ATA confirms vaccine mandate exemption for solo truck drivers

The American Trucking Associations (ATA) says senior U.S. Department of Labor officials have confirmed solo truck drivers will be exempted from a coming U.S. vaccine mandate that applies to businesses with more than 100 employees.

“We have received indications from senior Department of Labor officials that the exception for employees who exclusively work outdoors or remotely and have minimal contract with others indoors does exempt solo truck drivers from the mandate,” president and CEO Chris Spear said Friday in a letter to members. “Furthermore, Labor Secretary Marty Walsh is on record saying so.”

The ATA continues to lobby for exemptions for the broader workforce as well.

Covid-19 vaccine
(Illustration: istock)

Groups including the ATA and Truckload Carriers Association repeated concerns earlier this week as regulators published the rules that will take hold Jan. 4. Trucking was not explicitly exempted.

Spear referred to the latest news as a “major victory” that resulted from a “pressure campaign” during the rulemaking process.

“We continue to believe that OSHA [Occupational Health and Safety Administration] is using an extraordinary authority unwisely and applying it across all industries at an arbitrary threshold of 100 employees in a way that fails to take into account the actual risks. ATA will continue to consider potential legal action to protect all segments of our workforce from this misguided mandate,” Spear said

The lobby group previously said that U.S. plans to mandate vaccines or weekly Covid-19 tests at businesses with more than 100 employees could see affected carriers 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 ATA is even pointing directly at Canada in making its argument that truck drivers should be exempted from such a rule. On this side of the border, federally regulated trucking companies are not included in a mandate that requires Canada’s air, rail and marine employers to establish vaccination policies.

Have your say

We won't publish or share your data

*

  • Finally people using some common sense. Drivers have been crossing the border for the last year and a half without this mandate so it didn’t make any sense to start now.

  • What about steady team drivers ?
    One vaccinated, and, the other one not vaccinated. Entering the USA from Canada.

  • Drivers alone in their cabs all day sometimes stop to get gas, and buy food or take a shower, sometimes in two or three different states in a single day. Let’s call it what it is, a pressure group win holding the country’s economy hostage while paying no mind to the spread of the deadly virus into our home towns.

  • Is there clear cut information about whether or not drivers will have to be double vaccinated to cross borders come January? Both coming from Canada and back again. I know this ‘mandate’ did include essential workers, but with this new light, does that change anything?
    I’m finding it difficult to find a concrete answer. Any insight would be appreciated.

    From a Canadian crossborder transport carrier.

  • Can the authors or anyone please verify (with the resource link ideally) whether this will apply to cross-border Canadian truck drivers? My understanding is that there have been no exemptions declared for cross-border drivers, and that the US will still require ALL foreign nationals to be fully vaccinated as of early January.

    So far it seems like Canada only truck drivers are exempt, and US only truck drivers are exempt…but what about those who have to interact with CBP and CBSA to cross the border? It’s logical that they should be exempt as well….but logic left this planet 2 years ago.

  • Will this apply to cross-border Canadian truck drivers? My understanding is that there have been no exemptions declared for cross-border drivers, and that the US will still require ALL foreign nationals to be fully vaccinated as of early January.

  • What about the mandate for Canadian truck drivers entering the states? Is this still going to happen or will we be exempt as well?