The coronavirus pandemic has definitely led to a lot of changes and challenges – there’s no denying that. Pretty much everyone and everything has been affected by the pandemic. One thing that was impacted by COVID-19 is the driver turnover rate in the trucking industry, an interesting effect of the virus: the turnover rate in the trucking world dropped during the second quarter.
The CVSA had postponed their International Roadcheck because of the pandemic. However, they have rescheduled the International Roadcheck, and it’s going on now. It started on Sept. 9th and will continue through Sept. 11th. (Attention has been able to shift back to inspecting drivers and vehicles now that safety standards and Out of Service criteria.)
These days, everything feels topsy-turvy and up in the air. The pandemic situation changes what seems like every day. The FMCSA issued an Emergency Declaration for the trucking world, and they recently extended that Emergency Declaration. It was due to expire on August 14th, but it has now been extended through September 14th. (Of course, the emergency declaration applies only to certain motor carriers – there are restrictions.) We’ll go over some of what you need to know.
According to the website Business Insider, several contractors that help to deliver packages for Amazon have announced that they expect to lay off approximately 2,000 drivers. The move affects drivers employed by Letter Ride, Inpax, Sheard-Lomax Transportation, and Urban Mobility Now, all of which make last-minute deliveries for the online retail giant. The most typical reasons for the layoffs include the filing of Worker Adjustments and Retraining Notifications and the expiration of contracts with Amazon.
What is a delivery service partner?
A delivery service partner (DSP) is a third-party delivery company that typically works only with Amazon. The DSPs then control driver schedules, wages, benefits, and maintenance of commercial vehicles. Those that have chosen to discontinue delivering packages for Amazon have worked with drivers to find positions with other companies that still deliver for Amazon.
Contracting out to a DSP benefits Amazon because it costs much less to deliver packages this way than to offer delivery drivers direct employment. Although relationships with the carriers above ultimately didn’t work out, Amazon is still looking to contract with several new DSPs. It prefers to work with delivery companies that have a fleet of at least 40 commercial vehicles available for deliveries, especially over the holiday season. Transportation industry analysts predict that Amazon will continue its relationships with smaller and newer DSPs while it discontinues doing business with the larger carriers.
The challenges for Amazon DSPs
One risk that DSPs take when agreeing to a contract with Amazon is that the online retailer often makes up a large percentage of their business. This leaves delivery businesses vulnerable to changes and demands made by Amazon. If Amazon reduces business, for example, the DSP can find itself scrambling to bring in lost revenue. Other company owners have found that Amazon doesn’t deliver as much revenue as expected and cut ties on their own.
Hiring inexperienced drivers part of the problem
Some companies learned the importance of hiring good drivers the hard way when it became necessary to file retraining notifications and discontinue delivering for Amazon. As a motor carrier hiring new drivers, the best thing you can do is take your time to thoroughly investigate an applicant’s background before making an offer. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) offers several resources for employers to check the background of driver applicants for past violations and a history of quickly moving from one motor carrier to the next.
Besides a clean background, qualities of a good driver applicant include:
- Current commercial driver’s license (CDL)
- Ability to troubleshoot and perform basic repairs and maintenance on commercial vehicles
- Ability to follow traffic rules and learn complex on-the-job information quickly
- Ability to use route planning tools well
- Strong time management, customer service, and professional communication skills
While these are just some of the many qualifications of an excellent commercial driver, the list gives you a place to start the next time you need to hire new help.
Get truck insurance quotes quickly.
Investigating various insurance policies and carrying enough coverage to financially protect yourself and others is just one part of being a responsible commercial driver. You can get started with your truck insurance quotes by filling out our online form, giving us a call, or messaging us on LiveChat.
Every year since 1998, the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance (CVSA) has sponsored Brake Safety Inspection week in September. This year’s event, which takes place between Sunday, September 15 and Saturday, September 21, will feature random roadside inspections on commercial vehicles located throughout North America. The CVSA works in close association with law enforcement officials to conduct approximately 30,000 surprise inspections each year during Brake Safety Inspection Week.
The FMCSA (Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration) is rolling out a new program called Clearinghouse, and it will usher in some big changes for truckers. It’s going to be operational in January 2020, and that’s going to be here before we know it.
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) is currently working in partnership with the United States military to recruit 18 to 20-year-old commercial drivers. The Under 21 Military CDL Pilot Program will run for three years. During this timeframe, program recruits will have the legal authority to operate commercial vehicles interstate.
On May 15, 2019, the Alabama legislature passed a bill that would lower the age a driver can apply for a commercial driver’s license (CDL) for intrastate truck driving from 21 to 18. The Senate passed the bill 24-0 while the House voted 96-1 in favor of passage. Governor Kay Ivey is expected to sign the bill with an effective date of February 17, 2020. Hawaii is now the only state that imposes a minimum age of 21 to obtain an intrastate CDL.
The Unified Registration System (URS) was created to simplify and streamline the registration process required by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA). This online process is designed to integrate several different registration procedures to make registering a commercial vehicle more efficient. The URS works as a portal for registration and a database on all regulated organizations and entities, including fleets, motor carriers, intermodal equipment providers (IEPs), and related businesses.
Congress passed a bill in 2012 that increased qualifications to receive federal highway funding. Known as MAP-21, or Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st century, the bill required the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMSCA) to make it mandatory for commercial truckers to maintain an electronic logging device (ELD) – in other words, the ELD rule.