Rep. Vicky Hartzler (R.-Mo.) recently sponsored H.R. 1932, legislation to amend the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970 to allow employers a grace period to abate certain occupational health and safety violations being subject to penalty under the act.
Last year, the trucking industry generated $700.4 billion, according to the latest edition of American Trucking Trends, making 2014 the first year in history the industry topped $700 billion in total revenue.
“Last year, we saw freight volumes grow significantly,” said Bob Costello, Chief Economist of the American Trucking Associations (ATA). “Increases in freight, combined with continued tight capacity helped drive revenues and coupled with lower fuel prices, we saw motor carriers go on a buying spree for new trucks as they replaced older equipment.”
Forty-six percent of highway contractors reported that motor vehicles had crashed into their construction work zones during the past year, according to the results of a new highway work zone study conducted by the Associated General Contractors of America (AGC). When releasing the results on May 20, AGC officials urged summer travel motorists to stay alert while driving through work zones, noting that drivers and passengers are more likely than highway workers to be hurt or killed in work zone accidents.
Jack Van Steenburg, Chief Safety Officer of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) said his agency is aware that penalizing carriers for crashes that were not their fault is unfair to carriers and the trucking industry overall, according to a May 21 article posted online by Commercial Carrier Journal (CCJ).
Effective July 1, a new Indiana law enacted by Governor Mike Pence (R) gives speeders in the state the right-of-way on the left lane of highways. Enforcement personnel have been instructed to issue $500 tickets to left-lane drivers who fail to move into the right lane if they know, or should reasonably know, another vehicle is overtaking them—even if the other vehicle is exceeding the speed limit. The law will not apply during traffic congestion, inclement weather, when exiting on the left, paying a toll or pulling over for an emergency vehicle.
The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit recently ruled that a series of transactions were not eligible for nonrecognition treatment because related parties were involved. As reported by the State Laws Newsletter, the deals involved a heavy-equipment sales company and an equipment lessor under common ownership.
The SC&RA offices will be closed Monday, May 25, in observance of Memorial Day. AAA predicts that automotive travel this Memorial Day holiday will be up 5.3 percent (33 million travelers) compared to last year’s holiday weekend, which would be the highest volume in ten years. Gas prices may not change all that much by the holiday weekend, which would result in the cheapest Memorial Day gas prices in at least five years. SC&RA wishes all of its members a happy and safe holiday weekend.
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On May 19, the U.S. House voted 387-35 to pass H.R. 2353, the Highway and Transportation Funding Act of 2015. This legislation would extend current law and authorize surface transportation programs through the end of July. “The American people want a long-term transportation bill, our businesses want it, and I am confident that there’s a strong will in Congress to get it done,” said Congressman Bill Shuster (R-Pa.), Chairman of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee.