Senators raise concern over cross-border vaccine mandate for truckers

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Trucking news and briefs for Wednesday, Dec. 15, 2021:

Senators voice concern over cross-border vax mandates for truckers

Fourteen U.S. Senators on Dec. 10 penned a letter to President Joe Biden asking the administration to work with Canada to exempt truck drivers from cross-border COVID-19 vaccine mandates that are set to take effect in both countries in January.

The compliance date for American drivers entering Canada is January 15, 2022. The expected compliance date for Canadian drivers entering the U.S. is January 22, 2022, though that has not yet been formally announced. 

“In the coming weeks, both the U.S. and Canada intend to implement vaccination requirements on foreign truck drivers,” the Senators wrote. “Despite the good intentions underpinning this action, we fear that the imposition of vaccination mandates as a requirement to cross the land border will exacerbate the existing challenges facing our freight networks and supply chain, and could further fuel inflation and rising prices on top of what Americans are already seeing. Our nation’s truck drivers worked diligently during the pandemic to facilitate critical cross-border freight movements that helped to feed and clothe American communities. Now, implementing these policies could cost them their jobs.”

The Senators noted that while both countries intend to enact the mandate on foreign truck drivers, “neither country has imposed such a requirement on solo truck drivers who operate domestically.”

Because of truck drivers’ “essential” status as classified in March 2020 by the Department of Homeland Security’s Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency, the Senators urged the Biden Administration to “reengage our northern neighbor and leading export partner to establish a reciprocal policy for cross-border truck drivers that does not include a vaccine mandate and will not disrupt the North American supply chain.”

Senators who signed the letter include: Sen. Steve Daines (R-Montana); Kevin Cramer (R-North Dakota); James Risch (R-Idaho); Mike Crapo (R-Idaho); John Hoeven (R-North Dakota); Roger Marshall (R-Kansas); John Thune (R-South Dakota); Mike Braun (R-Indiana); Cynthia Lummis (R-Wyoming); Pat Toomey (R-Pennsylvania); Roger Wicker (R-Mississippi); Marsha Blackburn (R-Tennessee); Susan Collins (R-Maine); and Jerry Moran (R-Kansas).

[Related: Watchers say vax mandate at Canada-U.S. border to cause supply chain 'horrors']

Schneider testing new in-vehicle alcohol detection system

Schneider (CCJ Top 250, No. 8) is the first truckload carrier to conduct a trial deployment of new technology developed through the Driver Alcohol Detection System for Safety (DADSS) Program.

Since 2018, the Driven to Protect Initiative, a public-private partnership between the Virginia DMV and the DADSS Program, has been helping to test in-vehicle alcohol detection technology that will determine if a driver is impaired with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) at or above the applicable legal limit in Virginia – and prevent the vehicle from moving.

In collaboration with the Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles and the Automotive Coalition for Traffic Safety (ACTS), Schneider will outfit eight of its cabs with the latest breath sensors in 2022, logging more than 100,000 sensor miles for each vehicle outfitted, for a collective total of almost one million miles.

This pilot will help refine the technology by increasing the stress that the system is put under on the road, exponentially increasing the number of miles driven and exposing the system to new drivers and a wider range of environmental conditions – all key to the DADSS Program’s goal to commercialize fully passive vehicle-integrated breath technology.

“Safety comes first at Schneider, always, and we believe in going above and beyond industry standards. We look forward to the opportunity to pilot groundbreaking safety technology developed to help save lives,” said Schneider Vice President of Safety, Driver Training and Compliance Tom DiSalvi. “We know our team of professional drivers will embrace this technology because, just as with previous safety enhancements, they will be part of a solution that will make our highways safer.”

UPS surpasses 1 billion COVID vaccines delivered

UPS (CCJ Top 250, No. 2) announced Tuesday it has surpassed the one billion COVID-19 vaccine doses delivered mark with near-perfect on-time delivery.

Just one year after the first vaccine was delivered by UPS, this milestone was made possible through UPS’s innovative approaches, one-of-a-kind UPS Premier tracking technologies, cold chain solutions, and an expansive, sophisticated, global network providing UPS Healthcare services to customers and communities around the world.

“UPSers have been essential in the fight against COVID-19, delivering equitable access to critical healthcare services,” said Kate Gutmann, Chief Sales and Solutions Officer and Executive Vice President, UPS Global Healthcare. “This milestone would not have been possible without every person in our global network working tirelessly, alongside our partners and customers, to accelerate vaccine distribution and help keep communities as safe as possible.”