A countdown to US regulations has begun, and workers in companies with more than 100 employees will need to be vaccinated with Covid-19 or tested weekly.
The mandate, scheduled to be published in the U.S. Federal Register on Friday, will take effect January
Despite the intense lobbying and prediction that many truck drivers will resign in the face of such missions, truck driving is not explicitly exempt.
But the American Trucking Associations (ATA) sees one exemption that could apply.
“The rule does exempt employees who work 100% alone or outdoors, so long as their indoor contact with other employees or customers is minimal,” ATA CEO Chris Spear said in a related update. “In our view, that exemption covers much of the commercial driver population — but as with any complex new rule, it is impossible to be certain how OSHA [Occupational Safety and Health Administration] will apply it until they issue guidance or begin enforcement.”
The group is asking regulators if the exemption is applicable to commercial drivers.
The ATA previously warned that affected carriers could lose 74% of their unvaccinated employees or 34% of their driving workforces as unvaccinated truckers opt to leave for smaller carriers, retire, or resign.
The association also referred to Canadian rules in opposition to the mandate. Here in Canada, federal-regulated truck companies are not part of the obligation to require aviation, rail, and maritime employers to establish vaccination policies.
Unvaccinated workers from affected companies in the United States will begin wearing masks on December 4, and must test negative for Covid weekly after the January deadline. However, companies do not have to pay for testing unless required by state law. They need to provide employees with paid time to receive the vaccine and recover from side effects until December 5.
The Truckload Carriers Association (TCA) has already expressed "disappointment" with the ruling
“TCA repeatedly called on the administration to heed our warnings regarding this mandate’s impact on the already constrained supply chain, yet they chose to proceed with a disastrous mandate which will undoubtedly ensure the trucking industry loses a substantial number of drivers,” the association said in a statement released Wednesday morning.
“President [Joe] Biden cannot call on trucking to ‘work harder’ when his policies are cutting us off at the knees and depriving us of the workforce we need.”
The TCA referred to efforts by businesses, nonprofits, and a dozen governors to file proceedings against the mandate.
This is not the only US obligation that affects truck drivers. Truck drivers heading to the border need to prove that they have been vaccinated twice by this January. Assuming Canadian border authorities respond on a similar mission, the Canadian Trucking Alliance estimates that as a result, 38,000 truck drivers could quit their jobs across borders.
About 120,000 Canadian truck drivers work across borders, and 40,000 US-licensed truck drivers do the same.

Volvo Trucks said it’s time to “Take the Leap” and invest in zero-emissions transport.

“We are approaching a historical shift not seen since we shifted from carriages to trucks,” said Jessica Sandström, senior vice president of product management and sustainability for Volvo Trucks.

Volvo has set targets for 50% of its global sales to be electric by 2030, and to be selling only fossil-free trucks by 2040.

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