Arlington, Virginia – Today, the American Trucking Associations President and CEO Chris Spear issued the following statement after the U.S. Supreme Court issued a stay of the Biden Administration’s vaccine-or-test mandate for employers:
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration released updated FAQs on the vaccine-or-test Emergency Temporary Standard and its applicability to commercial truck drivers.
In the new FAQ, OSHA answers Does the vaccine-or-test Emergency Temporary Standard apply to truck drivers in this way:
There is no specific exemption from the standard’s requirements for truck drivers. However, paragraph (b)(3) provides that, even where the standard applies to a particular employer, its requirements do not apply to employees “who do not report to a workplace where other individuals such as coworkers or customers are present” or employees “who work exclusively outdoors.” Therefore, the requirements of the ETS do not apply to truck drivers who do not occupy vehicles with other individuals as part of their work duties. Additionally, the requirements of the ETS do not apply to truck drivers who encounter other individuals exclusively in outdoor environments. On the other hand, the requirements of the ETS apply to truck drivers who work in teams (e.g., two people in a truck cab) or who must routinely enter buildings where other people are present. However, de minimis use of indoor spaces where other individuals may be present (e.g., using a multi-stall bathroom, entering an administrative office only to drop off paperwork) does not preclude an employee from being covered by these exemptions, as long as time spent indoors is brief, or occurs exclusively in the employee’s home (e.g., a lunch break at home). OSHA will look at cumulative time spent indoors to determine whether that time is de minimis.
Even when the requirements of the ETS do not apply to specific truck drivers pursuant to paragraph (b)(3), those truck drivers are still counted for purposes of the 100-employee threshold for coverage under paragraph (b)(1) of the ETS.
The ATA and several other state associations are currently involved in a lawsuit that would remove the ETS and expect a final judgement from the Supreme Court soon. You can view this toolkit from the ATA to help prepare for compliance with the ETS.
By execution of this Emergency Declaration, motor carriers and drivers providing direct assistance supporting emergency relief efforts transporting heating fuel, including propane, natural gas, and heating oil, into the Affected States (which includes Pennsylvania) are granted emergency relief from 49 CFR § 395.3, maximum driving time for property-carrying vehicles, subject to the restrictions and conditions set forth herein.
Please see Emergency Declaration for complete details.
Emergency Declarations, Waivers, Exemptions and Permits
Do you use 322 West to State College as a part of your business? Take this brief survey about potential changes to roadways in the area.
Click here to take the survey.
The trucking industry needs talented, knowledgeable, and dynamic young leaders to drive us into the future. Do you know an emerging leader in the industry? Nominate them today for the inaugural class of PMTA’s new leadership program PA Trucking: FFWD.
Participants will hear speakers, meet industry leaders, and participate in discussions that give them a 360-degree view of the industry and equip them to lead in their companies, their communities, and in the trucking industry.
PA Trucking: FFWD 2022’s class will meet monthly – four in-person, all-day meetings and online meetings throughout the year.
In person meetings will include sessions focused on:
Monthly online meeting will feature FMCSA, economics of trucking, emerging technologies, and other topics.
Participants in PA Trucking: FFWD will be invited to attend PMTA events throughout the year, including the Annual Membership Conference (AMC), Safety Day, TDCs, and Calls on Harrisburg and Washington. They will participate in PMTA classes and meetings, including Board of Directors Meetings and Safety Management Council.
Upon completion of the program, participants will receive a PA Trucking: FFWD Certificate of Accomplishment and be recognized as PMTA’s trucking leaders at the AMC and in PennTrux.
Send your nominations here.
Meeting reveals PennDOT has not been forthright with public, elected officials
WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Representative Glenn “GT” Thompson on Tuesday hosted a meeting with the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) to voice his concerns over the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation’s (PennDOT) plan to toll nine major bridges throughout Pennsylvania. It was revealed during the meeting that PennDOT has been in consultation with FHWA for more than a year and recently filed paperwork expressing its interest in receiving more than $5 billion in financing for the projects.
“Several lawsuits have been filed across the Commonwealth, suggesting that PennDOT has not followed its own guidelines for public comment. Tuesday’s meeting with the Federal Highway Administration confirmed that PennDOT had been talks with the federal government for nearly a year prior to even being authorized to look at tolling,” Rep. Thompson said. “PennDOT is merely providing lip service to public input and has always been moving towards tolling, regardless of feasibility, public safety, or economic sense. This is a betrayal of the public trust and it must be stopped.”
Rep. Thompson, a strong opponent of tolling interstates was instrumental in convincing the FHWA to deny the Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission the ability to tolling Interstate 80 in Pennsylvania nearly a decade ago. According to a report published in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, the Turnpike is installing gantries to collect tolls for PennDOT along the nine bridges.
“I’m not sure what’s more shocking: the fact that the Pennsylvania Turnpike failed to collect $104 million in tolls last year, or that PennDOT knows this and still wants to put the fox in charge of guarding the hen house,” Rep. Thompson said.
Harrisburg, PA – The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT) today announced updates to the 511PA traveler information service including new features and alert customization for passenger vehicle and commercial vehicle drivers. The department also shared brief videos outlining the features and how to use them.
“511PA helps travelers plan ahead year-round but can be especially useful in winter,” said PennDOT Secretary Yassmin Gramian. “511PA allows users to view color-coded winter conditions, see plow truck locations, and now receive alerts more tailored to their needs.”
511PA allows motorists to set up personalized travel alerts for specific roadways, days of the week, and times of the day. New to this feature, users can now select the type of alerts they would like to receive, rather than receiving all alerts. Categories include incidents, roadwork, general travel information, travel restrictions, and weather-related alerts.
Additionally, motorists can now use just an email or mobile phone number for speed and vehicle restrictions or full roadway closures without creating a personalized account.
Commercial vehicle drivers can also benefit from two enhancements tailored to their needs. 511PA now includes locations for all bridges under legal height (<13’6”) over state roads to enhance information that drivers may be receiving from third-party navigation systems. This information can be viewed on the web map and is also available as an alert that can be heard in drive mode on the mobile app.
Additionally, the 511PA mobile app now allows drivers to specify vehicle type – either commercial or passenger vehicle. If commercial vehicle is selected, vehicle restrictions and low-bridge data is turned on in drive mode by default.
To enhance traveler information for the growing number of electric-vehicle (EV) drivers, 511PA now also includes EV charging station locations as an option on its traffic map. Using data from the U.S. Department of Energy, the map shows locations across the state by connector type, including CCS, J1772, CHAdeMO, Tesla, and NEMA.
“511PA is a valuable tool that helps motorists plan safe travel by providing them with as much information as possible,” said Gramian. “These new features are just another way we put our data to work for all motorists, including those driving passenger or commercial vehicles, and now electric vehicles, too.”
While PennDOT recommends not traveling during winter storms, motorists can check conditions on more than 40,000 roadway miles, including color-coded winter conditions on 2,900 miles, by visiting www.511PA.com. 511PA, which is free and available 24 hours a day, provides traffic delay warnings, weather forecasts, traffic speed information and access to more than 1,000 traffic cameras.
511PA is also available through a smartphone application for iPhone and Android devices, by calling 5-1-1, or by following regional Twitter alerts.
For more information on safe winter travel, an emergency kit checklist and information on PennDOT’s winter operations including a video, visit www.PennDOT.gov/winter. Additional winter driving and other highway safety information is available at www.PennDOT.gov/safety.
PennDOT’s media center offers resources for organizations, community groups, or others who share safety information with their stakeholders. Social-media-sized graphics highlighting winter safety are among the available options.
Follow PennDOT on Twitter and like the department on Facebook and Instagram.
The American Tort Reform Foundation recently released its 2021/22 report on the top judicial hellholes in America and two Pennsylvania courts remain on the list.
The ATRF Judicial Hellholes program "has identified and documented places where judges in civil cases systematically apply laws and court procedures in an unfair and unbalanced manner, generally to the disadvantage of defendants."
Coming in at number four on the list this year is the Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas and the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania.
From the report: "The reigning No. 1 Judicial Hellhole®, the Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas & Supreme Court of Pennsylvania once again lands near the top of the list in 2021. Its drop to the No. 4 spot is not due to reforms or progress made in the state, but indicative of the number of issues plaguing California, New York and Georgia. Additionally, shutdowns resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic led to a decrease in activity.
The Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas continues to be a preferred court for pharmaceutical mass torts cases and asbestos litigation. Plaintiffs from across the country flock to the Court of Common Pleas because of its reputation for excessive verdicts and its “open door” policy to out-of-state plaintiffs. This policy clogs the courts, drains court resources, and drives businesses (and jobs) out of the state.
The Supreme Court of Pennsylvania joined the Court of Common Pleas atop the list in 2020, and the Court continues to expand liability for businesses and municipalities across the state."
You can view the full report here:
The Government of Canada announced last week that as of January 15, 2022, certain groups of travelers, who are currently exempt from entry requirements, will only be allowed to enter the country if they are fully vaccinated with one of the vaccines approved for entry into Canada. These groups include:
After January 15, 2022, unvaccinated or partially vaccinated foreign nationals will only be allowed to enter Canada if they meet the criteria for limited exceptions, which apply to certain groups such as agricultural and food processing workers, marine crew members, those entering on compassionate grounds, new permanent residents, resettling refugees and some children under the age of 18. Exempt unvaccinated travelers will continue to be subject to testing, quarantine, and other entry requirements. Non-exempt unvaccinated or partially vaccinated foreign nationals will be prohibited entry into Canada.
Also effective November 30, 2021, Canada will expand the list of COVID-19 vaccines that travelers can receive to be considered fully vaccinated for the purpose of travel to Canada. The list will include Sinopharm, Sinovac and COVAXIN, matching the World Health Organization Emergency Use Listing.
Travelers should check if they are eligible to enter Canada and meet all entry requirements before heading to the border. In addition, some provinces and territories may have their own entry restrictions in place. Check and follow both the federal and any provincial or territorial restrictions and requirements before travelling.
On December 11, the Wreaths Across America Escort to Arlington will begin. This is a week long truck convoy of wreaths that starts in Maine and ends at Arlington National Cemetery with many stops along the way.
Dec. 11 – Leave Columbia Falls, Maine
West Quoddy, Maine
Dec. 12 – Calais, Maine
Dec. 13 – Portland, Maine
Merrimack, New Hampshire
Dec. 14 – Brattleboro, Vermont
Troy, New York
Central Valley, New York
Wayne, New Jersey
Elizabeth, New Jersey
Dec. 15 – Elizabeth, New Jersey
Sayreville, New Jersey
Holmdel, New Jersey
Bordertown, New Jersey
Dec. 16 – Bordertown, New Jersey
Dec. 17 – Stevensville, Maryland
Pentagon, Washington D.C.
War Memorials, Washington D.C.
Dec. 18 – Arlington, VA and Arlington National Cemetery
December 18 – Wreaths Across America Day
Last year, amid the COVID-19 Pandemic, some cemeteries were closed. One Pennsylvania Driver, who wished to remain anonymous, was on his usual annual route delivering wreaths when he passed a cemetery that was normally on his list but was closed due to COVID. He stopped anyway, took off the wreath that WAA ties to the front of all the trucks that deliver for them and he hung it on the gates of the cemetery. He honored those inside in his own way and continued on his route. Each and every driver that volunteers with Wreaths Across America shows this type of commitment to our nation's veterans.
You can sponsor a live, handmade balsam wreath for $15 at www.wreathsacrossamerica.org. Each sponsorship goes toward a veteran’s wreath that will be placed on the headstone of an American hero as we endeavor to honor all veterans laid to rest on Saturday, December 18, 2021, as part of National Wreaths Across America Day.
“Every donation and wreath sponsorship is a meaningful gift from a grateful American who knows what it means to serve and sacrifice for the freedoms we all enjoy,” said Karen Worcester, executive director of Wreaths Across America. “We are so grateful to the good people of this great nation for participating in our mission to Remember, Honor and Teach.”
To donate on-line go to www.wreathsacrossamerica.org
To find a cemetery near you to support click here for the link.
National Text to Donate from AT&T Veterans: text WREATH22 to 20222 on your mobile phone (there are local text programs in many states please check the list below to see if there is a participating local program in your area before broadcasting the national text program).
Local Text to Donate Programs from AT&T Veterans Across the Country
Text the local corresponding code listed below to 20222
PA – Mount Moriah Cemetery - Text Wreath 37
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