If you missed the open call the Trucking Solutions Group’s member owner-operators held with FMCSA administrator Anne Ferro last week, you missed a lot. The wide-ranging conversation ran the gamut of topics from cross-border trucking to hours and detention concerns. About the last of which, it was heartening to hear, Ferro noted that she in essence agreed with the concerns of the TSG — and so many drivers around the nation.
“I agree with you that the shippers should be held accountable” for imposing long loading/unloading delays on drivers, she said. “We need to take a close look at detention time and [Oregon Rep. Peter DeFazio’s mandatory detention-pay] bill to figure out how we can make shippers be more accountable. The only way I’ve been able to approach it lately is on a bully pulpit.”
Another big area of discussion was entry-level training requirements. Ferro noted that a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking on entry-level requirements could be expected to be followed by a final rule “before the end of the year.”
All in all, says the TSG’s Rick Ash, an owner-operator leased to HVH Transportation, the group’s first open call was listened to by more than 150 drivers. “We were all thrilled with the way it all went. There were a total of 163 people on the call at one time or another. We thought that Administrator Ferro answered the questions as candidly and completely as we had expected. We also felt that she gained knowledge from the call as well.” Ash says it was encouraging to hear that Ferro “would like to do this same thing on a regular basis,” perhaps several times a year.
The call went so well that the TSG plans on opening up more of their calls in the future. The group of owner-operators typically, Ash notes, speaks to people from the “truck manufacturers, component manufacturers (engines, transmissions, etc.), tire manufacturers and the like. We even had one call with a representative from one of the citizen advocacy groups. It has always been a goal to open up some of these calls. Now that we have a website to help us get the word out about them, we feel we can do a pretty good job with them.”
Keep an eye out for future calls via http://truckingsolutionsgroup.org. You can listen to past calls, including the conversation with Ferro, by clicking “Guest Speakers” under the “Resources” menu.