Missouri’s governor recently signed into law important changes which will provide for a more even playing field in personal injury actions in this state.  The changes affect actions filed on or after August 28, 2020.

Punitive Damages 

Several important changes were enacted to the relevant statute:

  • Standard of proof: “clear and convincing evidence”
  • No punitive damage award where only nominal damages are awarded
  • Evidentiary burden: evidence of intentional conduct or deliberate and flagrant disregard for the safety of others
  • Definition changed: punitive damages now only to punish “malicious conduct or conduct which intentionally caused damage to the plaintiff” or “deliberate and flagrant disregard for the safety of others.” 
  • No longer includes “willful and wanton” conduct or conduct showing “complete indifference or conscious disregard for the safety of others.”

The new version of the statute also significantly raises the bar for punitive damages against an employer:

  • Plaintiff must plead and prove that employer/supervisor authorized the wrongful conduct, employer was reckless in employing an unfit agent, or employee was a manager acting in course and scope of employment
  • If employer admits liability for actions of an employee in a claim for compensatory damages, discovery is limited to employment records or documents related to the employee’s qualifications

The revised statute also imposes procedural hurdles which will limit the plaintiff’s ability to utilize a punitive damage claim for unwarranted discovery purposes:

  • No punitive damage claim allowed in the initial petition
  • Plaintiff must seek leave to amend to add punitive damages claim at least 120 days before the pre-trial conference
  • Plaintiff’s request must be supported by affidavits or other documentation which shows that reasonable juror could find clear and convincing evidence that punitive damages were justified; defense can respond with documentation defeating plaintiff’s claim. Court must rule within 45 days.
  • No discovery on punitive damages until after court allows pleading to be amended

Roberts Perryman has been a leader in transportation defense for over 50 years with offices in St. Louis and Springfield, MO and Belleville, IL.

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2019 Trucking Leadership Symposium, June 12th 2019, Ballpark Village Busch Stadium June 12, 2019

Roberts Perryman PC will be hosting the 2019 Trucking Leadership Symposium at the Busch Stadium Ballpark Village on June 12, 2019.

*Breakfast starts at 8am

*Opening remarks at 8:45am

*Lunch from noon until 1:15pm

*Presentations – see topics below

*Symposium concludes at 5pm, with a reception immediately following

This year motor carriers have NO REGISTRATION FEE; as a thank you to the trucking industry for all the hard work they do. Vendor fee for registration is $300 per attendee with a discount on 2 or more.

Registration Link – online registration & vendor payment

Hotel Block Link – Hilton Ballpark Village

Vendor Sponsorships – we have a limited amount of exclusive sponsorships still available. Contact Jennifer Mason for details.

Free parking for all attendees in the Ballpark Village parking lot!


*ATRI Update

*Samba, formerly Vigillo, CSA Changes

*Legal Landscape of Trucking

*State of Trucking Address

*Insurance Professionals Panel

*Commercial Vehicle Enforcement Roundtable

*Trucking Association State Executives Updates

*Drive Cam Panel

We strongly encourage you to register early as we expect limited capacity this year with carriers having free registration.

Please feel free to contact Jennifer Mason,, with questions. More details to follow soon!

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Police Must Have Warrant to Download ECM

We often get questions concerning the right of investigating police officers to download data from a tractor-trailer after an accident. One of the first questions posed to a driver following a crash is whether the police can download the ECM. More often than not, the driver and trucking company consent to the download and the data is routinely gathered by law enforcement.

In a recent Missouri case, a truck driver took the Missouri Highway Patrol to task on whether it was legal to download the ECM without his consent. Anthony West was operating a tractor-trailer owned by his employer when he collided with a pick-up truck resulting in the death of the pick-up driver on I-70 near Columbia, MO. West was charged with one count of involuntary manslaughter. While there was some dispute as to whether West consented to the download of the ECM, the Highway Patrol obtained the data without a warrant and planned to offer it into evidence against West on the criminal charges. West filed a Motion to Suppress. The trial court ruled in favor of West and held that the download by the Highway Patrol constituted an unlawful search and seizure. The State of Missouri appealed.

The Appellate Court held that the Missouri Highway Patrol’s download of the ECM violated the 4th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution and constituted an unlawful search and seizure. What is interesting to those of us who defend trucking companies and drivers is the reasoning of the Court in finding that the download was illegal.

The truck driver argued that he had a reasonable expectation of privacy in the data and as a result, the police officer had to obtain a search warrant. The Court refused to take up the issue of whether the driver, who did not own the truck (it was owned by his employer), had an expectation of privacy in the recorded data. However, the Court held that West was a lawful possessor of the truck and that the Highway Patrol in accessing the ECM data without the driver’s consent “constituted an actionable trespass on West’s possessory interest in the vehicle” with an attempt to find something or to obtain information. As a result, West had standing to suppress the data from the download.

The Court went on to hold that West’s lack of knowledge about the ECM, the data it collected or even his inability to access the data was of no consequence. The police officer’s “physical intrusion into and occupation of the tractor cab” to connect to the nine-pin connector was a violation of the truck driver’s 4th Amendment rights. State of Missouri v. West, 2018 WL 1797993 (MO Court of Appeals WD, April 17, 2018).

If a driver does not consent and law enforcement downloads the ECM without a warrant, it may be an unlawful search and seizure unless some other exception is applicable. However, if the driver consents to the download, it can and will be used against him even though there is no warrant. When involved in a catastrophic accident and there is a chance of criminal charges being filed, think twice before consenting to law enforcement downloading the ECM. It is better to be safe than sorry, seek the advice of an experienced trucking attorney.

Ted Perryman is perhaps best known for his role as a leading advocate and defense attorney for the trucking industry. Ted was named The Best Lawyers in America 2017 “Lawyer of the Year” for Insurance Litigation in St. Louis, Missouri.

TLP 2012 Color     tlp loty

Ted was interviewed by Fleet Owner Magazine regarding his decision to have the attorneys get their CDL’s. To read the full article click the following, Law Firm Gets CDLs to Better Represent Carriers, Drivers.

Hear Ted talk trucking May 1, 2018 on Freewheelin’ with Meredith Ochs & Chris T
Sirius XM Road Dog Trucking channel 146
Weekdays 10am-1pm (Replays weeknights 7-10pm CT, Saturdays noon-3pm CT)

Roberts Perryman has been a leader in transportation defense for over 50 years with offices in St. Louis and Springfield, MO and Belleville, IL.

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The ELD Mandate’s Grandfather Clause Allows Existing AOBRD’s To Be In Compliance Until December 2019

As of December 18, 2017, motor carriers are required to comply with the Electronic Logging Device (ELD) Rule which mandates the use of ELD’s in trucks. This rule is intended to create safer work environments for drivers and make it easier to accurately track a driver’s records of duty status by automatically recording their driving time. But, the transition to ELD’s can be costly and overwhelming for drivers and trucking companies. And some vehicles may not have to fully transition to an ELD until December 16, 2019.

The “grandfather” clause in the ELD Mandate states that a motor carrier that installs and requires a driver to use an “automatic on-board recording device” (AOBRD) in accordance with § 395.15 before December 18, 2017 may continue to use the compliant AOBRD until December 16, 2019. An AOBRD is any device that complies with the PRE-ELD regulation and is not required to be registered on the FMCSA ELD website.
We are currently in the transition period where fleets can use the grandfathered AOBRD devices. But how do trucking companies and drivers know if they have until December 2019 before switching to ELDs? And is it smart to make the switch to ELD now or wait?

To know whether vehicles in a fleet can use the grandfather clause you need to know the following: (1) The size of the fleet on December 18, 2017, and (2) whether that fleet has increased since December 18, 2017. Below are some common scenarios companies and drivers may encounter.

• If you add a vehicle to your fleet and as a result the fleet size increased since December 18, 2017, those new vehicles need an ELD installed.
• If a new vehicle is replacing an old vehicle that had a AOBRD installed, and the fleet size is remaining the same, the existing AOBRD can be used.
• If an AOBRD breaks and it is under warranty, you can replace with another AOBRD.
• If an owner-operator leaves and a new owner-operator is contracted, the truck can still have the AOBRD if the fleet size has not increased.
• If you are an owner-operator and you have an AOBRD installed, you can keep using it even if the carrier has ELD’s. But, the carrier may require you to use an ELD.
• If the fleet has downsized after December 18, 2017, the AOBRD’s can be reused if the fleet size does not grow beyond the size it was on December 18, 2017. If you start to increase the fleet, you need to install ELD’s in the new trucks that are added.
• The ELD designation is vehicle specific, so a fleet can have a mixture of AOBRD’s and ELD’s in the trucks.

If a fleet has until December 2019 to fully transition into ELD’s, they need to determine whether to remain in an AOBRD platform for the two-year transition or transition now. Christopher Hilkemann, Vice President of Risk Management and Associate General Counsel at Crete Carrier Corporation/Shaffer Trucking, recognized the amount of anxiety in the industry, and to maintain the calm and train drivers on the devices, his fleets will wait and fully transition to ELD’s in December 2019. In the meantime, Hilkemann is using this two-year transition period to train drivers on the differences between the AOBRD and ELD, how the screen looks and how to navigate it. This will result in drivers that are more prepared for the full transition to the ELD when the time comes.

One important reminder for companies and drivers during this transition period is that DOT officers at inspections may not fully understand the difference between the ELD and the grandfathered AOBRD that is fully compliant but cannot transfer data to the officer the way an ELD can. Therefore, the drivers should make officers aware they are operating a compliant grandfathered unit to avoid a violation. To do so, Hilkemann recommends preparing a “cab card” that the driver can show the officer at the inspection that states the vehicle is equipped with an AOBRD device and is in full compliance with the ELD Mandate until December 16, 2019.

Come December 16, 2019, everyone must have an ELD under the Mandate, even the grandfathered AOBRD’s. So, the more training and information drivers have beforehand, the more confident they will be and the smoother the transition will be overall.

For more information on the grandfather clause, visit the FMCSA website,

Anna Beck is an associate attorney at Roberts Perryman. Anna’s practice focuses on transportation, insurance coverage and defense.

Anna Newell

Roberts Perryman has been a leader in transportation defense for over 50 years with offices in St. Louis and Springfield, MO and Belleville, IL.

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FMCSA Proposes Changes to the Use of Commercial Motor Vehicles as Personal Conveyance

December 27, 2017

With the implementation of mandated ELDs, the FMCSA has proposed removing the “unladen” requirement for personal conveyance. The reason for the proposed change is the inadvertent effect on drivers of single-unit, or straight trucks, not being able to utilize personal conveyance because the trailer cannot be detached.

Under the current FMCSA guidelines, a driver may use his or her CMV for personal conveyance when (1) he has been relieved from all responsibility for performing work; (2) he only needs to travel a short distance and (3) is not laden with freight. Clearly this works for combination vehicles where the trailer can be readily detached but fails to address those drivers who are unable to leave their loads.

The new guidance focuses on the reason the driver is operating a CMV while off duty and discards the “laden” and “short distance” requirements. The proposed guidance states:

A driver may record time operating a CMV for personal conveyance (i.e., for personal use or reasons) as off-duty only when the driver is relieved from work and all responsibility for performing work.

(a) Examples of appropriate uses of a CMV while off-duty for personal conveyance include, but not limited to:

1. Time spent traveling from a driver’s en route lodging (such as a motel or truck stop) to restaurants and entertainment facilities and back to the lodging.

2. Commuting from the last location where on-duty activity occurred to the driver’s permanent residence and back to the last on-duty location. This would include commuting between the driver’s terminal and his or her residence, between trailer-drop lots and the driver’s residence, and between work sites and his or her residence.

(b) Examples of use of a CMV that would not qualify as personal conveyance include, but are not limited to, the following:

1. The movement of a CMV to enhance the operational readiness of a motor carrier. For example, moving the CMV closer to its next loading or unloading point or other motor carrier-scheduled destination, regardless of other factors.
2. After delivering a towed unit, and the towing unit no longer meets the definition of a CMV, the driver returns to the point of origin under the direction of the motor carrier in order to pick up another towed unit.
3. Continuation of a CMV trip in interstate commerce, even after the vehicle is unloaded. In this scenario, on-duty time does not end until the driver reaches a location designated or authorized by the carrier for parking or storage of the CMV, such as a permanent residence, authorized lodging, or home terminal.
4. Bobtailing or operating with an empty trailer to retrieve another load.
5. Repositioning a CMV and or trailer at the direction of the motor carrier.

The CMV may be used for personal conveyance even if it is laden, since the load is not being transported for the commercial benefit of the carrier at that time.

The guidance as currently proposed gives discretion to drivers as to when to use their CMV as a “personal conveyance”. However, it is ultimately the motor carriers’ decision as to whether or not allow personal conveyance to be used by its employee drivers. Without set times or distances, there are opportunities to circumvent hours of service requirements, especially if a CMV operating as a personal conveyance can be laden. This can leave a carrier in a precarious position where it has reservations regarding whether a driver properly used a CMV when logged as personal conveyance as well as being subject to violations affecting CSA scores if the driver is found in violation of not using personal conveyance as intended. Though a carrier may propose edits to a driver’s logs, ultimately the driver has final say on ELD log submissions. This issue becomes even more complicated for carriers using owner-operators. Crossing the line of “control” by restricting a driver’s use of his vehicle can expose a carrier to the risk of being found misclassifying employees.

In a broader sense, allowing drivers to operate their CMVs as a personal conveyance while laden can cause potential legal and insurance quandaries should the driver be in an accident. For example, under the proposed guidance, the carrier is receiving no benefit from a driver operating a vehicle as a personal conveyance. However, it would be difficult for a carrier to argue that driver was not in the course and scope of his or her employment when the driver was laden with the carrier’s load. It is a tough pill to swallow from a motor carrier perspective to be held liable where the company had no control over the driver’s use of personal conveyance, yet they had allowed for personal conveyance to be used.

Though most drivers and companies will likely use the personal conveyance guidance as intended, the guidance is far from perfect and opens the door for a litany of other issues for carriers.

If you have any questions regarding personal conveyance please feel free to contact Roberts Perryman, P.C. We can help you to identify and implement strategies to avoid the pitfalls of personal conveyance.

Here is a link to the proposed guidance. Comments are due by January 18, 2018 and may be submitted through the Federal Docket Management System.

Brandon Howard is an associate at Roberts Perryman. Brandon’s practice is focused on Transportation Law & Litigation. Brandon is in the Springfield office.

Brandon Howard

For more information contact Jennifer Mason,, 314-421-1850

Roberts Perryman has been a leader in transportation defense for over 50 years with offices in St. Louis and Springfield, MO and Belleville, IL.


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Roberts Perryman Attorney Successfully Defends Client in Red Light Ticket Defense

As many truck drivers and motor carriers can attest driving through Hannibal, Missouri without getting a “red light ticket” has been a quite a feat. In Missouri, the battle has been mostly over ticketing a driver based on a vehicle license plate being snapped in a photo. In most cases, commercial motor vehicles are registered to the trucking company and not the individual driver. For municipalities like Hannibal, MO, it presents a challenge in issuing a traffic ticket if the driver cannot be identified. Although red light cameras have vanished from many areas of the state, this issue is still alive and well in Hannibal.

The visibility and timing of the light cycle at the notorious intersections in Hannibal makes it difficult for drivers to come to a stop in time. Unfortunately, truck drivers sometimes fall prey to this trap and the red light camera snaps a photo of the violation. The Hannibal Police Department sends the owner/president/CEO of the trucking company a threatening letter demanding the driver’s name be disclosed. If the trucking company refuses, the owner or President of the company will end up in court, charged with interfering with a police investigation. The fine for the interference violation is up to $400. The right light ticket is only half that amount, but the red light violation can end up on the safety record of the driver and the company. Most often, in light of the time, money and hassle to fight the red light ticket, the companies turn over the driver’s information, resulting in their driver being issued a citation.

In this situation, Frerichs Freight Lines decided to fight the Hannibal Police Department’s demand. Bill Frerichs teamed up with Steve Ahillen of our office and took on city hall.

Steve filed a Motion to Dismiss for lack of “personal jurisdiction”. It is a basic principle in a criminal case that some violation of the law must occur within the jurisdiction where the charges are filed. You cannot be charged with a crime in one jurisdiction for something you allegedly did in a different jurisdiction. Some criminal “activity” has to occur within the City of Hannibal. Bill lives and works in Illinois. On the date that Bill allegedly committed the offense, he was 150 miles from Hannibal. Therefore, the City lacked jurisdiction because anything that Bill did on that date could only have taken place in outside the City of Hannibal.

The City argued that Bill was being charged in his capacity as president of the trucking company. By doing business in Missouri, Frerichs Freight Lines had consented to jurisdiction in Missouri. Further, an officer of a corporation may be liable for the criminal offenses of a company. Therefore, the company’s refusal to provide the requested information about the identity of the driver was a violation of the ordinance and the City had jurisdiction over it.

Steve countered by successfully arguing that the prosecutor in Hannibal was misapplying the standard for criminal jurisdiction. There is no dispute that if you engage in some activity that violates the law while you are in a jurisdiction, you are subject to criminal penalties in that jurisdiction. The fact that a driver operating a company truck passed through Hannibal and allegedly violated the red light ordinance only gives the city jurisdiction over the driver, and only for the red light violation itself. It does not give the City of Hannibal jurisdiction over the president of the company for an entirely separate charge of “interference with an investigation”.

The Court agreed and dismissed all charges against Bill and Frerichs Freight Line. Over the past several years we have been asked by a number of out of state trucking clients on how to handle the dreaded Hannibal red light ticket and subsequent claim of obstruction of justice. We now have an answer thanks to Bill Frerichs and Steve Ahillen of Roberts Perryman who made a basic and timeless legal argument to win the day. We are confident that the City of Hannibal will not end this practice but we now have the law on our side.


Roberts Perryman has been a leader in transportation defense for over 50 years with offices in St. Louis and Springfield, MO and Belleville, IL.

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2017 Trucking Leadership Symposium, June 21th 2017, Ballpark Village Busch Stadium

June 21, 2017

Roberts Perryman PC will be hosting the 2017 Trucking Leadership Symposium at the Busch Stadium Ballpark Village on June 21, 2017.

  • Breakfast starts at 8am
  • Opening remarks at 8:45am
  • Lunch from noon until 1:15pm
  • Presentations – see below
  • Symposium concludes at 4pm, with a reception immediately following at Fox Sports Midwest Live! in the upper balcony.

This year carriers have NO REGISTRATION FEE; as a thank you to the trucking industry for all the hard work they do, no fee will be charged to carriers.

You can register by emailing include:

  • Name
  • Company & Title
  • Contact Info

Vendors can contact Jennifer Mason for details on the registration fee for non-carriers. Free parking for all in the BPV lot.

Don’t forget your business cards! At each break we will have a drawing and give away a set (2) of Cardinals Green Seats. These seats are 3 rows up from home plate in the Cardinals Club. All inclusive (food, alcohol, and indoor/outdoor service) and a parking pass by Paddy O’s.

The following are the presentations and trucking industry professionals who will be presenting them:

The Trucking Industry’s Top 10 – The Issues that Matter Most to Your Business , Rebecca Brewster, President and COO of the American Transportation Research Institute. Rebecca is always a popular presenter with her cutting edge research. Included in Rebecca’s presentation will be the latest Top 100 Bottleneck results. Not only are these helpful to truckers and their companies, these results are helping inform the 1 trillion infrastructure planning of our current Administration.

Big Data Drives Your Safety Culture… With or Without You -Steven Bryan, President of Vigillo. Steve is the technology guru of the trucking industry. He will be sharing cutting edge information regarding where the industry is heading. As Big Data continues to drive the expectations of safety culture in the trucking industry, understanding the impact and how it affects your business now, and the not-so-distant future, is essential.

Juror Attitudes Towards Truck Drivers and Trucking Companies – Ted Perryman, Chairman, Roberts Perryman PC, named The Best Lawyers in America © 2017 “Lawyer of the Year” for Insurance Litigation in St. Louis, Missouri. Through the use of a filmed focus group representing a typical jury, Ted explores the areas and issues most important when a jury is deciding the fate of a trucking case in the courtroom. Not quite a “spoiler”, but some very interesting findings are uncovered. Amongst these are how jurors feel about plaintiff attorneys advertising on TV and the doctors who work with plaintiff firms.

Trucking Industry Image; Trucking Moves America Forward – Elisabeth Barna, ATA COO & EVP Industry Affairs, and Kevin Burch, President Jet Express & ATA Chairman. The ‘Trucking Moves America Forward’ campaign is the leading image enhancing campaign within trucking. Hear the latest and greatest impacts and successes. Learn what will help your trucking company, as well as how you can help trucking.

Insurance Professionals Panel – Insurance for motor carriers is one of the top five costs to run a trucking company. These panelists will be talking about, and answering questions from the audience, on how to keep insurance costs down.

Risk Management Panel – Risk management within trucking operations is a critical function in managing costs. With the rise and abundance of data, both public and private, risk management has an ever-expanding role in trucking companies . The professionals on this panel will talk about best practices and what issues to keep a close eye on.

Trucking Association State Executives Updates – Tom Crawford, CEO & President of the Missouri Trucking Association, and Matt Hart, Executive Director of the Illinois Trucking Association, will be covering the latest developments in state and federal issues impacting trucking companies.

We strongly encourage you to register early as we expect limited capacity this year with carriers having free registration.

Please feel free to contact Jennifer Mason,, to reserve your spot, ask questions. More details to follow soon!, 314-421-1850

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FDA Issues Final Rule on Sanitary Transportation of Human and Animal Food

The Rule

On April 6, 2016, the FDA published its Final Rule on Sanitary Transportation of Human and Animal Food establishing transportation requirements to ensure the safety of both human and animal food. This rule results from long-time concerns over the need for regulations so that foods are being transported in a safe manner. It reaffirms that transportation plays a critical role in preventing risks to the nation’s food supply.

The final rule is part of the implementation of the 2005 Sanitary Food Transportation Act (SFTA) and the 2011 FDA Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA). These two statutes require the FDA to issue regulations requiring shippers, carriers by motor vehicles or rail vehicle, receivers, and other persons engaged in the transportation of food to use sanitary transportation practices to ensure that food is not transported under conditions that may render the food adulterated. The rule is one of seven fundamental rules proposed since January 2013 and is the sixth of seven regulations that have been finalized. This is also the only rule of the seven that is directly applicable to transportation.

The rule applies to shippers, loaders and carriers who transport food in the U.S. by motor vehicle or rail (whether or not food is offered or enters interstate commerce), and applies to food not completely enclosed by a container. Four key requirements are addressed: (1) vehicles and transportation equipment, (2) transportation operations, (3) records and (4) training. The new rule applies to the design and maintenance of vehicles and transportation equipment to ensure they do not cause the food being transported to become unsafe. It also requires specific measures be taken during the transport of food to ensure food safety, such as adequate temperatures. The rule requires carriers to train their personnel in sanitary transportation practices and to document the training conducted. Regulated parties must also maintain records of written procedures, agreements and training records (required for carriers).

So how will the rule on Sanitary Transportation of Human and Animal Food affect the transportation industry? First and foremost, the rule is flexible. It allows the industry to continue to use industry “best practices” which is defined as “commercial or professional procedures that are accepted or prescribed as being correct or most effective.” These practices include successful sanitation procedures, effective training programs, records retention procedures, successful inspection and monitoring programs.

The final rule indicates that businesses (other than small businesses) will have one year from date of publication to comply, so until April 7, 2017. Small businesses have 2 years to comply. “Small businesses” are defined as businesses other than motor carriers that are also not shippers and/or receivers and that employ fewer than 500 persons, and motor carriers having less than $27.5 million in annual receipts.

Before the rule becomes enforced in April 2017, those involved in the food transportation industry should review their vehicle and transportation equipment to determine how the new requirements may affect them. To comply with this new rule, all companies need to develop and implement a written procedure governing all aspects of their shipping operations. The procedure should spell out in detail the sanitation procedures for both loading and unloading and shipping equipment. If the current “best practices” are not suitable, then changes to the procedure must take place.

Failure to comply with the rule is subject to injunction and criminal prosecution. Further, food will be deemed “adulterated” if it is transported or offered for transport by a shipper, loader, carrier or receiver under conditions that don’t comply with the rule. FDA also intends to conduct some inspections and the Department of Transportation (DOT) will establish procedures for transportation safety inspections to be conducted by DOT or state agencies.

These new requirements may be used by plaintiffs to establish negligence and negligence per se, and may appear in litigation through discovery or FOIA requests. On the other hand, proper compliance with the rule will allow companies to prove safe and proper practices.

For more information on the Sanitary Transportation of Human and Animal Food visit: STHA Rule/2016/04/06/2016-07330/sanitary-transportation-of-human-and-animal-food

Anna Newell
Anna Beck is an associate attorney at Roberts Perryman. Anna’s practice focuses on transportation, insurance coverage and defense.

Roberts Perryman has been a leader in transportation defense for over 50 years with offices in St. Louis and Springfield, MO and Belleville, IL.

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ATA Reports that Freight Transportation Will See Continued Growth in Years to Come

As the economy grows, so does the trucking industry. Last month, the U.S. Freight Transportation Forecast to 2027, compiled by the American Trucking Association (ATA), predicted that the future of freight transportation will grow in both freight volume and the amount of goods being transported by trucks over the next 20 years.

ATA President and CEO Chris Spear explained that Forecast “has proven to be a valuable tool for everyone from industry leaders to government policy makers.” This prediction will be used as a guideline to help trucking companies develop strategies for the future, improve revenue and find methods to improve shipping.

The Forecast suggested that overall revenue for the industry will rise nearly 66 percent and tonnage will increase 24 percent by 2022. This increase is due to the growth in the overall economy, according to ATA’s Chief Economist Bob Costello. “As we continue to see growth in the overall economy, particularly due to manufacturing, consumer spending and international trade, we will also see increases in the amount of freight moved in America’s trucks,” Costello reported on ATA’s website.

However, as the trucking industry is seeing growth, other modes of transportation may see a decline in tonnage and revenue. The ATA predicts that by 2022, rail transportation may only account for 14.6% of the transportation industry compared to 15.3% it accounted for in 2010. Rail and water transportation will lose market share to pipelines as the U.S. energy production grows.

In contrast to the growing trucking industry, driver shortage is continuing to be a problem across the industry and is expected to worsen as drivers retire and hiring qualified truck drivers becomes more and more difficult. The ATA reasons that the shortage may be due to factors such as demographic, regulatory and the fact that drivers may be away from home for long periods of time. The increase in trucks on the road in the coming years may present a problem for companies if there is a shortage in drivers. That is why organizations such as Trucking Moves America Forward (TMAF) are working to ensure the trucking industry remains thriving.

“We do know as long as our economy continues to grow, trucks will continue to move the vast majority of America’s goods, underscoring our industry’s critical role in our country’s future,” Spear reported on ATA’s website. Trucks are essential to our daily lives and there are no signs that the industry is slowing. Which is good news because as TMAF puts it – when trucks stop moving, the country stops moving.

U.S. Freight Transportation Forecast to 2027 is available for purchase at: ATA Business Solutions

Anna Beck is an associate attorney at Roberts Perryman. Anna’s practice focuses on transportation, insurance coverage and defense.

Anna Newell

Roberts Perryman has been a leader in transportation defense for over 50 years with offices in St. Louis and Springfield, MO and Belleville, IL.

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The Feds Release First Guidelines on Autonomous Vehicles: Trucking Industry Input Conspicuously Void

The trucking industry moves over 70% of the domestic freight in the U.S.  As we recently wrote, there is a strong push by technology companies to bring autonomous trucks to America’s roadways. According to a recent study by McKinsey & Company, by 2025 at least one of every three new heavy trucks will be either fully autonomous or have a high level of autonomy. Considering 2025 is less than ten years away, we may be on the precipice of a new age in transportation.

With the growing push for automation, on September 20, 2016, the U.S. Department of Transportation released the first federal guidelines for the testing and deployment of autonomous vehicles. These guidelines centered around a 15-point “safety assessment” process with the intent to ensure safety compliance. The policy requires manufacturers to establish how they are meeting federal requirements in 15 areas such as operational design domain, object and event detection and response, data recording and sharing and human machine interface just to name a few.

The guidelines were written with the input of truck manufacturers such as Daimler who have been on the forefront of this technology, and several others. Safety groups including Mothers Against Drunk Driving and the National Safety Council have also largely supported the regulations. Deborah Hersman, chief executive of the National Safety Council stated, regarding the regulations, “[t]his policy gives carmakers and States the green light to innovate while keeping safety at the forefront.”

However, the groups conspicuously absent from the process were those who represent trucking companies such as the American Trucking Association. Chief executive of the American Trucking Association, Chris Spear, responded to the regulations on behalf of the ATA. “It is disconcerting that the department and the administration have developed these guidelines with virtually no involvement from the trucking industry,” said Spear and later stated “… any safety and highway infrastructure debate and regulatory framework that excludes trucking is incomplete.”

While Secretary of Transportation Anthony Foxx stated the policy is a living document which “leaves room for more growth and changes in the future” it is concerning that the largest end users of commercial autonomous vehicles were left out of the initial process.

One thing we can count on, especially when talking about the federal government, more regulations for autonomous vehicles will be coming down the pike in the years to come as this technology moves closer to realization. Due to the trade cycle for the industry, and if the McKinsey and Company study is accurate, it is very likely most trucking companies will have some autonomous vehicles in their fleets by 2025.

As the development and expected widespread usability of autonomous vehicles accelerates, we are remaining vigilant in keeping an eye on the road ahead. If you have any questions about the future of CMV autonomous vehicles please do not hesitate to contact us.

Brandon Howard is an associate at Roberts Perryman. Brandon’s practice is focused on Transportation Law & Litigation. Brandon is in the Springfield office.

Brandon Howard

Roberts Perryman has been a leader in transportation defense for over 50 years with offices in St. Louis and Springfield, MO and Belleville, IL.

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