FMCSA’s Wiley Deck announces listening session on broker transparency

September 24, 2020

Mark Schremmer

|

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration will have a public listening session in October to discuss the issue of broker transparency, the agency’s leader said.

During an exclusive interview with Land Line Now’s Scott Thompson, FMCSA acting Administrator Wiley Deck said the agency wants truck drivers’ direct feedback on the topic.

The lack of broker transparency has been a hot topic throughout the pandemic and became a focal point as freight rates plummeted in the spring. In August, FMCSA published a notice of request for comments regarding a petition from the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association that asks the agency to address the issue. Comments about the petition will be accepted until Oct. 19.

Deck said that the public listening session will serve as a way to receive additional comments.

“In an effort to ensure that we get all viewpoints on this, the plan that the agency is going to have … is to have a listening session on this to provide another area for driver comment and other comments to come in beyond the Federal Register,” Deck said. “My guess is that not every driver out there is accessing the docket on the Federal Register, because they are actually out there doing their jobs. So I want to provide that additional listening opportunity for the agency to look at the broker transparency issue.”

Deck said a date has not been confirmed, but he expects it to be conducted as a “virtual listening session” sometime in October.

Listen to Wiley Deck on Land Line Now

 

OOIDA asked FMCSA to require brokers to provide an electronic copy of each transaction record automatically within 48 hours after the contractual service has been completed. OOIDA also seeks to have brokers prohibited from including any provision in their contracts that requires a motor carrier to waive its rights to access the records.

There already is a regulation in place that requires brokers to keep the records and for each party to have the right to access them. However, OOIDA has documented that some brokers include in their contracts that carriers must waive those requirements in order to get the load.

Broker transparency is one of the many issues Deck has been charged with tackling since assuming leadership of the FMCSA on Aug. 31. Deck, who has previously worked with FMCSA and most recently as the senior policy adviser to U.S. Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao, took over for Jim Mullen.

Deck assumed leadership of the agency amid a pandemic and as it is set to move forward with an hours-of-service final rule that goes into effect Sept. 29. The acting administrator discussed those issues and more with Land Line Now.

Hours of service

FMCSA’s new hours-of-service rules, which are said to provide truck drivers more flexibility to decide when it is safest for them to drive, are set to begin next week despite a lawsuit from the International Brotherhood of Teamsters and a coalition of safety groups.

While Deck did not comment on the pending lawsuit, he talked about the need for rules that allow truck drivers to better manage their fatigue and discussed the possibility of providing additional flexibility to drivers in the future.

“It’s something the agency will continue to monitor … and see what additional flexibilities could be possible,” he said. “If we can point and say that these hours-of-service changes that were made contributed to a reduction in crashes and fatalities, which is the goal of this agency, then we should certainly look at additional flexibilities that allow a driver to manage their fatigue and better operate their vehicle and not be forced to push through that fatigue.”

One possible area for increased flexibility involves an upcoming FMCSA pilot program that would allow drivers the ability to pause the clock for at least 30 minutes and up to three hours. The driver would be required to take 10 consecutive hours off-duty at the end of the shift.

“Any way that this agency can move forward with providing those flexibilities and making the job easier while enhancing safety is certainly a goal of this pilot program,” Deck said.

Under-21 pilot program

Earlier this month, FMCSA announced a pilot program that would allow under-21 drivers to operate in interstate commerce.

OOIDA has been critical of plans to lower the interstate driving age, saying that younger drivers crash more often. In addition, OOIDA says there is not a driver shortage, which is often the motivation behind lowering the age.

Deck said the agency is not pushing for a move toward 18- to 20-year-old drivers, and, instead, is just collecting data before making any decisions.

“Whether it states that under-21 is just as safe or under-21 is not, that’s the purpose of this,” Deck said. “Just to get that information that’s not being collected … It’s not to garner one direction of moving forward on under-21.”

Cybersecurity

The FBI’s Cyber Division released in late July an unsettling bulletin that called out the “vulnerabilities” in electronic logging devices and exposed the lack of cybersecurity or quality assurance requirements for ELD suppliers.

Deck said the information that the FBI put out about ELDs isn’t different than other electronic devices.

“Your iPhone can be hacked and tracked,” he said. “Your Android device, your laptop. There are many other electronic devices that present cyber issues that don’t meet the same requirements that the electronic logging devices have. And we have not had any reports of any of these issues affecting any of our vendors, nor any drivers or motor carriers. I would welcome that if somebody has heard instances of this being an issue to please let us know, because we will be very active in investigating that.”

For the complete interview, go to LandLine.Media. LL

PrePass
Mark Schremmer

Mark Schremmer, senior editor, joined Land Line in 2015. An award-winning journalist and former assistant news editor at The Topeka Capital-Journal, he brings fresh ideas, solid reporting skills, and more than two decades of journalism experience to our staff.