LMTA
...the Voice of the Trucking Industry Since 1939. Sunday 19, Nov 2017   


LEGISLATIVE ISSUES…

One of the most important functions of the LMTA is representing the trucking industry in local, state and federal government affairs.

During each and every legislative session, we have a full time lobbyist, a part-time lobbyist and additional contract lobbyists as needed to protect and defend the trucking industry at the state capitol in Baton Rouge.  

We meet regularly with the various state agencies to discuss issues critical to truck operations:  truck registration fees, fuel taxes, sales taxes, size and weight permits, truck access, homeland security, CDL, hazardous materials, motor carrier safety regulations, emergency response, etc. 

We also work very closely with the American Trucking Associations (ATA) on regulatory and congressional issues that arise in Washington, D.C.

Truck Issues

With the imposition of term limits in Louisiana, many of the new members of the Legislature have limited knowledge of the trucking industry since they have not yet had an opportunity to hear us testify on various trucking issues or on specific pieces of legislation.  As a result, we often testify on the same issues year after year. Here are a few of those issues:

Anti-indemnification. Passed in 2010, LMTA-requested legislation (Act 492) prohibited the transfer of liability through indemnification clauses in transportation and construction contracts.

Since its passage, there have been several attempts to repeal the Act and a lawsuit is pending alleging, among other things, that the law is unconstitutional.

The opposition maintains that the law interferes with their right to contract. We maintain that they use contracts to circumvent tort reform passed in the 1990s and pass on their liability to others. 

This is not a level playing field.  Large, multinational conglomerates are taking advantage of small, locally-owned, and in some cases, emerging businesses.

Some have referred to this situation as “economic extortion” – either sign the contract or lose business.

LMTA’s Indemnification Policy: 

1)     No one should be responsible for someone else’s negligence and

2)     No one should be forced purchase insurance to cover someone else’s liability. 

Protection of the anti-indemnification law is our number one priority!

Truck Lane Restrictions.  LMTA has successfully lobbied against imposing truck lane restrictions around the state because research suggests that it might prove to increase accidents rather than prevent accidents. The trucking industry is quite proud of our ever-improving safety record and we would not support any traffic management initiative that could reverse that trend.

Speed Differentials. LMTA has also successfully lobbied against imposing a different speed limit for trucks than for automobiles.  Research suggests that the belief that lower heavy vehicle speeds will reduce accident rates is widespread but not proven. And that fundamental traffic engineering principles suggest that accident rates increase as the variance of vehicle speeds on a roadway increase.

Truck Weight Limits. There has been a national effort to increase the weight of trucks on the highway. Although promoted under the guise of “productivity”, this effort is heavily supported by shippers, their allied associations and several large motor carriers who stand to benefit from the increased weight. LMTA opposes increasing the legal weight limit on the Interstate highways because:

1)    In order to remain viable in an increasingly competitive marketplace, smaller carriers would have to incur the cost of upgrading their equipment while not getting paid for the additional tonnage of freight.

2)    The additional weight decreases the fuel efficiency and increases the wear and tear on equipment – especially on smaller carriers who cannot afford to replace older equipment. Even if states are given the option to adopt higher weight limits, if some states were given the option to decide their own limits, the pressure to provide a consistent weight threshold for the country could cause bordering states to be compelled to consent to higher weight limits.

3)    Agricultural and forestry interests want increased weight because they already pay a much reduced truck registration fee.

4)    Allowing increased truck weight would thrust the trucking industry into an already contentious battle with the railroads.

5)    The public may perceive heavier trucks as unsafe and more intimidating — subjecting the trucking industry to harsh criticism and creating a negative public image.

6)    The trucking industry is incredibly diverse.  While higher truck weight on the Interstate might benefit one carrier, it might be detrimental to another yet both are considered motor carriers for regulatory purposes.

Truck Registration Fees.  There are currently 6 classes of trucks in the Louisiana truck registration fee schedule. For a typical 80,000 lb. truck, For-Hire and Private Carriers pay $504 per year while a Farm Truck pays only $40 per year.

We have repeatedly testified over the years that there should be one truck registration class that is based on the weight of the truck – especially since there is absolutely no enforcement of the registration fee schedule at this time. 

LMTA supports creating a fair and equitable highway funding program. 

Motor Carrier Safety Regulations.  The Louisiana State Police are identified by law as the primary enforcement agency for motor carrier safety in Louisiana.  We fully support he fair and equitable enforcement of the motor carrier safety regulations for improving highway safety but not if it is used as a “for profit” program to generate revenue for the state.

Independent Contractors.  Because the trucking industry is subject to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations, they are often considered in conflict with the employee classification laws because they are forced to control truck drivers to ensure that they operate safely.  Louisiana law specifically defines “owner-operator” for trucking’s purposes and recognizes the unique nature of the relationship between a motor carrier and an owner-operator.

 
Louisiana Motor Transport Association, Inc.
4838 Bennington Avenue | P.O. Box 80278 | Baton Rouge, LA 70898
Phone: 225-928-5682 | Fax: 225-928-0500