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CalSavers Program: Another Unnecessary Trucking Concern?

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California lawmakers have developed an initiative to force employers to offer their employees a retirement plan. This new program called CalSavers could prove to be a burden on trucking companies with few employees or significant turnover. Small trucking companies experience a 72 percent turnover rate nationwide, for larger firms it is much worse, around 87 percent for the third quarter of 2018. The 87 percent turnover rate was eleven points lower than the previous quarter. According to the 4 January 2019 article by HDT Truckinginfo.com.

Many firms point to drivers trying to get better pay and benefits from another company or the promise of a large signing bonus as the reason for high turnover rates. Whereas those are two of the justifications, another more acceptable argument for truckers is the zero-tolerance mentality of most fleet managers when it comes to moving violations in their commercial motor vehicle (CMV).

What Is the CalSavers Program?

During the pilot phase of the program, which started in November of 2018, employers can opt-in voluntarily. However, by June of 2020, employers with one hundred or more employees will have to offer a retirement plan to their workers. By July of 2022, trucking companies and others with five or more employees will have to provide a retirement plan or face a possible fine of $750 for each employee if they don’t have a retirement plan or offer employees the CalSavers IRA Program.

Although CA is not the only state or municipality focusing on Individual Retirement Accounts (IRA) and retirement savings, a CA official argued, “Inadequate retirement savings…significantly increases the burden on the state’s retirement income support programs.”Workers could set up an IRA by themselves, but officials say these programs work better when retirement plans get offered where they work. Like Social Security, the government is forcing workers to do what is right for their retirement.

Concerns for Trucking Companies in Sacramento County

What most trucking firms fear is a waste of paperwork and effort in an industry that suffers so much turnover. In large firms with a turnover rate of 87 percent that means if you employ 100 truckers, 87 of them could be somewhere else by the end of the year. Although trucking firms could use a retirement savings program and matching funds as a recruitment and retention strategy, most do not see it that way.

Say a company offers a matching funds retirement package when the trucker pays five percent, or more the trucking company matches their five percent. If the trucker’s average annual salary is $80,000, and the trucker contributes five percent or $4000 per year, it would only cost them roughly 77 dollars a week.

With the company’s matching funds after a 40-year career, they would have $320,000 just in the capital, not counting any gains made from investing. Though state officials are touting a 25-year program of saving that will yield $350,000 with investment profits. Everyone seems painfully aware that even if Social Security survives the next 25 years, it won’t be enough to sustain even a moderate lifestyle.

However, trucking firms like Hendrickson, XPO, and Matheson in Sacramento County believe it will be a waste of effort and a paperwork nightmare. The President of Faulkner Trucking in Tulare, CA say, “If people stuck around, it would be a no-brainer, but it’s going to be cumbersome and worthless.” Imagine the paperwork nightmare when your firm experiences the average 87 percent turnover. Even though workers can take the plan with them from job to job, it will be a hardship on trucking firms.

Sacramento County Traffic Ticket Info

As stated in this article’s intro, the primary reason for high turnover at many large trucking firms is the threat of termination due to a moving violation in your CMV. Some fleet managers who learn of a traffic ticket in a private vehicle will terminate a driver assuming that if they were careless enough to get a ticket in their private vehicle, it wouldn’t be long before they get one in their CMV. This assumption does not usually ring true because commercial drivers know it is their livelihood at stake.

However, when you do receive a ticket out there on I-5 or 80, you need assistance to resolve the ticket from law enforcement or during a roadside inspection. In Sacramento County, if you have a minor infraction in your private vehicle, and your traffic attorney advises you to pay the fine and accept Traffic Violators School (TVS), it will cost you the price of the fine and an additional $52 at the courthouse, plus the $3.00 fee to file your completion certificate, and then whatever it costs for tuition. Make sure to complete the program before the court-ordered date to take advantage of keeping the conviction confidential, which could help you keep your driving job. Check here for DMV-approved schools.

In addition to your base fine if convicted, you will have to pay Sacramento County the following fees and surcharges:

  • $10 for each $10 of the base fine, $7.00 for the state Court Trust Fund and $3.00 for Sacramento County general revenue fund
  • $2 for each $10 of the base fine for Courthouse construction
  • $2.50 for each $10 of the base fine for County Jails Construction
  • $0.50 for each $10 of the base fine for automated fingerprints fund
  • $2.00 for each $10 of the base fine for the Maddy Medical Fund (County/State 50/50 split)
  • $3.00 for each $10 of the base fine for State Court Construction
  • $5.00 for each $10 of the base fine for DNA ID Fund depending on the date of the violation
  • $2.00 for each $10 of the base fine for Immediate/Critical court construction fund
  • $1.00 for Night Court whether you use it or not
  • $10 for the DMV Driving History fee, plus the $3 certificate filing fee
  • 20% Criminal Surcharge
  • $40 Court Security fund
  • $35 criminal fee for infractions (isn’t this a paradox since infractions are not criminal?) and $30 for misdemeanors
  • $10 for a citation processing fee
  • $4 for Air Medical

Sixteen additional fees, surcharges, and assessments that make your base fine five to seven times what the Legislature original allowed in the CA Vehicle Code for your specific violation. One possible means of avoiding these penalties is to consult with a traffic ticket attorney who assists drivers with traffic tickets in Sacramento County to get a dismissal or reduced charges, often no-point convictions.

Talk with a CDL Friendly Traffic Lawyer Who Handles Sacramento County

I-5 and I-80 can be particularly unfriendly to truckers. Maybe that’s just our perceived bias because of all the truckers we talk to and all the tickets we have defended from those two routes in the Sacramento area. It seems truckers get stopped for insignificant violations while their non-commercial driving peers are flying by at 90 or 100 mph.

To talk with a CDL focused traffic lawyer near Sacramento, call Bigger & Harman (661) 349-9300. Se habla Español (661) 349-9755. We only represent drivers with traffic tickets, traffic law is not just a part time job we use to get a little extra money until someone calls with a big criminal case. We only handle traffic tickets and DMV NOTS Hearings.

Send us an email, attorney@biggerharmanlaw.com.

References:

The 2018 CA Commercial Driver Handbook .pdf

Trucks.com article,Trucking Companies May Find State Retirement Plans Painful

The Superior Court of California, Sacramento website, How Fines Are Calculated

The article by HDT Truckinginfo.com, Increased Truck Driver Pay Lowers Turnover Rates in 2018