OOIDA’s Spencer speaks out on lack of broker transparency on ‘Live From Exit 24’

July 29, 2020

Mark Schremmer

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Todd Spencer, OOIDA president
OOIDA President and CEO Todd Spencer

 

As part of OOIDA’s second episode of “Live From Exit 24,” OOIDA President Todd Spencer spoke about the need for truckers to rally together in order to fix such issues as the lack of broker transparency and detention time.

Spencer, serving as show’s special guest, fielded questions from callers during the hourlong audio-only internet talk show on Wednesday, July 29.

One of the calls concerned broker transparency. The longtime issue led to dozens of truckers participating in a protest at Washington, D.C., in May. As part of the protest, truckers were speaking out against historically low freight rates and called for transparency in broker transactions. Regulations already exist regarding broker transparency but are often sidestepped by brokers requiring motor carriers to waive the provision before accepting a load.

Spencer said it is an issue that OOIDA has fought against for years, and he hinted that the Association could take legal action if something isn’t done soon.

“We’ve certainly brought this to the attention of lawmakers,” Spencer said. “We’ve petitioned FMCSA to address this issue. For them, it’s going to be easy to say that this isn’t really a safety issue, and we’re a safety agency. Well, that dog don’t hunt either. If they’re not willing to aggressively pursue resolution of this issue one way or another, then they can explain it to us, and explain it to others in the courts, because that’s a response we’re not going to find acceptable. We will assert that right when the opportunity presents itself, and I expect that is going to happen fairly soon.”

Truckers can help the cause by filing complaints to FMCSA’s National Consumer Complaint Database, Spencer said.

“One of the things that we heard from FMCSA regarding the transparency issue … is that FMCSA said it doesn’t get any complaints on that. One of the unfortunate things in trucking is that once something that’s wrong goes on long enough, too many truckers take the position that that’s just the way it is and why bother. Well, this is one of those issues that we do need to bother. We need to push the issue. In those instances where the refusal has been made, file those complaints.”

Another issue that Spencer said has gone on way too long is detention time.

Mike Matousek, OOIDA’s manager of government affairs and host of “Live From Exit 24,” cited statistics that say truckers spend an average of 15 hours in detention each week. An OOIDA Foundation survey found that truckers are losing up to $1,500 per week from uncompensated detention time. Spencer, who became an OOIDA member in 1976 and was named the Association’s fourth president in 2018, provided listeners a history lesson on the issue, which has been going on for decades.

“The problem is still there,” Spencer said. “It’s better or worse depending on economic conditions, but it exists simply because there’s no value placed on a driver’s time. And until there is value placed on a driver’s time, others are going to feel free to waste it.”

To fix any of these problems, Spencer said it takes truck drivers rallying together for the cause.

“The real core issue is still the same today,” he said. “Lots of stuff needs to change, and it takes effort, resources and support to make that happen. Realistically, the ongoing challenge we will always have is that if you want to see things change, you have to support the effort. This stuff only happens when we can do this stuff together and do it the right way.”

The first episode of “Live From Exit 24” aired on July 15.

“Live From Exit 24” can be found on the Live From Exit 24 website, OOIDA’s YouTube channel, or on OOIDA’s Facebook page. The show is scheduled for 11 a.m. Central every other Wednesday. The live show encourages truck drivers to call in with a question or comment. To be a part of the next show, call 317-67-OOIDA (317-676-6432) at 11 a.m. Central time on Aug. 12.

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.