Trucking news and briefs for Thursday, April 6, 2023:
FMCSA cracking down on HHG moving scams
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration on Tuesday announced the launch of Operation Protect Your Move, a nationwide crackdown on scam movers ahead of the busy summer moving season.
Through Operation Protect Your Move, FMCSA is deploying dozens of investigators across the country in an enforcement sweep to address the significant uptick in complaints of movers holding household possessions hostage to extort exorbitant additional charges from consumers.
It will also address complaints against moving companies and brokers that are not in compliance with federal safety and consumer protection regulations and statutes while transporting household goods. The operation covers both movers and the brokers that purport to connect consumers to local movers but instead facilitate fraud by promoting scams.
"Moving is stressful enough without having to worry about being scammed by your moving company, so we’re cracking down on moving companies that hold people’s possessions hostage, and the brokers who facilitate that fraud,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg. “If you’re planning a move, we encourage you to visit protectyourmove.gov for more information to help protect yourself from moving scammers.”
Frequent complaints have been filed with FMCSA alleging companies of using deceptive business practices that are causing consumers to pay higher fees, experience delays in receiving their household goods, or in some cases not receiving their possessions at all.
“FMCSA takes its responsibilities very seriously to help protect consumers when moving their household valuables from one state to another,” says FMCSA Administrator Robin Hutcheson. “Consumers should feel confident they can trust the company hired to transport their possessions.”
The agency will formally document violations and has the authority to review and revoke the licenses of movers and brokers. Cases involving potential criminal misconduct may be referred to the U.S. Department of Justice for further investigation. Additionally, FMCSA will work directly with consumers to guide them through the process and help get their money and goods back.
The operation is the first of many efforts planned over the next several months to address non-compliant household goods moving companies and brokers. In addition to ramped up investigations, FMCSA is taking several actions to crack down on mover scams, including doubling the number of investigators assigned to moving complaints and enhancing partnerships with consumer protection and attorney general offices across the country.
FedEx consolidating operating companies
This phased transition, with full implementation expected in June 2024, will bring FedEx Express, FedEx Ground, FedEx Services and other FedEx operating companies into Federal Express Corporation, becoming a single company operating a unified, fully integrated air-ground network under the FedEx brand. FedEx Freight will continue to provide less-than-truckload services as a stand-alone company under Federal Express Corporation. Raj Subramaniam will serve as President and CEO of the combined organization.
“Over the last 50 years, we built networks that have created a differentiated and unmatched portfolio of services,” said Subramaniam. “This organizational evolution reflects how we represent ourselves in the marketplace – focused on flexibility, efficiency, and intelligence. As one FedEx team, we are well positioned to execute on our mission to help customers compete and win with the world’s smartest logistics network.”
To aid in a smooth transition, effective April 16, 2023, John A. Smith will become President and CEO of U.S. and Canada Ground Operations at FedEx Express and assume leadership of surface operations across the FedEx Express, FedEx Ground, and FedEx Freight businesses.
ATRI seeks driver feedback on impacts of marijuana legalization
The American Transportation Research Institute on Monday launched a truck operator survey to better understand the impacts of state laws legalizing marijuana when it comes to the trucking industry and its workforce.
ATRI first deployed this survey in-person at the Mid-America Trucking Show in Louisville, Kentucky, last week, where more than 300 drivers completed it. ATRI has now placed the survey online for additional feedback.
ATRI’s marijuana impacts research was designated a top priority of its Research Advisory Committee in 2022. The topic was identified as critical because of the conflict and uncertainty between new state laws legalizing marijuana and long-standing federal law, especially for those that are part of a federally-regulated workforce such as trucking.
The survey asks for driver perspectives and knowledge related to new state laws, as well as the impact of these laws on roadway safety and the workforce.
“Driver input is a critical component of ATRI’s research, and this newest survey is no exception,” said ATRI President Rebecca Brewster. “We hope that professional drivers will take a few minutes to provide their perspectives on this critical topic.”
Truck drivers can complete the confidential survey online here through April 28.
New truck parts store opening in Indiana later this month
Palmer Trucks, a third-generation, family-owned Kenworth truck dealer network based in Indianapolis, will celebrate on Friday, April 14, the grand opening of an all-makes TRP parts store and commercial truck service shop in Fort Wayne, Indiana.
TRP of Fort Wayne will serve the local transportation industry by providing a full line of aftermarket parts for trucks, trailers and buses, in addition to truck diagnostics and repair for transient traffic from Interstate 69 south of Fort Wayne.
TRP of Fort Wayne will be located north of Lower Huntington Road at 7006 Ardmore Ave., Fort Wayne, IN 46809 and open from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. on weekdays.