By Jim Johnston
The brokerage industry needs major change and we are confident that 2010 could be the year we see that happen. OOIDA has been diligently working on these issues for quite some time. Under previous congressional leadership we weren’t able to make much progress. We are much more optimistic for success now because of recent support from several influential members of Congress.
First, we are working on increasing the required bond amount from $10,000 to $100,000. While this would still not be enough in many cases, it is a big step in the right direction. And we think it will also help bring more scrutiny to prospective brokers by the bonding companies who will bear the liability of paying out these bonds in the event of forfeiture or insolvency of the broker.
Second, we are seeking to beef up regulatory oversight of the companies that are authorized to provide and to file bonds on behalf of brokers. This would help eliminate some of the games they play that enable those crooked brokers to continue operating.
Finally, we are seeking stricter regulatory oversight by FMCSA to enforce the regulations that are already on the books (and that they have essentially ignored for the past two decades). We also want FMCSA to initiate and enforce necessary new regulations to prevent these chameleon brokers and motor carriers from simply starting up new companies to avoid responsibility for violations under the previous company name.
FMCSA already has the authority to bring enforcement actions against both brokers and motor carriers for violations, but as you know, has for quite some time ignored that responsibility to focus exclusively on motor carrier safety enforcement. It is our intention to gain a legislative mandate instructing the agency to focus efforts as well on those economic regulations that are also their responsibility.
At present, we are hopeful that we will be able to get these initiatives added to the highway reauthorization legislation that is currently pending in Congress.
I hope to be able to report some significant movement on some of these efforts in the very near future. We’ll need your help to make it happen, however. Our success is based largely on our membership numbers. The more members we have, the more credibility we have when trying to make the changes in the industry that are necessary to the survival of professional truckers. If you are already a member of OOIDA, thank you for your support. If not, please join. LL