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Vice President of Government Affairs for the Truckload Carriers Association (TCA) and is responsible for communicating and interpreting all trucking-related regulations – safety, legislative, and otherwise – to the membership of TCA and our congressional representatives on Capitol Hill. Heller regularly develops and authors comments regarding trucking industry mandates based upon association policies and principles, and serves as staff liaison for all federal and state legislative and regulatory issues pertaining to the Department of Transportation and other related federal agencies. As a routine part of his job, he supports the association membership in the resolution to technical inquiries on the trucking industry, with particular emphasis on the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations (FMCSRs). As evidenced by his participation in FMCSA’s Entry Level Driver Training Advisory Committee (ELDTAC), Heller has become a recognized industry expert in trucking. Heller is also one of the few association executives who has earned his certification from the North American Transportation Management Institute (NATMI) as a Certified Director of Safety (CDS). Heller has appeared multiple times on the Dave Nemo Show and Road Dog Trucking News with Mark Willis to explain TCA’s position on key legislative and regulatory issues, has spoken on issues to multiple industry-based trade associations, and authors a monthly column for FleetOwner, a national publication pertaining to trucking. He is regularly approached for comment on industry-relevant matters by top trucking trade publications and offers a quarterly webinar to TCA members that provides updates to important industry issues such as ELDs, Hours of Service, and Testing for Drugs and Alcohol.

The most important relationship that TCA fosters is the one which we build with our members. It is with that thought process in mind that I traveled to Brampton, Ontario, Canada to engage in meaningful discussions with our carrier members and potential members on topics that North American carriers face in the ever-changing truckload environment at TCA’s annual Bridging Border Barriers event.

Canadian trucking, of course, is not vastly different from its U.S. counterpart and is seemingly faced with an ELD mandate and corresponding growing pains that U.S. carriers have already gone through. That being said, discussions at our event centered on this meaningful issue, which should not be taken lightly. While the implementation process can be daunting, the rewards to our industry appear to be limitless. Canada’s regulation still has several questions left unanswered, including third party certification and a grandfather clause, however the ELD mandate is incredibly important because the data collected from these devices can help prove the need for regulatory changes on hours of service, detention time, and truck parking issues. Questions that have been unanswered for decades now appear to have an end in sight, or at the very least, ample data to truly support changes to our industry and how we operate. TCA supports an industry-wide mandate, and we encourage Canada’s authorities to move forward quickly to help ensure parity between the two nations.

Marijuana is growing in acceptance when it comes to federal regulations, as shown by Canada’s recent legalization of this drug for recreational purposes. Many large carriers have already instituted hair testing as a strong addition to the traditional urine test, however the procedure cannot yet be used to satisfy USDOT drug testing protocols. Furthermore, the U.S. Congress recently directed the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) to move forward with the Drug and Alcohol Clearinghouse – its rollout has been woefully behind schedule. Once the Clearinghouse is up and running, carriers will be able to share information about drivers who have failed their drug tests so that these individuals cannot hop from one job to another. Even those Canadian carriers with U.S. operations will be able to participate so that they are aware of precisely what kind of drivers they are hiring.

Regulations abound amongst the trucking industry, regardless of which nationality you represent.  However, with meaningful discussion and valuable partners with the enforcement community, our TCA members can embrace the information provided to them so that they can make the best informed decisions that are practical for their fleet. Merely a week after the event, I have already had several meaningful discussions with Canadian carriers on ELDs and personal conveyance issues in the states and the proper way to log them, along with potential corresponding changes to the U.S. hours-of-service regulations. Make no mistake, now is the time to engage your association prospects and be part of a discussion that helps shape the regulations moving forward, rather than the dialog on how to deal with the mandates once they are in place. While this event is one in a long line of information exchanges that TCA continues to build upon, it also becomes one which I annually look forward to. See you next year.

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Vice President of Government Affairs for the Truckload Carriers Association (TCA) and is responsible for communicating and interpreting all trucking-related regulations – safety, legislative, and otherwise – to the membership of TCA and our congressional representatives on Capitol Hill. Heller regularly develops and authors comments regarding trucking industry mandates based upon association policies and principles, and serves as staff liaison for all federal and state legislative and regulatory issues pertaining to the Department of Transportation and other related federal agencies. As a routine part of his job, he supports the association membership in the resolution to technical inquiries on the trucking industry, with particular emphasis on the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations (FMCSRs). As evidenced by his participation in FMCSA’s Entry Level Driver Training Advisory Committee (ELDTAC), Heller has become a recognized industry expert in trucking. Heller is also one of the few association executives who has earned his certification from the North American Transportation Management Institute (NATMI) as a Certified Director of Safety (CDS). Heller has appeared multiple times on the Dave Nemo Show and Road Dog Trucking News with Mark Willis to explain TCA’s position on key legislative and regulatory issues, has spoken on issues to multiple industry-based trade associations, and authors a monthly column for FleetOwner, a national publication pertaining to trucking. He is regularly approached for comment on industry-relevant matters by top trucking trade publications and offers a quarterly webinar to TCA members that provides updates to important industry issues such as ELDs, Hours of Service, and Testing for Drugs and Alcohol.