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News & Analysis

Publication Details

Transportation Brief: Dispatches

by Kelli M. Block, Jerad T. Childress, Jeffrey S. Jackson, Prasad Sharma

August 8, 2019

Motor carriers will no longer be permitted to use AOBRDs within their fleets after December 16, 2019. Complete transition to ELDs by December 17, 2019 is mandatory. Due to vendor support and fleet integration concerns, Jerad Childress recommends fleets transition from AOBRD to ELD by the end of October leaving ample time to address unanticipated compliance issues before the deadline.


According to Jeff Jackson, the Indiana Department of Revenue (INDOR) has continued to aggressively assess statutory civil penalties on motor carriers for past overweight/oversize violations. These assessments can reach as high as $5,000 per violation and can involve citations dating back 3 years. Mr. Jackson has had significant success defending motor carrier clients against these weighty assessments.


Companies incorporated in Delaware should be on the lookout for an “invitation” from the Delaware Secretary of State (SOS) to participate in the Voluntary Disclosure Agreement (VDA) Program the SOS makes available for purposes of complying with Delaware’s Abandoned or Unclaimed Property (AUP) law. Kelli Block advises that the SOS refer any invitee that does not enroll in the VDA Program within 60-days of the invitation mailing to the State Escheator for an examination of the company’s compliance with Delaware AUP law.  


Although last year’s FAA Reauthorization Act directed the FAA to issue regulations authorizing the carriage of property for compensation by small drones, that rulemaking has taken a back seat to work on drone traffic management and remote identification rules.  According to Prasad Sharma, using an existing authorization process utilized by passenger and cargo air carriers, the FAA authorized Google’s Project Wing in April to make drone deliveries around the Blacksburg, VA area, and UPS applied for similar air carrier authority for drone delivery operations in late July.


Blockchain technology continues to be a hot topic throughout the transportation/logistics industry. An increasing number of companies believe it has the potential to positively revolutionize aspects of commerce, generally, and transportation/logistics, specifically. Blockchain’s ultimate effect on the industry has yet to be defined, but Jeff Jackson advises early adopters of this technology to be careful. It is important to closely vet and review the terms and conditions and the underlying “smart” contracts of any blockchain before committing.  An important benefit of blockchain technology (but one that may be a double-edged sword) is the level of transparency between the participants. Companies should be specific about information they are willing to share (make public) and properly assess security risks.


Jeff Jackson reports a continued uptick in the number of motor carriers and third-party intermediaries, including property brokers, facing significant retrospective premium assessments due to the inclusion of uninsured independent contractor pay in the premium audit calculations by their workers’ compensation (WC) insurers.  With respect to property brokers, Mr. Jackson notes that more and more WC insurers are considering whether to include compensation paid to uninsured third-party motor carriers when calculating premium (with some aggressively doing so). Companies should challenge these assessments by strongly asserting the drivers’ or carriers’ independent contractor status during the insurer’s internal dispute procedures and then via the available state administrative channels.

 

 

 

Scopelitis’ Transportation Brief® is intended as a report to our clients and friends on developments affecting the transportation industry. The published material does not constitute an exhaustive legal study and should not be regarded or relied upon as individual legal advice or opinion.


 

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