James F. Mahoney, Attorney

Government regulators have you in their sights.

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Commentaries
 
   

 

ELD Rules Deadlines

The initial compliance deadline date for installing electronic logging devices is December 18, 2017. (November 2017)

The Cost of Driving One Truck One Mile

The American Transportation Research Institute just released findings of its 2017 update to the operational cost of Trucking, aptly called, "An Analysis of the Operational Costs of Trucking." Here are some interesting excerpts. (October 2017)

ELD Mandates and Compliance

The electronic logging device compliance requirement will present several operational speed bumps that will slow velocity and economics of motor carriers, large and small. (October 2017)

Paid Sick Time in Arizona

Effective July 1, 2017, the Fair Wages and Healthy Families Act, also known as Proposition 206, requires most private and municipal employers to provide paid sick time to employees. (July 2017)

Medical Marijuana at Work

Plus: Accident Reconstruction and Drones ... Crash Severity and Cause. (June 2017)

Confusion Reigns in Cargo Refusals

Denial of cargo by consignee is becoming more common because of concern about the viability of the freight itself. (April 2017)

Insurance Issues for 2017

Excess, umbrella, and multi-insurer coverages. Deductibles and self-insured retention policies. Control over safety. Insurance pricing in 2017. (March 2017)

Baseball Stats Have Statistical Rigor; FMCSA’s CSA Scores Do Not

Baseball has always had statistics. They’ve been studied to excess and its auditors have immense data directly related to every player. Not so with CSA BASICs. (January 2017)

FLSA and Motor Carriers

Who’s Exempt From Overtime – the Motor Carrier Exemption. (August 2016)

Marijuana in the Transportation Workplace

Medical marijuana and more in Colorado, Nevada, California and Arizona. (July 2016)

Food Safety Modernization Act and Temperature-Controlled Food Transportation

The final rule applies to shippers, receivers, loaders, and carriers who transport food in the United States by motor or rail vehicle, whether or not the food is offered for or enters interstate commerce. (July 2016)

Contract Clauses to Avoid

Many legal departments review contracts by demanding uninsurable or unenforceable terms. Rational, measured reasoning generally works out some of these problems. (July 2016)

Unified Registration System Set for September 2016

If you own or manage a transportation company, the URS, or Unified Registration System, is about to become reality for you. (May 2016)

Independent Contractor Law Expected in Arizona

Anticipating the Governor’s signature on HB2114 this week, Arizona should have a very strong law defining independent contractors. (May 2016)

Coming Down the Pike for Transport Companies

Maybe at the top of annoyances coming out of the FMCSA is “Beyond Compliance,” the Agency’s false logic attempt to make trucking “safer” by rewarding motor carriers that buy equipment purportedly leading to better CSA scores. (May 2016)

Uber Opts for European Model of Independent Contractors

The time seems right to continue our efforts to adjust laws of contracting. (April 2016)

Where Are Trucking Insurance Rates Going in 2016?

Prediction: Reinsurance prices will continue to fall this year as competition for customers from hedge funds and other sources of alternative capital send premiums to their lowest in four years. (April 2016)

California Declares War on Uncomfortable Seating at Work

"All working employees shall be provided with suitable seats when the nature of the work reasonably permits the use of seats." (April 2016)

Using Restrictive Covenants in Job Separations

If you must “separate” employees, check on the best course of offering severance agreements to include non-compete provisions that don’t run afoul of the existing law or general feeling of judges and/or arbitrators. (April 2016)

Charging Employees for Damage They Cause

When your employee needlessly damages company property or cargo belonging to another, can you dock his/her pay? (April 2016)

Nearby Mexican Ports Altering Western Truck Routes

Los Angeles and Long Beach turn times are causing shippers to look elsewhere to land cargo. What does this mean to you? (April 2016)

Food Safety Modernization Act to Affect Reefer Carriers and Brokers Very Soon

As soon as March 31, 2016, the FDA will issue its final rules on sanitary transportation of food. Implementation will take another year, but shippers will have motor carriers adhering to the rules very soon. (March 2016)

You Allow a Shipper to Be an Additional Insured on Your Policy

What that means depends on the language of the endorsement. (March 2016)

Trade Secrets in Transportation

What do you do when an employee leaves ... and steals your business records? (March 2016)

3PLs Are Taking on Considerable Risks: Are You Promising Too Much as You Lure that New Shipper?

Have the BCO insure its own cargo for the move. (January 2015)

Driver Coercion and STAA Whistleblower Complaints

If you’re reading this and engaged in interstate transportation of goods by motor carrier – or if your insured client does this — there is exposure to STAA whistleblower claims. (October 2014)

Truckers, Don't Let Your CDL Violations Grow Up to Be CSA Problems

Successfully contesting the questionable citations arising from roadside inspections or traffic stops will now allow us to clean up your CSA scores. (August 2014)

What's in Your (Transportation) Contract

Here’s a list of terms for that contract that you simply must not forget to include. (July 2014)

Change to MCMIS Data

Under the FMCSA plan, data will reflect actual outcome of court cases involving driver traffic and criminal violations. (June 2014)

You Gotta Love California ...

More reasons for truckers to relocate to Arizona. (March 2014)

The Best Part of Idaho ...

The best part of Idaho is not their famous potatoes. It's their Supreme Court's ruling on independent contractors. (March 2014)

Steal This Customer ...

Or how you may learn to protect your business against customer and employee poaching under the Fraud and Abuse Act, state law breach of contract; misappropriation of trade secrets under the Uniform Trade Secrets Act; breach of fiduciary duty; tortious interference with a contract; back-solicitation of loads; and other nefarious conduct by people who steal your customers. (February 2014)

MAP-21 and the Freight Broker - Now at a Theater Near You!

Over a four month period in 2009 an internet "freight broker" in Biloxi scammed its paying customers and its motor carriers alike. The principals were recently sentenced, but as we so often hear, rogue brokers are everywhere…. (August 2013)

Wage & Hour Claims, Workers Comp, Cargo Losses and Other Scary Topics

Fear and lack of knowledge can be great motivators to ask for qualified help. (July 2013)

The Rise of Commercial Insurance Rates and What to Do About Them

Our risks are long-tailed beasts, so you need to plan years ahead. The commercial market may not soften again until several years of underwriting profits make carriers hungry. (April 2013)

Why Do You Buy Insurance?

Many insurance brokers believe there are only two motivations pushing clients to buy insurance:. (1) it’s a requirement and (2) fear. They are correct. (April 2013)

Stepped-Up CARB Enforcement

January 2013 marked the start of stepped-up California Air Resources Board (CARB) enforcement efforts, empowering all CARB enforcement officers to investigate and fine shippers and receivers (and brokers) suspected of hiring companies whose reefers don’t meet the state’s TRU (Transportation Refrigeration Unit) regulations. (March 2013)

FMCSA Anxiety Triggers

The FMCSA rejects request for HOS delay ... Incorporating CSA data and rating system ... Unified Registration System. (February 2013)

You Were Warned: Workers' Comp Rates Are Rising

This is not an "I told you so." It's a call to go forward with careful planning and consideration of your most costly of all insurance coverages. And to think about switching some company drivers into owner-operators. (January 2013)

Equipment Ownership by a Separate Entity: Tax Issues

Avoiding IRS passive loss limitations under the self-rental rule requires proper structuring of the entity that owns the equipment. (November 2012)

Your Emails and Texts Can Create Contracts

The messaging world and social media are affecting your legal relations with customers, suppliers and employees. (November 2012)

Crash Rates Are Up – Significantly

The estimated 9% increase during the first half of 2012 represents the largest such increase during the first half of the year since NHTSA started collecting data on such crashes. (November 2012)

How Will Obamacare Affect Workers' Compensation Costs?

The Affordable Care Act provides some hope for reining in runaway premium rates. (November 2012)

Have You Googled Your Employees, Applicants Lately?

Be careful: Using search engines or social media to research an employee or applicant constitutes a background check that is subject to federal law. (August 2012)

Affordable Healthcare, Trucking and Workers' Comp

What was once a worry for smaller transport businesses – that the new health care law would increase their costs – may actually turn out to be a vehicle for savings. (July 2012)

Social Media on the Job: What Do You Really Know?

Here are some examples mentioned that should make crystal clear – not! – how to discipline and advise your employees on just what’s appropriate for online activities at work or off work. (May 2012)

Insurance Premiums Too High? Consider Alternative Risk Financing

As drops in net income for property and casualty insurers puts upward pressure on premiums, some trucking companies are looking at other ways to cover their risk. (May 2012)

Criminal Background Checks and the Hiring Process

The EEOC issues guidelines for checking the criminal record of a prospective employee. (May 2012)

The Distinction Between "Carrier" and "Broker" in Cargo Losses

A discussion of brokering in the context of cargo liability. (March 2012)

Employer Liability for "Off Duty" Crashes Due to Cell Phone Use

Employers may be held accountable for the negligent acts of employees committed in the course of employment. (March 2012)

The Key to Safety Performance: Hire Good Drivers

There are three major factors which make up the best psychological qualities of a truck driver: intelligence, factual knowledge and trucker personality. (March 2012)

Liability Insurance Rates: What Drives Them Up?

Despite all the hype that CSA scores will move your insurance rates, the real drivers of insurance premiums are reinsurance rates and the catastrophic property losses. (March 2012)

Mind the (Tax) Gap

Independent contractor reclassification and the trucking industry: State and federal agencies seek new taxes by modifying trucking business models. (March 2012)

Freight Broker Liability

If you broker freight, you may be sued, and probably for certain considering the low limits purchased by even some of the larger motor carriers. (February 2012)

2011 Arizona Litigation News and Appellate Highlights

A summary of Arizona evidence rules relevant to the trucking industry have been amended effective January 1, 2012. (January 2012)

Avoid Conflicting Provisions in Your Employee Manuals

When a new topic comes along, make a note and then incorporate it into the handbook at the next annual revision, making sure the new policy is consistent with the policies in place. (January 2012)

Six-Step Program on Contracting for Truckers

Remember these practical tips before putting your name on the dotted line. (January 2012)

Your Recovering Employees Are Being Dangerously Over-Medicated

Physicians over-prescribing opioids has led to an increase in indemnity losses, with no corresponding overall reduction in Comp loss history. (January 2012)

Risk Transfer Issues in Motor Transport Agreements

Are you unnecessarily exposed to liability; does your insurance cover you? Do the new anti-indemnity laws protect you?. (August 2011)

California's Overtime Law Applies to Non-Residents

This is a bad decision for California-based employers, who may see claims from nonresident employees performing work in California. (July 2011)

Employment Applications and Loss Reductions

If the individual is screened out for safety reasons, you must be able to demonstrate that he or she posed a "direct threat" that the risk could not be reduced through reasonable accommodation. (July 2011)

Multi-Sided Attacks on Owner-Operator Business Model

Arizona, Colorado and New Jersey are among the states that are making it more difficult for employers to prove that a worker is truly an "independent contractor". (July 2011)

The Cost of Operating One Truck for One Mile or One Hour

There are significant cost fluctuations by industry sector, with specialized hauling having the highest total marginal CPM

Drugged-Driving in the Motor Carrier Industry

If our safety management programs are found deficient after a tragedy, we will pay in more ways than one

Hiring Skinny Drivers

If a driver is obese, his or her Workers’ Comp claim is very likely to become more complex, last longer and end up costing a lot more

The Impact of Driving, Non-Driving Work, and Rest Breaks on Driving Performance

The assessment of the drivers’ workday determined that drivers spent 66% of their shift driving, 23% in non-driving work, and 11% resting

Indemnity Issues Critical to Truckers

Arizona is now one of 27 states (and rising) to preclude one-sided indemnity terms in transportation contracts

The IRS and the Voluntary Worker Classification Settlement Program

Finally, a totally useless self-confessing tax program for the trucking industry

Let's Go To Mexico

If planned and executed properly, with some legal interlining considerations and inexpensive Mexican insurance, cargo can be moved both ways safely and efficiently

Monitoring Employees' Use of Facebook

An update on the NLRB’s interpretation of “protected concerted activity” and how you can and can’t monitor employees' use of social media

Taxed Employees: Owner-Operator Misclassification Strikes Again

The first line of defense is a solid contract; and essential to that is an understanding by the parties that they created an independent contractor relationship

Top 10 Ways to Reduce Your Compensation E-Mod

The “experience modification factor” looks at the cost of your workers’ compensation claims over a previous three-year period and compares it to similar industries

Truckers and the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act

Also known as the law that's been heard around Bentonville

What Happens in Minnesota ... Doesn't Necessarily Stay There

In a roadside inspection, even drivers have a degree of privacy that state police officers must respect

When Insurers Won’t Release Your Money, It's Time to Push for It

If you had a deductible program and haven't received a (satisfactory) refund, regardless of the age of the policies, it's time to look at the amounts your current/former insurers hold and have a serious talk with them

Where Not to Park Your Truck in California

A California Court of Appeal decision found a truck driver liable for parking in an otherwise safe and legal manner; the court did say, however, it would have been ok if the rig wasn’t so darn extremely large and the driver wasn't a CDL driver

Workers Comp Claims by Undocumented Workers

The U.S. Supreme Court defers to states' rights on Workers’ Compensation by not deciding an equal protection/due process claim of undocumented workers

Workers' Compensation Insurers' Returns Deteriorate

Regardless of your P&C carrier, be watchful for premium audit requests and particularly of contentions that you have misclassified employees as owner operators