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Raman Dhillon

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Learn about the complaint process

1. Can filing a complaint make a difference?

The National Consumer Complaint Database is your chance to help identify motor carriers (bus, truck, and moving companies), brokers, and Auto Haulers who are reported to have engaged in violations of the commercial regulations. These complaints, along with other data sources, are used to make decisions about which companiesFMCSA will investigate.

2. When should I file a complaint?

The National Consumer Complaint Database is intended for investigation of a past event involving a violation of a law or regulation within the jurisdiction of the FMCSA. IMPORTANT: If this is a safety emergency, please call 911 immediately. The National Consumer Complaint Database is the intended only for the investigation of past events.

3. How does the complaint process work?

Your complaint will be entered into FMCSA’s National Consumer Complaint Database and will be used for analytical and statistical purposes.
Your complaint will be maintained in the company’s file as part of its permanent record.
If FMCSA decides to take enforcement action against the company you may be contacted to provide additional information and documentation.
What should I include in the complaint?

At a minimum include:
Your name, address, and telephone number.
The name, address, and telephone number of the company.
Origin and destination of the shipment.
The Department of Transportation (DOT) and Motor Carrier (MC) identification numbers if available.
Specific violation(s) alleged.

Click here National Consumer Complaint Database

SACRAMENTO – LKQ Corporation, a Chicago-based provider of alternative and specialty automotive parts, has agreed to pay a $294,000 penalty for selling illegal, used diesel particulate (soot) filters, violating California’s Aftermarket Parts and Diesel Particulate Filter Verification Regulations.

It is illegal to sell or install a used diesel soot filter for use in heavy-duty trucks in California. It is also illegal for a business to install one of these filters without being authorized by the filter manufacturer.

In a related case in 2017, West Coast Diesel, a Fresno repair shop caught selling and installing illegal parts, agreed to a settlement that included additional monetary penalties should they violate the terms of the agreement by installing even one diesel particulate filter. Several other Central Valley diesel repair shops are now under investigation for selling and installing illegal filters.

“The sales of illegal diesel particulate filters in California needs to stop, and I hope the actions announced today demonstrate the seriousness of these violations,” said CARB Enforcement Chief Todd Sax. “These companies sold cheap, illegal filters, harvested from other vehicles to unsuspecting truckers.”

Diesel filters in trucks trap soot that causes cancer, and so they are very important to protecting public health. California law requires truck owners to keep their diesel particulate filters in working order and to replace the filter if it is damaged and not working properly. Only CARB -certified filters may be sold, installed, or operated in California. Using an uncertified or improperly installed filter can damage an engine and expose those around the truck to toxic diesel soot.

Today’s announcement sends a critical message to business owners as well as consumers that CARB is actively enforcing the state’s landmark Truck and Bus Regulation, which requires truck owners to clean up their fleets by installing 2010 or newer engines by 2023, as well as its regulations governing the use and sale of diesel filters.

“Truckers need to understand the compliance process and take responsibility for properly maintaining their vehicles, including their soot filters,” said Sax. “We encourage truckers to check our CARB Truckstop website for information. Truckers can also call us at 1 866 6DIESEL and we will explain the requirements and what needs to be done.”

Sax also stressed that truckers need to take responsibility when it comes to choosing a repair shop for vehicle maintenance. These shops should be selling new, CARB-authorized filters, and their personnel should be properly trained by the filter manufacturer on the installation process.

“Truckers should make sure that when installing or replacing their diesel particulate filter that a CARB-approved device is being used,” said Sax. “When shopping for a filter, remember that if a deal seems too good to be true, it probably is.”

Sax also noted that it may be more cost-effective to buy a newer truck, since putting on a filter only ensures compliance for a couple of years at best, according to the Truck and Bus regulation phase-in schedule. Truckers can call CARB to find out if they might be eligible for loans or other financial incentives to help purchase new or newer equipment.

To settle its case and avoid legal action, LKQ agreed to pay $294,000 to the Air Pollution Control Fund to support air pollution research and education. In addition, the company updated its website and is no longer selling or advertising used filters for the California market.

Diesel exhaust contains a variety of harmful gases and more than 40 other known cancer-causing compounds. In 1998, California identified diesel particulate matter as a toxic air contaminant based on its potential to cause cancer, premature death, and other health problems.

To qualify for your per diem, IRS rules state your job has to be away from”your tax dwelling considerably more” than a normal workday and you must sleep away from your home on the days the per diem is being used, ATBS says.
Company drivers can’t subtract meal per diem in their earnings. The Tax Cut and Jobs Act of 2017, the tax reform eliminated by Congress, removed per diem deductions for company drivers beginning to the 2018 filing year.
Owner-operators are allowed to maintain a meal per diem of $66 per day they are away from home, according to a new per diem structure announced this week by the IRS. The change, a $3 increase, took effect Oct. 1.
Owner-operators, using their Schedule C business expense type, will now be able to deduct $52.80 off of the income for each day they are on the road and away from your home. Although the allotted per diem is 66, the IRS only allows a deduction of 80 percent of that to be deducted out of operators’ income, which equals $52.80. For all days on the street and away from home prior to Oct. 1, operators’ per diem is 63 — a deduction of $50.40 daily.

If you have questions about the use of a per diem, call ATBS at 866-920-2827.

Now labeled the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA), instead of NAFTA (North American Free Trade Agreement), the new deal recently negotiated by the Trump administration with two of America’s top trading partners preserves most of the provisions of NAFTA while improving economic conditions for U.S. dairy farmers as well as auto workers in both the U.S. and Mexico.

USMCA Partners

Republican Senator Orrin Hatch from Utah has hailed the new agreement, saying, “I am pleased that the Trump administration was able to strike a deal to modernize NAFTA with both Mexico and Canada. NAFTA is a proven success for the United States, supporting more than two million American manufacturing jobs and boosting agricultural exports to Canada and Mexico by 350%. Maintaining a trilateral North American deal is an important prerequisite to preserving and extending those gains and the Trump administration has achieved that goal.”

While the trade deal continues the best of NAFTA, there are a few prominent changes which improve the 25-year agreement. First, new rules mandate that 75 percent of new automobile components—up from 62.5 percent under NAFTA—must be produced in the U.S., Canada or Mexico in order to qualify for relief from tariffs.

Second, 40 to 45 percent of automobile parts must be manufactured by workers making at least $16 an hour within five years. New provisions also guarantee that new Mexican laws will allow auto workers to seek union representation.

Third, and most importantly for the U.S. agriculture sector, American dairy farmers have secured greater access to the Canadian market, allowing Americans to sell more milk, cheese, and other dairy products to consumers north of the border. The new agreement will give U.S. dairy farmers up to 3.6 percent of the Canadian market. Experts estimate it increases exports to Canada by about $70 million.

Fourth, the deal extends intellectual property and digital trade copyrights. New terms push copyrights from 50 to 70 years beyond the life of the author. It also extends the period of time that a new pharmaceutical drug can be protected from generic competition.

Critics of the new deal note that its provisions are not substantially different from the original NAFTA and do not merit the confrontational attitudes adopted by the Trump administration in recent months. Many have simply called the agreement NAFTA 2.0. They also point out that most of the new agreement, especially in dairy farming and copyrights, would have been covered under the Trans-Pacific Partnership which President Trump rejected as soon as he took office last year.

Trump, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, and outgoing Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto will sign the agreement at the end of November at the G20 summit in Buenos Aires. The agreement must also receive approval from the U.S. Congress, which might not take up the matter until 2019.

Just as Washington D.C. smolders over President Trump’s nomination of Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court, the current panel of eight justices is reviewing a potentially economy changing case involving a long-haul trucker who filed a suit against transportation company New Prime in 2015. The case, New Prime Inc. v. Oliveira No. 17-340, has wide-ranging effects on not only the trucking industry but the U.S. economy as a whole. It reflects current disputes about the definitions of the terms “employee,” “independent contractor” and “contracts of employment.”

New Prime, and the trucking industry, in general, has argued that “contracts of employment” referred only to employees and not independent contractors. A main controversy in the case involves the 93-year old Federal Arbitration Act which exempted certain categories of transportation workers from mandatory arbitration agreements. The case seems to hinge on whether the term “contracts of employment,” defined in the 1925 act, included independent contractors or just permanent employees.

The trucker in question, Dominic Oliveira, has argued that he deserves a court hearing about his claims rather than arbitration, which is the preferred method of most employers. Critics argue that arbitration often masks unfair business practices. They further argue that the use of the “independent contractor” label is simply a way to reduce pay and deny benefits to a worker who, in all other facets, would be considered an employee.

Although the recent incarnation of the Supreme Court has more often than not sided with corporate interests—see Citizens United or Hobby Lobby—some of the questioning by the most conservative members of the court tends to reveal a stance that was highly doubtful of New Prime’s argument that “contracts of employment” only applied to employees and not independent contractors.

For example, Chief Justice John Roberts, appointed by President George W. Bush, noted that simply“ because someone would be considered or not considered an employee doesn’t necessarily answer the question of whether it’s a contract of employment. People think naturally of employing an independent contractor.”

Newly appointed Justice Neil Gorsuch, picked by President Donald Trump, suggested that “historical evidence” concludes the original 1925 law about “contracts of employment” may have covered more territory than New Prime had argued. Gorsuch indicated he believed the law “swept more broadly,” seeming to imply that he believed independent contractors and employees are the same.

Oliveira has asserted that, even though he was considered an independent contractor, he was working under the same conditions as employees, including the establishment of schedules, vacation time and company monitoring of his vehicle. Overall, justices seemed dubious that an employer could avoid a court case over a dispute simply by relabeling a worker as an independent contractor.

Experts believe that a ruling in favor of Oliveira could force higher wages but would also increase consumer prices and could hobble an industry which already faces a myriad of problems such as driver shortages, limits on capacity and trade war fears.

Currently, the Supreme Court is made up of eight justices, four considered liberal and four considered conservative, so there is certainly potential for a deadlocked verdict. Questions by conservative justices may, however, indicate that possibly Roberts and Gorsuch might side with Kagan, Breyer, Sotomayor, and Ginsburg in favor of Oliveira.

In a market which includes some 50 other competitors, Seattle based digital freight-booking startup Convoy has taken a major step forward by raising $185 million during a recent funding round spearheaded by Google parent company Alphabet, Inc. Convoy already had the monetary backing from the likes of Microsoft founder Bill Gates and Amazon founder Jeff Bezos. The new funding brings Convoy’s total raised to $265 million, giving the business a total value of over $1 billion.

Looking to emulate what Uber Technology, Inc has done in the on-demand passenger market, Convoy hopes to use its website and mobile application to allow retailers and shippers to book trucks to move their products. Convoy claims it can link carriers and shippers faster than traditional cargo booking operations. With economic numbers soaring and demand on the rise, Convoy plans to use its new funding to book multiple shipments at a time, speed up receipt of payments and use data from shipment tracking to advise customers on ways to streamline their operations.

Not surprisingly, Convoy’s leading counterpart is San Francisco based Uber Freight, which boasts that they have doubled their load volume every quarter since inception in May 2017. Uber Freight, however, does not release any information about a number of drivers, the value of loads or funding amounts, so it’s difficult to calculate their success. Both Convoy and Uber Freight are attempting to play a major role in the decidedly fragmented booking business while locking horns with current traditional industry stalwarts, Hub Group, Inc., C.H. Robinson Worldwide and Inc., and XPO Logistics, Inc.

These traditionally modeled companies appear to be working toward taking on the competition by updating their mobile apps and developing new technology, yet they remain dedicated to providing a “personal touch” for drivers. C.H. Robinson Worldwide spokesperson Chad Lindbloom said, “while we’ve spent $1 billion on technology in the last 10 years, we still have the traditional phone, fax, and email analog system for communicating. A lot of drivers and small carriers still want the human touch.”

CEO of Tucker Company Worldwide and chair of the Transportation Intermediaries Association’s technology committee, Jeff Tucker argues that mobile apps are not the answer for problems in the trucking industry. “Drivers want to talk, ask questions, connect, and you cannot stop that conversation. Data will never replace that,” says Tucker.

In contrast, the Pennsylvania based owner of N&W trucking, William Lugo loves his Convoy App, saying, “I open the app, see 100 loads and 10 are in my area. I certify the pickup and delivery day. Prices are set—on average $1,000 to $1,300. But if I feel it’s too low, say $900, I can bid, say $1,100. It’s a risk but I’ve only lost three loads on bidding.”

Los Angeles based Cargomatic developed the first smartphone app for truckers back in 2014 but basically concentrated on the L.A. urban market servicing the large ports at San Pedro and Long Beach. Convoy has taken digital booking technology to a new level by automating what had been a strictly traditional long-haul freight business. When it launched in 2015, Convoy announced it would revolutionize the freight business by making it easier for drivers and shippers to connect. Convoy has also given a nod to the burgeoning “green economy” by indicating its technology can save gasoline. Convoy’s website says, “For every 1% improvement in truck routes and utilization, we can save nearly 400 million gallons of fuel from being consumed, 100 million hours from being wasted and 3 billion miles from being driven each year.”

Along with Bezos and Gates, Convoy has also received backing from eBay founder Pierre Omidyar, Expedia Chairman Barry Dillar as well as various venture capitalists from Silicon Valley. Overall, Convoy is arguably the best-funded trucking technology company in the United States.

The Volvo Trucks design team recently received recognition from the Industrial Designers Society of America (IDSA) for their work designing the new Volvo VNL series. Volvo Trucks’ design team received IDSA’s Silver International Design Excellence Awards (IDEA). The annual IDEA competition is the world’s most prestigious and rigorous design competition.

“Our first goal with our design was to bring value to customers. To receive accolades from the design community as well makes our journey even more satisfying,” said Brian Balicki, Head of Design for Volvo Trucks North America. “I’m very proud of the truly cross-functional team effort that brought the VNL to life, striking the right balance between form and function.”

In the development of the new Volvo VNL, the design team combined elements of Volvo’s design language with dynamic new exterior features. Swept back headlights include signature Volvo daytime running lights and frame a bold new Volvo grille and hood. Redesigned and repositioned engine air intakes allow for less turbulent intake air delivery. Airflow up and around the cab has also been optimized with new chassis and roof fairings.

True to Volvo’s heritage, safety was a core element of the new VNL series design. The cab is built with high-strength steel and exceeds both the Volvo Swedish Cab Safety Test and ECE R-29 rollover requirements. The industry’s only standard driver’s side airbag is now joined by an optional integrated, seat-mounted rollover airbag on the driver’s side.

“We wanted the new VNL series to make a statement on the road, but it must also make a statement to our customers’ bottom lines,” said Balicki. “The design elements we’ve brought together give the new VNL an athletic look that also delivers value for the customer. Whether it’s the enhanced aerodynamics or the new three-piece bumper that provides greater repairability, every design change we’ve made has a purpose.”

To maximize functionality, the Volvo Trucks team gathered feedback from nearly 2,000 driver interviews, so changes aligned with drivers’ needisor a comfortable and productive environment. The end result was an all-new dashboard that puts often-used controls within the driver’s reach. Centered in the gauge cluster are a configurable, five-inch color driver information display that provides trip and diagnostic data. The driver information display is customizable, ensuring that critical information is always available to the driver at a quick glance. Volvo’s smart steering wheel puts controls for nearly all of the driver interface functions right at the driver’s fingertips and Volvo’s Position Perfect™ air-assisted, infinitely adjustable steering column, enables drivers not only to tilt and telescope the steering column but also tilt the steering wheel relative to the steering column. This lets drivers of all statures find the perfect steering wheel position and easily view the driver information display.

The focus on comfort extends to the four sleeper cab configurations, designed to provide drivers a comfortable place to rest after a long day on the road, the sleeper options are packed with a number of space-saving, comfort-boosting innovations.

Daimler Trucks North America (DTNA) is showcasing the Freightliner® EconicSD™, Freightliner 114SD and the Thomas Built Buses Saf-T-Liner® C2 all-electric school bus at the IAA Commercial Vehicles 2018. The products will be part of the Daimler exhibit (#FG P98), which will feature Daimler commercial vehicle solutions from around the world.

“At DTNA, our local market solutions often begin with a collaborative effort and shared expertise from our global partners,” said Kary Schaefer, general manager of marketing and strategy for the Freightliner and Detroit brands within DTNA. “The IAA provides DTNA with the perfect opportunity to share a few of our recent innovations from these collective endeavors for the first time outside of the North American market.”

DTNA vehicles displayed at the IAA 2018 include:

• The Freightliner EconicSD. Introduced in April 2018, the Freightliner economics is one of the most modern and innovative refuse trucks on the market. Based on the Mercedes-Benz Econic, the Freightliner economics is adapted from the European design for the North American refuse industry. The vehicle has a unique low-entry concept for easy entry and egress, and a panoramic windshield for enhanced visibility. The Freightliner economics comes standard with the Detroit™ Assurance® suite of safety systems, including lane departure warning, adaptive cruise control, and active brake assist.

• The Freightliner 114SD. Built for severe duty, the 114SD can be upfit for many different applications, including construction, concrete, plow, fire and rescue, and utility. With optimized mid-chassis packaging and a strategically mounted after-treatment system, the 114SD chassis layout simplifies fitting. The truck’s automotive-style interior, expansive windshield, and low seating provide a comfortable and productive environment for drivers.

• The Saf-T-Liner C2 all-electric school bus. Also referred to as Jouley, the bus is the first generation of Thomas Built Buses’ electric series production school bus and is part of DTNA’s electric truck initiative. Named after the joule unit of energy, the bus produces zero emissions and has the ability for exportable power. The first generation of the Jouley is equipped with the PowerDrive™ 700ev powertrain from Efficient Drivetrains, Inc., which provides 100-160kWh of battery energy and a range of up to 120 miles.

Noted Caley Edgerly, president, and CEO of Thomas Built Buses: “DTNA’s breadth of offerings across multiple industries is based on the fact that we are all driven by the same goal: to deliver solutions that positively impact our customers’ business.”

 

This past year, 14 percentage of trucks scrutinized throughout the break blitz were set out of service because of violations. From the yearly Roadcheck review spree (that happened in June), brake offenses constitute 28.4 percent of most out-of-service violations, the greatest for offenses. During Brake Safety Week, inspectors will primarily conduct the North American Standard Level I Inspection, which is a 37-step procedure that includes an examination of driver operating requirements and vehicle mechanical fitness. Later nailing all the way right down the blitz to one day this past year this season’s Brake Safety Week can be really just actually a return to the standard for CVSA. CVSA says the majority of the inspections completed throughout the blitz will soon probably likely undoubtedly be full Level I reviews, probably the inspection that is most extensive. But, inspectors could possess an enthusiastic focus on brake components, for example missing or loose parts; atmosphere or hydraulic fluid flow; faulty rotor states; dimension of push-rod traveling; mis-matched atmosphere room sizes round axles; atmosphere reservoir mounting and integrity; exploited linings, pads, drums or rotors; required-brake-system warning apparatus; as well as different brake-system components. Vehicles with brakes are going to probably soon likely undoubtedly be set out of service, also states CVSA.

Brake Safety Week is part of the Operation Airbrake Program and is sponsored by CVSA in partnership with the Canadian Council of Motor Transport Administrators and the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration.