Bottom Line
OOIDA Member Info
Truckers need answers, please

I received some really challenging questions from OOIDA members this month, and I think those I've included in this column will be helpful to many of our Land Line readers.Here are some questions from an OOIDA member who has the proposed hours-of-service regulations on his mind. He writes:Dear OOIDA,Who elected the DOT and what is the difference between a "law" that is passed by Congress and a "rule" that is passed by the regulatory agencies? Were the original hours of service laws passed by Congress? If so, why can the DOT revise them?

John Siebert, project manager for the OOIDA Foundation, is one of our association's authorities regarding this subject, so I went to him for answers. He says that the Department of Transportation (DOT) is a cabinet level department whose secretary is appointed by the president. A rule passed by a regulatory agency can have the effect of law, but since only Congress can fund spending, there is congressional oversight. (A good example of this is the recent vote by the Senate in their appropriations bill to cut funding for the HOS proposal). The original HOS rules were made by the ICC and were not laws enacted by Congress.

The original HOS rules were made by the ICC and were not laws enacted by Congress

After surviving the recent "Roadcheck 2000" inspection blitz, OOIDA member Ed H. wants to know:

Can someone at OOIDA tell me what CVSA is? Are they a government body? What authority do they operate under?

Well, Ed, the truth is that the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance (CVSA) is not a government agency and actually has no authority other than as an organization of federal, state and provincial government agencies from the United States, Canada, and Mexico who make recommendations. The CVSA certifies commercial vehicle inspectors to be qualified to give inspections and they recommend ways in which to improve commercial vehicle safety, but they have no authority to make the inspections themselves. Unfortunately, they also have no accountability for the policies they recommend. The state gives the officers the authority to ticket and inspect. CVSA simply certifies that the officers are qualified.

Gary F. from Alabama has a "can they do that?" question about his motor carrier:

Dear OOIDA,

I am an owner-operator leased to a company from Ohio. I was wondering if it is legal for them to require me to purchase my truck insurance from a company that they recommend. I don't think it's any of their business where I buy my insurance, and I'd like to deal with my own insurance company. Can they really make me do this?

The answer is no. According to the federal leasing regulations, the lessor cannot be required to purchase or rent any products, equipment, or services from the authorized carrier as a condition of entering into the lease agreement. Please keep in mind that your motor carrier is required by the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) regulations under 49 U.S.C. 13906 to carry insurance coverage for the protection of the public. This is called "primary liability" insurance, and they must maintain this protection for all of their owned and/or operated equipment. This includes any equipment that is leased to them. If your motor carrier requires you to provide other coverages (such as bobtail insurance) they must specify it in the lease agreement. However, you can purchase the required insurance from the company of your choice. If you choose to buy your insurance through your motor carrier, you have a right to a copy of the policy.

Benny K. from New Jersey is having a problem with receiving bounced checks. He writes:

Dear OOIDA,

In the past, I've gotten some bad checks from a couple of brokers. I've tried to be nice, but I can't get them to pay up. My buddy told me the only way to get my money back is by hiring an attorney. I don't want to have to pay a lawyer. Isn't there some other way to collect?

OOIDA's Business Services department receives lots of calls from members who have problems collecting on bad checks. Best suggestion: Call the prosecuting attorney in the guilty party's jurisdiction for help. They'll prosecute for felony charges depending on the amount of money involved. If you don't have the time to deal with this yourself, call Business Services and they'll be happy to do it for you. n

If you have questions that you'd like answered, contact:

Donna Ryun, Information Services
OOIDA
PO Box 1000
Grain Valley, MO 64029

Or you can e-mail your questions to dryun@ooida.com. Although we won't be able to publish all questions in Land Line, you will receive a response.

Aug/Sept Digital Edition