists will receive $5,000 each.

A popular vote will take place online from Nov. 1 until Veteran’s Day, Nov. 11. The winner will be determined by a selection committee and announced on Dec. 15 at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce in Washington, D.C.

[Related: 17 drivers named 'Transition Trucking' semi-finalists]

Aim Transportation Solutions recognized as ‘Most Loved Workplace’

Aim Transportation Solutions has been named to Newsweek’s list of Top 100 Most Loved Workplaces for 2023, which recognizes companies that have created a workplace where employees feel respected, inspired, and appreciated and who are the core of the business model.

“Companies who take care of their employees are companies who take care of their customers, and vice versa,” said Tom Fleming, founder, CEO and chairman of Aim Transportation Solutions. “At Aim, we strive to do the right thing for all our stakeholders; when we fail, we learn.”

Aim is owned and operated by the Fleming family, including Tom Fleming and his two sons, co-presidents Scott Fleming and Geoff Fleming. Together, they continue to build upon Aim’s rich 120-year history.