Wednesday, December 27, 2017

ATA top news and events for 2017

Is that a collective sigh from the group? Yeah, probably so. It’s been that kind of year for truckers – arguably the most eventful year of the past decade.

With significant changes to the way truckers conduct their businesses, pay taxes, and manage and regulate employees, it’s been one to remember with immediate ramifications that will carry us well into the next decade.

Without question the most significant revelation of the year was the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s requirement that some truck drivers transition from paper logs to digital ones. Like it or not, E-logs are here to stay – at least for the near future. And even though CVSA announced in August that there would be a five-month grace period for out-of-service violations, there remain difficult questions as to how law enforcement agencies will administer the rule. For now, inspectors are, at their discretion, issuing citations for non-compliance.

Meanwhile, Congress passed a major tax overhaul just last week, marking the first significant reform to the tax code since 1986, reducing the corporate tax rate to 21 percent from 35 percent for businesses and doubles the estate-tax exemption to $11.2 million per person. The legislation will also allow faster write-offs for business investments, and creates new rules for taxing international profits. Taxes will also be reduced for pass-through businesses and sole proprietorships. The impact of this historic legislation will greatly benefit trucking businesses of all types and sizes.

Here in Alabama, your Alabama Trucking Association successfully lobbied to pass a towing bill in the State Legislature that provides an appeals process to contest excessive towing fees. For many years, Alabama state troopers used a rotation system by which wrecker businesses were collected into a pool which troopers used based on location, availability, and need. The pool system was used to more quickly clean up damaged or disabled vehicles on state highways and the process was supposed to be random.

Trucking companies were usually left out of the decision to pick a wrecker service provider, and they were sometimes unfamiliar with the area where the accident occurred. That left trucking companies at the mercy of towing businesses which could sometimes result in outlandish fees and charges. If the trucking company contested and refused payment the wrecker serviced held property and vehicles with little-to-no recourse. Meanwhile, the longer a dispute lasted, the more quickly fees could be added for vehicle storage, causing a final bill to skyrocket quickly. Now truck owners have a much more level playing field when dealing with towing businesses after an accident or breakdown.

Our Safety & Maintenance Management Council also made great progress with several successful meetings and events, including a batch of well-attended seminars on the E-log mandate. Other SMMC highlights were the Alabama Truck Driving Championships and the Council’s annual Fleet Safety Awards.

Of course, one of the Association’s more memorable events this year was last spring’s annual convention in Destin. With more than 400 trucking executives in attendance, ATA’s annual meeting continues to grow and improve with each year.

And finally, last fall’s ATA Golf Classic surpassed all previous tournaments in terms of money raised and member participation. Total revenue eclipsed $245,850, which generated $200,000 for the Association’s future political endeavors.

The livelihood of any organization is incumbent upon the participation and support of its members. Fortunately, our members are dedicated, engaged, and willing to do whatever it takes to make trucking better, safer and stronger. For that we are truly grateful for the support of our members. We are so proud to serve you needs, and we look forward to working on your behalf in 2018.

And now, without further ado, here are the Alabama Trucking Association’s top news events for 2017:

ELD law finally goes into effect
The electronic logging device rule kicked in on Dec. 18 and enforcement has begun across the country. While there were some reports of certain ELD providers having temporary software and server troubles, no doubt due to a sudden increase in usage, the day seems to have gone off without much trouble. Based on what he had heard, CVSA Executive Director Collin Mooney characterized the day as quiet on the enforcement side. Read more

Trump Tax plan will benefit industry
The incoming tax reform bill could be a welcome holiday gift for truckers, according to Barry Pottle, president of Pottle’s Transportation and first vice chairman of American Trucking Associations. Congress passed a major tax overhaul Dec. 20, marking the first significant reform to the tax code since 1986. Read more

Alabama towing bill passes
Alabama’s towing bill has passed the State Legislature. SB201, which provides for an appeals process to contest excessive towing fees, has passed the Alabama House this afternoon by a vote of 96 to 2. Read more

Larry Parker wins Driver of the Year
The Alabama Trucking Association’s Safety & Maintenance Management Council honored dozens of the state’s safest trucking fleets, managers, and drivers Monday night in Pelham, Ala. during the group’s Alabama Fleet Safety Awards Banquet. The highlight of the evening was the announcement of Larry Parker, a driver for Buddy Moore Trucking, Birmingham, Ala., as the Alabama Driver of the Year. Read more

ATA taps Bill Ward for lifetime achievement award
The Alabama Trucking Association has honored Ward International Trucks President Bill Ward with its 2017 H. Chester Webb Award for outstanding service and commitment to Alabama’s trucking industry. The group announced the honor at its annual meeting held April 20-22 at the Hilton Sandestin Beach Golf and Spa Resort in Destin, Fla. Read more

ATA Golf Classic raises nearly a quarter million for Truk Pac
More than 300 people, representing 138 ATA member firms gathered in late September at the Robert Trent Jones-Capitol Hill golf complex in Prattville, Ala. to play in the Alabama Trucking Association’s 2017 Golf Classic, the lone fundraiser for the Association’s political action committee, TRUK PAC. According to Golf Classic Chairman Rendy Taylor this year’s event surpassed all previous Classics in terms of money raised and member participation. Read more

Terry Kilpatrick elected 78th Chairman of the Board
Facing down family tragedy and personal illness, the new chairman of Alabama’s state trucking association has weathered setbacks with grace and strength, retooling his long-running operation for maximum ­efficiency with an eye toward future growth. Read more

Alabama trucking execs in Washington D.C. to promote industry
Last fall, a delegation of Alabama fleet owners and executives was in Washington D.C. promoting the industry to state Members of Congress, key congressional staff, federal regulators, fellow industry leaders, and American Trucking Associations staff. The group discussed legislation and regulations currently affecting the industry. Atop the list were infrastructure improvement and funding and corporate tax reform. Read more

Gary Bond caps successful year as ATA’s top elected leader
Alabama Trucking Association’s previous Chairman of the Board Gary Bond completed his one-year term as the Association’s top elected official in June, capping one of the group’s most successful years in recent memory. Chairman Bond presided over a slew of successful projects and events that smashed records for member support in terms of participation and sponsorship totals, including the recent ATA Annual Convention; last year’s ATA Golf Classic, which raises money for the Association’s political action committee TRUK PAC; and a variety of safety council events and meetings that also enjoyed solid attendance and support. Read more

FedEx’s Charlie Salter scores big at Alabama TDC
Charlie Salter, a veteran truck driver for FedEx Freight’s terminal near Montgomery, won the Alabama Trucking Association’s State Truck Driving Championships’ Overall Champion award, Friday, May 26, at the Pelham Civic Complex near Birmingham, Ala. Salter and the nearly 100 other Alabama-based truck drivers from more than a dozen trucking firms, competed at the annual event, produced by the Association’s Safety & Maintenance Management Council. Read more