Overdrive Magazine

May 2019

Issue link: https://dmtmag.uberflip.com/i/1111363

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14 | Overdrive | May 2019 After a setback, the Western States Trucking Association intends to con- tinue fighting a court precedent in California that the group argues has created a cooling effect on the use of owner-operators and independent contractors. A U.S. District Court in Sacramento in March dismissed WSTA's lawsuit against California's Department of Industrial Relations and the state's attorney general. The suit sought to nullify an April 2018 decision by the California Supreme Court in the case of Dynamex v. Superior Court. The ruling instituted criteria for determining whether a driver is an independent contractor or a company driver. WSTA contends the precedent is damaging to the traditional owner- operator lease arrangement and is causing carriers to break ties with independent contractors. The next step in WSTA's case is an appeal to the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals, the court immediately below the U.S. Supreme Court. The California Trucking Association also has filed a lawsuit against the year- old Dynamex decision, and its suit was slated for oral arguments last month. The cases could become inter- twined with the ongoing court battle over whether the state can enforce its break laws on carriers and drivers. In December, the U.S. Department of Transportation bucked California's break laws, issuing a directive that carriers do not have to comply with state law that requires employers to provide regular meal breaks and paid rest breaks. DOT said then that the laws conflict with federal hours of service regulations and that federal law trumps state law. The state of California and the Teamsters Union jointly sued DOT, seeking to enforce the break laws. That lawsuit still is playing out and also is set to be heard by the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals. — James Jaillet California cases could reach high court N E W S The federal CDL Drug and Alcohol Clearinghouse, which will be a database of truck drivers who have failed or refused a drug or alcohol test, takes effect in January 2020. Drivers intending to transition to new jobs or ensure a clean clearinghouse record will need to register as users, said Joe DeLorenzo, director of enforcement and compli- ance for the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration. DeLorenzo spoke in March at the Mid-America Trucking Show in Louisville, Kentucky. The clearinghouse will record all drug test failures con- ducted for pre-employment screenings, random drug tests and post-crash tests, DeLorenzo said. Carriers will be required to submit failed tests to the clearinghouse, and they'll be required to query the database before hiring driv- ers to ensure they haven't failed a drug test in the previous three years. The onus will be on drivers to register with the clearing- house so that they can consent to allowing carriers to query the database for their records, DeLorenzo said. Registration, slated to begin in October, will be required for any driver looking for a new driving job in January 2020 and later, he said. Registration isn't a necessity for independent owner-oper- ators, however, since they're not part of hiring processes. Though registration and consent to queries are required only when a driver is beginning a new job, DeLorenzo encouraged all drivers and owner-operators to register as users to ensure their testing information is accurate. Also included will be whether drivers completed the return-to- duty process if they have failed a drug test. — James Jaillet Drug/alcohol database will affect job changes Trump visits truck dealership American Truck Dealers member Bob Nuss, president of Nuss Truck & Equipment in Burnsville, Minnesota, hosted President Trump and White House advisers for a roundtable discussion at Nuss's dealer- ship April 15. The meeting focused on tax reform, the economy and small businesses. Nuss delivered a letter to Trump asking for his support in repealing the 12% federal excise tax levied on the sale of most new heavy-duty trucks and trailers.

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