FMCSA planning 'stakeholder day' on registration changes

Trucking news and briefs for Thursday, March 28, 2024:

FMCSA hosting virtual stakeholder day on registration modernization

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration will host its second “Registration Modernization Stakeholder Day” in May.

The first meeting, held in January, was an in-person meeting. Based on feedback, the agency said it will host this second meeting virtually.

The event is scheduled from 1-3 p.m. Eastern on Wednesday, May 29.

“As we develop a more user-friendly registration system that manages the registration life cycle of regulated entities, we would like your input,” the agency said. “Please join us virtually to provide insight and feedback to improve your registration experience with FMCSA.”

[Related: The criminal element lurking in FMCSA's outdated registration system]

While registration for the event is not yet open, FMCSA said space will be limited and early registration is encouraged. Keep an eye on this page, as well as Overdrive, for updates on when registration opens.

FMCSA at the Mid-America Trucking Show last week admitted its system for motor carrier, broker and freight forwarder registration and updates had fallen behind and in part enabled rampant fraud, while pledging to completely overhaul its verification processes and improve the "customer experience." The changes include ending MC numbers and using USDOT numbers as the sole identifier for carriers, brokers, forwarders and others. Read the story linked below for more details on agency plans.

[Related: FMCSA to end MC numbers, overhaul registration system to stamp out fraud]

ATBS offering free tax extension filing for customers

With Tax Day quickly approaching April 15, trucking business services firm ATBS is offering to file a free tax extension for owner-operators who decide to work with the company to complete their taxes.

Whether you were an owner-operator for all of 2023 or just part of the year, ATBS said it can help get taxes filed and avoid late filing penalties.

Operators who haven’t started their taxes yet may want to get in touch with ATBS, as an extension could be warranted with about 18 days before Tax Day.

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[Related: How owner-operators still standing have weathered big rates drops through the present]

In-cab TV provider adds dedicated two-way fleet channel option

EpicVue, traditionally a satellite-based television provider to fleets and drivers for in-cab live TV,  began offering streaming options via its EpicVue+ service some time ago, and now, according to company CEO Lance Platt, the service has added a way for truck operators to communication with fleet personnel via the new Engage platform in EpicVue+.

Through a custom Engage channel, a fleet can communicate daily/weekly/monthly messages to those in the field in the form of video or images, or basic information updates, and drivers can react to the message through the EpicVue in-cab monitor directly. 

"Not only will fleet managers be able to understand that drivers are watching" their video messages, but the ability to interact in-cab delivers more of a real "community feel," Platt said, enhanced by the fact that the interaction is occurring away from tiny in-cab messaging screens or smartphones. "Put it on the big screen," he added. 

EpicVue in-cabEpicVue's services have always been geared toward delivering some of the comforts of home on the road, while also keeping operators connected with the carrier back office. EpicVue+ offers live TV as well as on-demand premium content, and offers the option of a dedicated fleet channel and an interactive training platform through core components.EpicVue

For EpicVue+ fleets, an Engage dedicated fleet channel should be "an easy-to-install, low-cost solution that promotes stronger employee connections,” Platt said.  

Michigan adjusts ‘frost law’ restrictions

Michigan spring weight restrictions April 1, 2024Michigan's spring weight restrictions are only in effect for the shaded area, beginning Monday, April 1.Michigan DOT

The Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT) continues to adjust spring weight restriction areas in an annual move to protect roads.

Effective 6 a.m. Monday, April 1, weight restrictions will be lifted on all state trunkline highways from the southern Michigan border north to and including US-2/US-141 at the Menominee River bridge west of Iron Mountain then east on US-2 to St. Ignace, then north on I-75 to M-134, then east to and including M-134 on Drummond Island.

Frost restrictions are still in effect for the remainder of the state and will be imposed and enforced on all state trunkline highways north of US-2, I-75, and M-134 and on M-185 on Mackinac Island. State routes typically carry M, I, or US designations.

More information regarding the spring weight restrictions can be found here.

TCA names Drivers of the Year

The Truckload Carriers Association named five winners of the 2024 TCA Professional Drivers of the Year at its annual convention this week in Nashville.

These individuals were selected from a record nomination pool of drivers and were recognized as the best-in-class within the professional driver community. Each driver received $20,000 and standing ovations during the awards ceremony.

TCA’s 2024 Professional Drivers of the Year are Tim Chelette, Big G Express; Rosalinda Tejada, Knight Transportation; Howard Robinson, NFI Industries; Clark Reed, Nussbaum Transportation; and James White, P&S Transportation.

[Related: They said he'd fail, but he proved them wrong: Overdrive's Trucker of the Year Jay Hosty]