OOIDA Response To FMCSA Administrator Nomination Hearing
The Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association issued this response to the recent Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee hearing on the nomination of Robin Hutcheson.
Todd Spencer, president of OOIDA:
“During today’s nomination hearing, several U.S. Senators and the FMCSA Administrator Nominee Robin Hutcheson supported the notion of a truck driver shortage throughout the trucking industry, something that our Association has adamantly refuted.
Some Senators and even Ms. Hutcheson herself seemed to indicate that prioritizing the Safe Driver Apprenticeship Pilot Program, which will allow under-21 drivers to operate in interstate commerce, is the best way to recruit more drivers. Make no mistake, this approach will result in more highway fatalities and will not address the systemic problems that make it difficult for individuals to sustain a steady career in trucking.
Ms. Hutcheson’s testimony acknowledged that enhancing driver compensation, reducing excessive detention time, eliminating predatory truck leasing schemes, and bringing in more women into the industry are all “long-term” solutions that FMCSA is working on. However, if the agency is serious about reversing staggering crash numbers and improving driver retention, then these actions and many others must come before ensuring that younger drivers can enter the profession.
During her tenure as Acting Administrator, Ms. Hutcheson has repeatedly remarked that truck parking is a top priority for FMCSA. While the Federal Highway Administration has general jurisdiction over truck parking matters, we were disappointed that there was no discussion about the need for expanding parking capacity at a time when Congressional Leaders are telling the Department of Transportation that the lack of parking remains a critical safety issue that requires immediate attention.
Today’s response regarding a mythical driver shortage, a recent proposal to advance mandatory speed limiters on commercial trucks and putting critical interests on the backburner raises concerns about what policies will be prioritized by the agency under Ms. Hutcheson. We look forward to reviewing any clarifications or further responses on additional questions submitted for the record.”
The Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association is the largest national trade association representing the interests of small-business trucking professionals and professional truck drivers. The Association currently has more than 150,000 members nationwide. OOIDA was established in 1973 and is headquartered in the Greater Kansas City, Mo., area.