Biden digs in heels on embattled acting DOL boss, renominated to lead department

Trucking news and briefs for Tuesday, Jan. 9, 2024:

Biden renominates Su as DOL secretary

President Joe Biden on Monday renominated Julie Su to serve as U.S. labor secretary, despite her confirmation being mired in the Senate for nearly a year.

Su has served as DOL Acting Secretary since March 2023 and was nominated in February 2023 by President Biden to assume the role of Secretary. In his nomination of Su last year Biden called Su "a tested and experienced leader, who will continue to build a stronger, more resilient, and more inclusive economy that provides Americans a fair return for their work and an equal chance to get ahead."

Su's nomination last year was unpopular among trucking stakeholders, mostly due to her role in passing California's AB 5 independent contractor legislation as California's labor commissioner, then as secretary for the California Labor and Workforce Development Agency. 

The Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association (OOIDA) last June wrote a letter to President Biden asking him to "withdraw the nomination of Ms. Julie Su to lead the U.S. Department of Labor."

This week, rather than reverse course, Biden doubled down by including Su's name on a list of nominees sent to the Senate. And trucking's feelings on the nomination have not changed. 

[Related: DOL nominee Su not calling for AB 5 on national level]

“As we’ve communicated to the White House and the U.S. Senate since her first nomination as Secretary was announced, Julie Su’s record of opposition to independent truckers in California should not be rewarded with a promotion," OOIDA President Todd Spencer said Tuesday. "We thank the bipartisan coalition of Senators who shared our concerns and request that President Biden puts forth a nominee who has a record of considering the interests of the entire American workforce.”

American Trucking Associations President and CEO Chris Spear noted Tuesday that ATA "opposed her nomination before and... will continue to oppose it now." --Jason Cannon

[Related: DOL rolls back Trump-era contractor-classification rule]

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Drivewyze unveils free safety alerts service for truckers

Drivewyze announced Tuesday the launch of a free service that delivers in-cab safety messages to truck drivers. The announcement was made during the Transportation Research Board (TRB) annual meeting, which is being held in Washington, D.C. 

The new service, called Drivewyze Free, allows fleets and drivers -- using telematics devices, tablets and smartphones -- to receive an essential set of in-cab safety alerts and advisories in advance of potentially risky areas on the roadway, the company said.

The core message sets are available across North American freight corridors and include a Drivewyze-sponsored set of alerts and advisories including heads-up warnings for high-rollover risk areas, low bridges, mountain alerts (steep grade ahead; chain-up/brake check stations; and runaway ramps), and rest area information (truck parking availability).

In addition, Drivewyze Free includes access to agency-sponsored real-time traffic slowdowns and other safety alerts generated in partnership with select state transportation and enforcement agencies through the Drivewyze Smart Roadways highway safety program for connected trucks. Participating DOTs include New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Georgia, Delaware, Connecticut, Ohio, Texas, Arkansas, and Virginia. The Pennsylvania Turnpike is also participating, as are the Colorado State Police and Wyoming Highway Patrol.

Drivers and fleets interested in enrolling in Drivewyze Free service can do so here.

Currently, real-time message sets can include warnings for sudden slowdowns, virtual safety signs, and public emergency broadcasts. The Smart Roadways program is expected to grow with additional transportation agencies announcing their participation in the near future. 

Many fleets and operators already subscribing to Drivewyze services, such as the PreClear weigh station bypass service or the Drivewyze Safety+ driver coaching service, have been receiving free in-cab safety alerts as part of an optional bundle called Drivewyze Safety Notifications. That service will now be renamed Drivewyze Free and expanded to include truck parking information and additional Smart Roadway state programs. Additional Drivewyze Free features and alerts will be added on a regular basis, automatically, without any interruption to a driver’s in-cab experience, and with no action required from a participating fleet.

[Related: 'Nothing to hide, nothing to fear,' right? Get ready for Level 8, automated inspections]

PS Logistics acquires Buddy Moore Trucking

Birmingham, Alabama-based Buddy Moore Trucking has been acquired by PS Logistics.

Since 2016, PS Logistics has acquired more than two dozen trucking operations and five non-asset logistics operations across the country, and three in the last six months. 

Buddy Moore Trucking, founded in 1999, operated for nearly 25 years as a family-owned business and grew to include a 130-truck flatbed division, 120-truck dedicated van division and a non-asset logistics division. The transaction enhances PS Logistics’ flatbed, dedicated dry van, and brokerage operations, and it diversifies its modal and service offerings in the Southeastern United States.

PS Logistics CEO and co-founder Scott Smith said BMT complements PS Logistics' "asset-right" operating model with expanded flatbed and dedicated dry van capacity, diversified geography and new end markets. 

“We are very proud to welcome Buddy Moore Trucking to the PS Logistics family,” said Smith. “I have personally known the Moore family for decades and have tremendous respect for them and the company they’ve built over the last 24 years."

Buddy Moore Trucking will operate as a stand-alone division of PS Logistics and continue to be managed by Buck Moore, BMT president and CEO.

“PS Logistics will be a great partner for our business,” said Buck Moore. "Over the years, I’ve witnessed how well they execute acquisitions and deliver value to their customers, drivers, and employees, and I look forward to what we will achieve together now that Buddy Moore Trucking has access to a larger freight network, additional capital, and wider array of customer solutions. Our family is very pleased that this transaction will continue to honor the legacy of Buddy Moore in this industry.”  

[Related: Baylor Trucking acquired by Werner]