By Todd Spencer, OOIDA Executive Vice President
The issues affecting small businesses and professional truckers are full of complicated details. Here at OOIDA, we spend a lot of time each day reviewing changes, analyzing information and gathering input from members on the potential consequences. That’s our job, and we think it’s important to share everything we know.
But we also know it can be hard to keep up, so here’s a general update. This is also a good list to have handy when making calls or visits to lawmakers. Let them know how these issues affect you and ask for their support.
MEXICAN TRUCKS – The pilot program we’ve fought against did actually start several months ago, but to date only three motor carriers from Mexico have been approved to participate. As a matter of fact, only a small handful of carriers have applied for it at all, but we keep a close eye on the applications as they come in. We know several big carriers see this as an opportunity to tap into lower cost drivers. It’s just a matter of time.
EOBRs – The Association challenged the first of two of FMCSA’s proposed rulemakings in court and succeeded in getting it vacated. The FMCSA has been ordered by the Court of Appeals for the 7th Circuit to ensure that such devices will not be used to harass drivers among other things. How the agency will react moving forward, we aren’t so sure. But, overall, this decision by the court makes it hard for FMCSA to simply keep pushing a mandate that represents a steep cost with no benefit.
WEIGHT/SIZE LIMIT INCREASES – Big shippers and carriers are pushing to increase weight limits to 97,000 pounds and in some areas 126,000. Thanks to your outreach to lawmakers, we’ve managed to keep this out of the highway bill so far. But like so many issues it never really goes away. But neither will we.
FREIGHT BROKER REFORM – There are currently 12 co-sponsors for HR2357, Fighting Fraud in Trucking Act, FFTA, which would require FMCSA to follow through with their responsibility to oversee and pursue fraudulent freight brokers. No other movement on this bill to report, but it’s still alive, so we need more sponsors. Everyone loses when the bad guys defraud the good.
DETENTION – HR756 was reintroduced early last year and hasn’t seen much movement since, but the good news is that it’s still alive. It calls for a study and a regulatory rulemaking on detention times and compensation. FMCSA would be required to introduce a new regulation, setting standards for maximum numbers of hours a driver may be detained and not compensated. This is by far the biggest efficiency issue for trucking. It cries out for a fix.
PARKING – Great news. A provision for a pilot program was included in the latest highway bill with wording very similar to Jason’s Law. Let’s hope it stays in the final highway bill. And that transportation planners from here on recognize the crucial importance of truck parking in all future development. LL