Truckers have until Nov. 18 to submit comments on broker transparency
November 13, 2020
Time is running out for truckers to submit comments about broker transparency, with the deadline set for Nov. 18.
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration is still accepting comments on a petition filed by the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association requesting more enforcement of federal broker transparency regulations. However, the last day to submit comments is Wednesday, Nov. 18.
Truckers can submit comments by going to Regulations.gov, entering the docket number FMCSA-2020-0150 in the “Keyword” block and clicking “Search.” From there, click on the “Comment Now!” button. As of Nov. 13, more than 1,200 comments were on the docket.
OOIDA filed its petition for more broker transparency in May and proposed the following:
- Require brokers to automatically provide an electronic copy of each transaction record within 48 hours after the contractual service has been completed.
- Explicitly prohibit brokers from including any provision that requires a carrier to waive their rights to access the transaction records.
Also, OOIDA wants FMCSA to require brokers to keep a record of each transaction for three years. Each party to a brokered transaction has the right to review the record of the transaction required to be kept by the proposed rules, including the truckers hired to haul the load.
Furthermore, OOIDA wants FMCSA to levy and enforce a structured fine system for noncompliant brokers. The Association asks FMCSA to suspend or revoke the authority of unscrupulous brokers that consistently break the rules.
CFR 371.3 states that brokers must keep records of transactions with motor carriers. One subsection of that regulation gives each party to the transaction, including the carriers, the right to review the record. This provision allows truckers to see what their cut is of the full rate that the shipper paid the broker.
Calls for more broker transparency have caused some contention within the industry, with drivers and carriers supporting the petition and brokers and many shippers opposing.
During a listening session on Oct. 28, stakeholders expressed their views on the matter. Brokers showed up in large numbers, with arguments against more transparency focused on the free market and trade secrets privacy. Some of those comments can be read here.
OOIDA submitted its comments on Oct. 13. The Association answered eight key questions about broker transparency asked by FMCSA covering topics such as statutory authority, enforcement, broker size threshold, and how truckers and carriers would benefit economically.
“Broker contracts designed to help brokers avoid compliance with the disclosure requirements under § 371.3 undermine the explicit public policy objectives passed by Congress and since implemented by various agencies,” OOIDA stated. “Noncompliance undermines the goals of a secure transportation system. Therefore, it is part of the agency’s mandate to ensure that brokers do not avoid their legal responsibilities by contract or by imposing unreasonably burdensome disclosure conditions.” LL