Judge Blocks AB5 from California Trucking

For those working as independent contractors in California, a lot of news has been swirling around in regards to their worker classification with their clients. From graphic designers to business consultants, a lot of professionals have had to rethink the way they operate under the new AB5 regulation passed at the end of 2019.

But quite possibly the biggest industry impacted by the new bill is the trucking industry, which is literally driven by independent trucking professionals who take one-off jobs delivering payloads from one destination to the next throughout the state. And since California’s economy is fueled by trade and commerce trucked along its highways, AB5 brought plenty of controversy with it.

Now, trucking companies and professionals in the industry can breathe a little easier as a federal judge has extended a temporary restraining order keeping officials from enforcing the terms of AB5.

Truckers Find Support

U.S. District Judge Roger Benitez listened to arguments but didn’t issue a full decision in regards to how AB5 will impact those in the industry. Instead, Benitez extended the temporary restraining order that was put in motion on December 31 and will be in effect until he makes a full-on decision on the preliminary injunction, which could take anywhere from a few days to a few weeks.

Some who oppose AB5 say it unfairly hinders trucking professionals and the companies they work for, affecting everything from tax classification to benefits to commercial truck insurance. Some go even further, pointing out that it may have major constitutional issues in terms of how it impacts goods moved not only throughout California but the entire country.

The ABCs of AB5

The California Trucking Association filed a lawsuit challenging AB5 back in November. The new law put into motion a strict ABC test in order to determine the validity of independent contractors and their relationships with clients, such as trucking companies who hire out truckers. One of the requirements prohibited companies from using independent contractors unless the worker was performing work outside the usual course of the hiring company’s business.

CTA stated that AB5 is preempted by the commerce clauses in the U.S. Constitution and comes in conflict with the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Act as well as the Federal Aviation Administration Authorization Act of 1994, which bans states from enacting laws that have an effect on a motor carrier’s prices or services.

However, while this may be a small victory for trucking professionals and organizations like the CTA, the state government is making efforts to enforce AB5. Governor Gavin Newsom’s proposed 2020 budget includes $20 million in additional funding to make sure AB5 is enforced.

But Newsom and other lawmakers are fighting adversity on multiple fronts as the Western States Trucking Association also filed a complementary suit focused on Ab5 and how it treats motor carriers that provide trucking services. And creative professionals, including freelance writers and photographers, filed their own suit in December, alleging that the new bill restricts the media.

And in a state where technology is not only born (i.e. Silicon Valley startup culture) but fuels the economy, it’s no surprise that app-based tech companies such as Uber and Postmates, which run on the efforts of independent contractors, have filed a similar suit of their own.

About Western Truck Insurance Services

Western Truck Insurance Services is a commercial truck insurance agency with roots dating back to 1954. We have evolved into a highly respected, professionally managed, truck and transportation insurance brokerage. The hallmark of our organization is our desire to provide unparalleled service. We go way beyond what you expect to receive from an insurance brokerage. Equipped with state of the art automation, Western Truck Insurance can provide you with lightning fast truck insurance quotes, customer service, Insurance certificates, and coverage changes.

The Drug and Alcohol Clearinghouse is Now in Play: What to Know

Beginning Monday, January 6, the federal government has begun overseeing how fleets perform background checks on prospective employees and owner-operators within the trucking industry. Under the banner of the Drug and Alcohol Clearinghouse, a database of drivers who have failed or refused a drug test at some point in their job search in the industry will be stored and curated. 

Fleets of all sizes will be required to input this information into the database for all new driver hires as well as on a yearly basis for existing drivers.

The Clearinghouse was set up to help trucking companies be safe from hiring employees who have been hit with fines and violations in the past related to drug and alcohol offenses. While having resources to tap into, such as commercial truck insurance to provide the funds needed for legal coverage and settlements, is important, it’s even more important to avoid major fees and violations by staying true to the law at hand.

If trucking companies violate these terms and regulations, it can spell major legal trouble for them as well as reputationally.

Here’s a better look at what to expect from the new Clearinghouse requirements.

Current Requirements

Fleets currently are required to call prospective drivers’ prior fleets in order to perform thorough background checks. The fleets are required by law to perform this contact to inquire about failed drug tests. However, there have been some discrepancies in the past that have left the door open for drivers with checkered pasts to get back behind the wheel and possibly cause more trouble.

Fleets can skip over making this kind of inquiry and not be held accountable. What’s more, a prior employer might not provide truthful information regarding the driver in question.

Beginning on January 6, information on drivers will be available, showing drivers who have been cited for violating alcohol laws specific to trucking. There will also be information and resources available on whether a driver has completed the correct return-to-duty process after a positive drug test.

One-Truck Contractors

Independent owner-operators have always been required to participate in a drug-testing program or another third-party administrator program. With the new Clearinghouse rules, these operators will need to register as a company instead, and need to designate a consortium to handle the annual queries required by all CDL holders.

Drug testers will be responsible for inputting any positive drug tests into the new system.

Leased Owner-Operators

These professionals will need to create a clearinghouse account, although it’s not required. But any truck driver will need an account to switch between fleets due to the new fleet needing to inquire about that record specifically. Having an account will help the driver ensure there’s no mistakes or inaccurate information on their record.

When switching between carriers, leased owner-operators will need to authorize fleets to run a query on their CDL within the clearinghouse database.

Small-Fleet

Full compliance with clearinghouse regulations is mandatory, no matter the size of the fleet. Even small, two-truck fleets will have to comply by performing a full query on every new driver. Small fleets will have to register as an employer in the database and purchase queries at $1.25 apiece. These small carriers can take care of the administrative duties either in-house or through third-party outsourced drug screenings.

By the beginning of the new rules on January 6, fleet policies must post that any positive drug tests, refusals, and alcohol violations will be submitted into the clearinghouse database.

About Western Truck Insurance Services

Western Truck Insurance Services is a commercial truck insurance agency with roots dating back to 1954. We have evolved into a highly respected, professionally managed, truck and transportation insurance brokerage. The hallmark of our organization is our desire to provide unparalleled service. We go way beyond what you expect to receive from an insurance brokerage. Equipped with state of the art automation, Western Truck Insurance can provide you with lightning fast truck insurance quotes, customer service, Insurance certificates, and coverage changes.

New Jersey Joins California in Targeting Owner-Operators

In recent months, news out of California has focused on new legislation around worker classification and how it’s poised to affect independent contractors, including owner-operators in the trucking industry — an industry that fuels the state’s economy.

Truck drivers and trucking companies are scrambling to propose an alternative solution to the new AB 5 bill, which will re-classify truck drivers as full-time employees instead of contactors, upending the way the industry has handled everything from benefits to hours worked to commercial truck insurance.

Now, one state on the other end of the country is following suit, adding to the battleground for motor carriers that use owner-operators.

Jersey Drivers

The state Senate of New Jersey, a state that sees plenty of freight of its own move along its highways and byways, will take up legislation aimed at limiting what workers can be considered contractors. The Senate’s labor committee recently debated a new bill introduced by Sen. Stephen Sweeney that would make employers use the ABC test to determine whether a driver should be classified as an employee or contractor, just like in California.

The bill takes after California AB 5, a new law that will take effect on January 1, 2020. In New Jersey, the legislation has the potential to raise trucking costs and comes at a time when the demand in the state for trucking operations is growing. Nearly four out of every five containers that moves through the Tri-State area are hauled via truck and two-thirds of them are warehoused in New Jersey.

Limits on independent contractors will add pressure to New Jersey’s minority workers, with two out of every five drivers coming from that demographic, compared to 30 percent across all industries. A move like this is causing many drivers to think about their next career step, like in California where 70,000 independent contractors are doing the same thing.

Cracking Down on Trucking Companies

Apart from the potential new legislation in New Jersey, trucking in the state is possibly facing yet another new piece of legislation that could hurt employers when it comes to wage disputes and the additional costs of providing benefits plans for independent contractors.

What’s more, New Jersey recently enacted a law similar to California that will increase the risk for employee misclassification, holding shippers liable for wage disputes between drivers and motor carriers. However, in New Jersey, the penalties are heavier as employers found liable for not paying wages due to misclassification could face up to a 200-percent increase in damages and other costs.

About Western Truck Insurance Services

Western Truck Insurance Services is a commercial truck insurance agency with roots dating back to 1954. We have evolved into a highly respected, professionally managed, truck and transportation insurance brokerage. The hallmark of our organization is our desire to provide unparalleled service. We go way beyond what you expect to receive from an insurance brokerage. Equipped with state of the art automation, Western Truck Insurance can provide you with lightning fast truck insurance quotes, customer service, Insurance certificates, and coverage changes.

California Trucking Association (CTA) Files Legal Complaint Against AB 5

In California, the state’s governor Gavin Newsom spearheaded a complete upheaval of the labor market. Through a slew of new bills passed this fall, California is redefining what it means to be a contract worker and a full-time employee, while simultaneously changing everything from how people get benefits and find the right kind of insurance.

Taking effect on January 1, 2020, California businesses — especially those that rely on contract workers and hired hands, like transportation and creative services — will have to retool their hiring practices and worker classification. One major bill getting the spotlight is AB 5, which is being described as a piece of legislation that could completely disrupt the gig economy in California, a state that relies heavily on contract workers.

One part of that sector that is feeling the pressure is the trucking industry, which fuels the state’s economy through its massive freight operations throughout the state. However, those in the industry are putting up a fight, hoping to find a better solution for workers.

Taking The Case to Court

In a legal complaint filed on November 12, the California Trucking Association (CTA), along with two owner-operators, argues that AB 5 and Dynamex are preempted by federal law and looks to enjoin application of those regulations to the trucking industry as a whole.

The case (California Trucking Association v. Becerra et al.) is currently pending in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of California. In it, the CTA and the owner-operators on file allege that the new law would make it impossible for CTA’s motor-carrier members to have the same impact in their trucking services due to how it would change the way companies classify truck drivers.

With the current owner-operator model, which hires out drivers as contractors instead of full-time, permanent employees as the new bill would make mandatory, the benefit is that it provides motor-carriers and contractors the flexibility to meet the fluctuating needs of the shipping market.

Testing The Market

The main part of the new bill that has come under scrutiny is the ABC test, which categorizes drivers as employees of a company rather than independent contractors. Under the new test, an individual is classified as an employee, full-time, unless the employer can prove that:

  • A. the worker is free from the company’s control
  • B. the worker performs work that isn’t central to the company’s business
  • C. the worker has an independent business, trade or occupation in the industry

The CTA alleges that the test will prohibit the traditional owner-operator model the trucking industry has relied on. This, the CTA says, will bring economic hardship to not only truck drivers and trucking companies but the businesses they work with in trucking commodities, such as perishables, throughout the state.

The CTA is trying to address the long-term effects that the new bill would have on the industry and the individuals within it before the January 1 effective date. AB 5’s complete overturn of the trucking industry requires more time and planning from trucking companies to raise the capital to hire drivers and purchase trucks and tools, not to mention take care of benefits and truck insurance.

Right now, the plan is to move forward with ABC testing and classification in a state that relies heavily on independent contractors. The reality is that hundreds of thousands of independent contractors in the state will turn into employees overnight under the bill. Beyond trucking professionals, everyone from dancers to writers to bartenders will be impacted in some way.

About Western Truck Insurance Services

Western Truck Insurance Services is a commercial truck insurance agency with roots dating back to 1954. We have evolved into a highly respected, professionally managed, truck and transportation insurance brokerage. The hallmark of our organization is our desire to provide unparalleled service. We go way beyond what you expect to receive from an insurance brokerage. Equipped with state of the art automation, Western Truck Insurance can provide you with lightning fast truck insurance quotes, customer service, Insurance certificates, and coverage changes.

Federal Independent Contractor Model Up for Further Debate in Congress

With the air of the recently passed AB5 hanging over California like a smog, and with executives from ride-sharing tech giants Uber and Lyft failing to appear at a Congressional hearing over lax safety oversight, lawmakers are turning their focus to independent contractor classification in the country.

Debates in Congress have been spurred on by regulations out west in California where legislation was passed by the State Assembly in May and the state Senate in September, outlining a way to determine the work status of independent contractors, such as truck drivers or ride-sharing drivers.

The hearing, which was overseen by the Highways and Transit subcommittee of the House Transportation and Infrastructure (T&I) Committee in October, honed in on the need for driver background checks for transportation network companies. This has all happened in the wake of homicides and assaults committed by people posing as ride-sharing drivers.

“It’s hard to imagine that Uber and Lyft didn’t actually show up here today – it’s really disrespectful to the committee and a bad play on their part,” said Thomas Suozzi (D-New York).

The Democrat from New York and his Republican colleague from New Jersey, Chris Smith, threw their support of laws requiring enhanced vehicle identification to make it more difficult to impersonate an actual ride-sharing driver.

Beyond addressing public safety issues surrounding independent contractors, whether in ride-sharing or trucking, Congressional members also debated the topic of worker classification, a big issue coming out of California, as mentioned above. The law will go into effect on January 1, 2020, and will lower the threshold in California for classifying a worker as an employee. This is projected to have major cost implications for everyone from ride-sharing companies to freight companies who hire truck drivers on a daily basis.

Certain Congressional members have shown support for the AB5 legislation, detailing its goal of identifying the difference between independent and permanent employees. This will surely have freight companies rethink the way they hire employees and classify them in their truck insurance options. This issue is gaining attention for its effects on Uber and Lyft in a state where ride-sharing arguably got its start or at least its growth.

The debate around whether or not to elevate stricter tests on independent contractor status outside of California, using the state as a jumping-off point, was also brought up with Republicans on the Hill shooting it down and Democrats wanting to push it along.

“I don’t necessarily think that this committee should blindly follow the state of California,” said Pete Stauber (R-Minnesota). My state is much different than the state of California. It’s much more rural, and I think we have to have a broader look at this issue the transportation network companies, and how we can serve not only urban but rural communities.”

About Western Truck Insurance Services

Western Truck Insurance Services is a commercial truck insurance agency with roots dating back to 1954. We have evolved into a highly respected, professionally managed, truck and transportation insurance brokerage. The hallmark of our organization is our desire to provide unparalleled service. We go way beyond what you expect to receive from an insurance brokerage. Equipped with state of the art automation, Western Truck Insurance can provide you with lightning fast truck insurance quotes, customer service, Insurance certificates, and coverage changes.

California Courts Declare Dynamex Ruling Applies Retroactively

In California, the state’s Court of Appeal came to the conclusion that the state’s Supreme Court Dynamex decision was to be applied retroactively. The original case from earlier in the year spun off into legislation known as the AB5 bill, which limits the use of classifying workers as independent contractors rather than employees by companies in the state. For those in the trucking and freight industry, it has been anything but well-received as protests have even been planned out in response to the legislation.

The fallout from the Court of Appeal’s decision outlines that employers who rely on independent contractors may now be subject to potential liability claims for wage and hour disputes based on a legal standard that did not exist before April 2018.

For Dynamex, the California Supreme Court brought on a new test to determine whether a worker is considered an employee or an independent contractor. The new test added two new requirements that an employer must meet to establish the worker is, in fact, an independent contractor. To no surprise, employers are arguing that the new standard should only be applied moving forward.

Regardless of how it’s applied, the legislation is causing confusion around how employers should provide or pursue getting commercial truck insurance. Commercial truck insurance has policy limits that apply to specified workers, and having different or fluid classifications is hard to grasp.

In another case in the state, Gonzales v. San Gabriel Transit, Inc., a transportation driver brought a class-action suit on behalf of himself and other freight drivers, expressing that they were misclassified as independent contractors rather than full-on employees. The issue on appeal zeroed-in on whether or not the claim was suitable for class action certification. And while the transit company in question didn’t bring up the issue on appeal, the Court of Appeal initially considered if the Dynamex rule applied retroactively.

In this case, the court concluded that the Dynamex decision indeed applied retroactively based on the fact that it did not establish a new standard. Employers now have potential risk exposure that goes back years now following the decision (the limit is four years as this is the maximum statute of limitations for wage and hour claims).

Now, trucking companies and professionals in the industry are looking to January 1, 2020, the date that the AB-5 bill, spun out from the Dynamex court decision, will take effect. The bill expands on Dynamex, applying the test to all claims coming out of the Labor Code of California. The difference being that the Dynamex decision has been seen as only applying to claims coming from California Wage Orders.

About Western Truck Insurance Services

Western Truck Insurance Services is a commercial truck insurance agency with roots dating back to 1954. We have evolved into a highly respected, professionally managed, truck and transportation insurance brokerage. The hallmark of our organization is our desire to provide unparalleled service. We go way beyond what you expect to receive from an insurance brokerage. Equipped with state of the art automation, Western Truck Insurance can provide you with lightning fast truck insurance quotes, customer service, Insurance certificates, and coverage changes.

Recent Bills Create Trouble for California Truckers

California Governor Gavin Newsom has been busy this year with deploying new state government bills surrounding truckers and other contract workers in the state. This fall, Newsom signed three bills into law that add more to the state’s hold on the trucking industry, adding more regulatory costs and compliance burdens on companies of all sizes, and possibly causing smaller companies to have to shudder.

Senate Bill 210, for example, creates a new emissions inspection program for commercial trucks. The law requires that a new Heavy Duty Vehicle Inspection and Maintenance Program for trucks and other heavy vehicles be implemented by the California Air Resources Board (CARB). CARB will also move forward with creating licensing standards for the inspection and repair shops throughout the state and oversee a new compliance certificate that truck drivers will have to keep with them in the vehicle. Additional fees will be put forth toward the new Truck Emissions Check Fund.

Clearing the Air

California air regulators have already put in motion that the trucking industry makes more efforts to be more energy-efficient and boast cleaner engines, cutting down on the smog. The Statewide Truck and Bus Rule set back in 2008 requires all heavy-duty trucks have new or retrofitted engines in order to operate on California roads. This major expense didn’t get a lot of legislative support, which is why the revised SB 210 bill was put in place to acknowledge the investments made by the trucking industry as a whole to upgrade the fleets on the road.

Trucking companies may now have to buy new equipment under another new bill, SB 44. The bill directs CARB to update its 2016 mobile source strategy to include a “comprehensive strategy for the deployment of medium-duty and heavy-duty vehicles.” The California senate wrote out an analysis of the bill, stating that CARB will be making its own new regulations to uphold and support more commercialization efforts of medium- and heavy-duty trucks that help to reduce greenhouse gases. A goal that has been speculated is that this will prompt manufacturers to produce more electric or hydrogen-based trucks.

Jeopardy on the Road

The bill that’s been getting the majority of the attention in the industry, however, is the recently passed AB 5, which will essentially end the practice of truckers working as independent contractors. Trucking firms will now have to hire drivers as employees instead of contract workers, making them responsible for everything from payroll taxes to workers’ compensation insurance, commercial truck insurance, and paid sick days, among other regular job perks.

Smaller companies are already starting to see the squeeze the bill is having on the industry, with some having to close up shop or lay off the majority of their drivers due to the new fees. The cost of trucking is built into the price of everything that is trucked throughout the state.

About Western Truck Insurance Services

Western Truck Insurance Services is a commercial truck insurance agency with roots dating back to 1954. We have evolved into a highly respected, professionally managed, truck and transportation insurance brokerage. The hallmark of our organization is our desire to provide unparalleled service. We go way beyond what you expect to receive from an insurance brokerage. Equipped with state of the art automation, Western Truck Insurance can provide you with lightning fast truck insurance quotes, customer service, Insurance certificates, and coverage changes.

AB-5 Signed Into Law: What That Means for Truck Drivers

This past September, California Governor Gavin Newsom signed into law new legislation focused on making things a little more difficult for independent owner-operators, such as truck drivers and gig economy workers, possibly even putting them out of business.

The AB-5 legislation originally passed the California State Assembly back in May and was passed by the state Senate on September 10. What it does is move last year’s Dynamex California Supreme Court decision into law, which established an ABC test to determine the status of an independent contractor that could essentially eliminate the owner-operator model in California, and disrupting everything from investing in commercial truck insurance, such as general liability insurance, and the sharing economy.

Taking effect starting January 1, 2020, those in the trucking industry could find themselves in the crosshairs. So, what does this all mean for trucking professionals?

Trucking Companies and Professionals in AB-5

While there is little proof that trucking professionals and companies have abused the independent contractor model in the state, AB-5 is still in place to essentially paint with a broad brush in banning the use of independent contractors rather than deal with individual abuses.

The state’s trucking industry has been trying to work with legislators to find exceptions for legitimate independent contractors who follow the rules. Many workers are exempted from this ruling, like doctors, dentists, and engineers, but not trucking or gig economy workers, like those working for Lyft or Uber.

The new bill does not necessarily distinguish between a driver who’s an independent contractor under a truck lease-program and someone who owns their own truck. Those opposed to the ruling argue that this essentially destroys the independent contractor model for trucking.

In California, there are more than small 136,000 trucking companies that are locally owned with small fleets and independent drivers who take care of their operations. This means that motor carriers and owner-operators are left in the lurch trying to figure out a strategy for what they can do now.

California is currently experiencing a truck driver shortage, much like the rest of the nation, but maybe even more so, since the state is highly dependent on the flow of goods coming from Mexico or Arizona. The new measure may aggravate the issue at hand by removing thousands of drivers from the road because of de-classifying them.

Currently, there are lawsuits that have been filed to fight the issue and look for ways to exempt these companies and their drivers from the classification. Additionally, companies like Uber, Lyft, and DoorDash, all dependent upon independent contractors, have invested in a collective of $90 million to bring this issue to the ballot during the next voting season.

About Western Truck Insurance Services

Western Truck Insurance Services is a commercial truck insurance agency with roots dating back to 1954. We have evolved into a highly respected, professionally managed, truck and transportation insurance brokerage. The hallmark of our organization is our desire to provide unparalleled service. We go way beyond what you expect to receive from an insurance brokerage. Equipped with state of the art automation, Western Truck Insurance can provide you with lightning fast truck insurance quotes, customer service, Insurance certificates, and coverage changes.

FMCSA Proposes New Rule to Increase Service Hours Flexibility for Drivers

In August, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) published a long-awaited proposal for changes to hours of service rules that would help add more flexibility for truck drivers on the road.

These hours of service rules, first adopted in 1937, specify the permitted operating hours of commercial truck drivers and have gone through multiple revisions. The newer mandate requiring electronic logging of hours that took effect in December 2017 featured some of the shortcomings in how these rules are applied in the everyday driving habits of truckers.

The FMCSA, through an advanced notice period of proposed rulemaking, asked for comments from the public on how to help add flexibility in realistic ways to the industry. Based on those responses, the regulatory body came up with a new rule to increase service hours flexibility.

What to Know

The FMCSA came up with five components to the rule change, helping to keep safety in the spotlight. Trucking companies can face claims from truck drivers if they feel overworked, leading to accidents or injuries on the road. Commercial trucking companies can take out commercial truck insurance plans to make sure they are covered in the event of a professional claim, especially with something like workers’ compensation insurance.

And while protecting against claims is a must for trucking companies, it’s good to know what changes were made to the hours of service. They include the following:

  • Changing the 30-minute break requirement to require a break after eight hours of uninterrupted driving time, not on-duty time, and allowing the break to be satisfied by a driver using on-duty/not driving status, rather than off-duty status. If a driver has to take a break to add fuel to their truck or use the restroom or grab a quick bite, that can count as their required break.
  • Allow drivers to split their required 10 hours off-duty into two period. This can include one period of at least seven consecutive hours in the sleeper berth and the other period of not less than two consecutive hours, either off-duty or in the sleeper berth. This would allow for a 7/3 or 8/2 split. Neither period would count against the driver’s 14-hour driving window.
  • Allow one off-duty break of at least 30 minutes, but no more than three hours, that would pause a truck driver’s 14-hour on-duty window, provided the driver takes 10 consecutive hours off-duty at the end of the work shift. This would alot drivers to take up to a three-hour break to bypass rush hour, without affecting their on-duty time.
  • Modify the adverse driving conditions exception, adding two hours to the maximum window during which driving is allowed. The current rule allows for that extra time but it still has to be within the maximum 14-hour workday. The proposal would allow that workday to be lengthened to as much as 16 hours in instances where things like extreme weather or major traffic congestion become a factor.
  • Change the short-haul exception available to certain commercial drivers by extending the drivers’ maximum on-duty period from 12 to 14 hours and lengthening the distance limit within which the driver may operate the wheel from 100 air miles to 150 air miles.

The FMCSA expressed, through a press release, that the proposed rule wouldn’t increase driving time and instead would continue to prevent trucking professionals from driving more than eight consecutive hours without at least a 30-minute change in duty status. What’s more, the FMCSA says the proposed changes are estimated to provide $274 million in savings for the economy in the United States as well as American consumers.

About Western Truck Insurance Services

Western Truck Insurance Services is a commercial truck insurance agency with roots dating back to 1954. We have evolved into a highly respected, professionally managed, truck and transportation insurance brokerage. The hallmark of our organization is our desire to provide unparalleled service. We go way beyond what you expect to receive from an insurance brokerage. Equipped with state of the art automation, Western Truck Insurance can provide you with lightning fast truck insurance quotes, customer service, Insurance certificates, and coverage changes.

Compliance Requirements for California Vehicles

In recent years, California has seen a number of regulations change or be created in order to cut down on emissions, greenhouse gases, and traffic while boosting alternative fuels, for example. One industry affected by new rules and regulations is the freight industry, or trucking, which plays a huge role in the state’s economy.

Last year, California saw record-setting levels of freight-hauling demand and driver pay as trucking levels reached a 20-year high. From produce to animals to tech commodities, California sees high numbers of trucking freight hit the roads. But State regulations of trucking and bus operations are finding numerous ways to hit the trucking industry.

Here is a better look at how compliance requirements in California are affecting the freight and transportation industries.

Vehicles Affected by Regulations

The Truck and Bus regulation affects individuals, private companies, and Federal agencies that own and operate diesel vehicles that weigh in at more than 14,000 pounds. But it also extends out to publicly and privately owned school buses, even though their compliance requirements differ. Local and state government vehicles aren’t affected by the regulations because they are already subject to other regulations.

Heavier Trucks and Buses

Heavier trucks and buses on the road that weigh more than 26,000 pounds must comply with a set schedule by engine model year or owners can report to show compliance with more options. Engines made any time after 1996 should have an OEM or retrofit PM filter installed as vehicles made prior to 1996 should have already been replaced by January 1, 2015. The goal from the state is to have all trucks and buses driving with 2010 model engines by January 1, 2023.

PM Filters

Some trucking companies and individual owners have sought more information on PM filter installations. These are the filters that reduce particulate matter and cut down on smog and pollution. Owners who did not install PM filters before January 1, 2014, and do not use flexibility options are required to replace existing trucks according to their model year schedule.

Getting hit with fines can be costly and sideline a trucking company’s business altogether; especially smaller companies that can’t afford to have their trucks sit while they work on getting compliant, which is also a costly endeavor. While not all claims can be held off, there are options to keep fines low and representation costs minimized. Through comprehensive truck insurance, trucking companies can limit their exposures and make sure the increased values of their equipment are properly protected.

What About Lighter Trucks?

Lighter trucks and buses that fit right in the middle of that 14,000-26,000-pound window already had engine replacement requirements set on January 1, 2015. Lighter vehicles with engines that are more than 20 years old need to be replaced with newer trucks or engines, and beginning January 1 of next year, all remaining vehicles who have yet to take this step need to have 2010 engines or newer.

About Western Truck Insurance Services

Western Truck Insurance Services is a commercial truck insurance agency with roots dating back to 1954. We have evolved into a highly respected, professionally managed, truck and transportation insurance brokerage. The hallmark of our organization is our desire to provide unparalleled service. We go way beyond what you expect to receive from an insurance brokerage. Equipped with state of the art automation, Western Truck Insurance can provide you with lightning fast truck insurance quotes, customer service, Insurance certificates, and coverage changes.