What will be outgoing FMCSA Administrator Anne Ferro’s lasting legacy?

| August 14, 2014
Outgoing FMCSA Administrator Anne Ferro, among drivers at the 2013 Mid-America Trucking Show.

Outgoing FMCSA Administrator Anne Ferro, among drivers at the 2013 Mid-America Trucking Show.

Improving driver compensation certainly ranks at or near the top of outgoing Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration head Anne Ferro‘s main hopes for the future of the industry, and she spoke often about the subject in a one-hour question-and-answer session with a gaggle of transportation press Thursday, Aug. 14. 

Her last day at the agency is next Friday (Aug. 24), and she said during the press visit that the agency will announce an interim plan before her departure. 

Ferro’s tenure at the top of the FMCSA is often characterized as one of a decided expansion of federal reach into trucking businesses, particularly with the agency’s implementation of the Compliance, Safety, Accountability Safety Measurement System, which Ferro described as “a game changer.” CSA, she added, “has put safety in the board room” and has “put the safety manager at the table” at many carriers with the highest company officials. 

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But while plans for CSA’s implementation — and the agency’s changes to the hours of service rule, among other high-profile regulatory efforts — precede her tenure with FMCSA, she takes hold of the current administration’s driver compensation reform effort as her own.

Asked an Overdrive reader’s question about what exactly changed following the administrator’s ridealong with owner-operator Leo Wilkins last year — and by extension her numerous personal interactions with the truck driving public over her nearly six years as administrator — she noted her ever-growing appreciation for the stresses drivers face on the road, including the challenge of disrespect from some shippers and receivers, in some cases employers. And this even as drivers often shoulder safety responsibility where the rubber meets the road entirely on their own.

Her efforts throughout her tenure, she suggested, have been aimed to “back that safety calculus into the supply chain and move the costs [associated with it] earlier into the supply chain.” 

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The administration’s as yet far from successful proposal to require carriers pay at least a minimum hourly rate for detention time can be read in this context, as can the still-in-process anti-coercion rule, which gives the agency some ability to punish coercion to violate regulations by shippers, receivers and brokers.

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She places the CSA Safety Measurement System there, too, with its aim to boost back-office attention to matters of safety, likewise the ELD mandate. Agency critics are quick to note that most such efforts, among others, in the short term would (in the case of compensation reform and the ELD mandate) or do (CSA) show little benefit to drivers directly and only create additional administrative and cost burdens for carriers. The latter are felt most strongly by the smallest of those carriers and their drivers, often one and the same person. 

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Following the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association’s call for her resignation in June, more than 9 in 10 Overdrive readers said they agreed with such a call. (In the Aug. 14 conference, she denied a link between OOIDA’s call for and the announcement of her resignation scarcely more than a month later — she will soon take the position of President and CEO of the American Association of Motor Vehicle Administrators, which post’s availability she said drove her decision to step aside.) 

In Ferro’s view, essentially, what change follows from her engagement with drivers and owner-operators is a new term in the debate, a new focus in the trucking-safety conversation. With uncompensated detention now firmly a part of it, and not just in the pages of Overdrive and on driver message boards, the administrator was hopeful for the future of reform in the area. Among eventual markers of her success or failure as administrator, she urged watchers to look for a future not only in which, if she’s done her work right, there are fewer truck- and bus-involved crashes or lower crash rates but in which there is “vastly improved compensation for professional drivers and a demonstrated higher bar for safety for those working into the supply chain,” not just trucking companies and their drivers. 

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As in the past, her willingness to use the bully pulpit to influence the safety conversation was on display, as she urged carriers from the single-truck owner-operator on up to the largest fleets to take advantage of the current supply and demand dynamic to shoot for “rate growth and driver compensation growth.” She’d applaud, she said, any trucking company that refused to do business with a shipper that wouldn’t agree to pay detention. 

And she added, “Shippers that are abusive should frankly be shut out.”

  • gregbo

    I have said it before but I’ll repeat it here. This lady understands the fundamental problem with truck driving: absurdly low pay and free work due to the cents/mile pay scheme. The trucking industry is allowed to place the cost of their unbillable hours on the driver, something no other employee would tolerate. The entire logistics industry, the consumer, and the entire economy benefit from truck drivers willing to work for free. Meanwhile it is the driver who carries the burden of ELD, CSA, HOS, PSA, DAC and public safety. Until drivers demand that they be compensated for all of their work and all of their time nothing will change.

  • lastgoodusername

    Legacy. According to who you ask I would say. She has been a perfect mouth piece for the Trucking Alliance. Does anyone really believe a national detention policy. What will that be, Logbooks for shipping and receiving departments. “Shippers that are abusive should frankly be shut out.” The only smart thing she has said, but the trucking companies need to do it , not the feds. EOBR’s for everybody. It may save a life, and we all know from her testimony on capitol hill that “every life is precious”. , but at what cost. Park all the trucks and their will be no truck wrecks, might be a problem with food, fuel , insert your item here, but we will be able to achieve the goal.That is the legacy of Queen Anne. Fix a problem, or perceived problem with a solution that doesn’t take any of the consequences into account.Problem solved, OOPS, sorry about the mess i left while cleaning up that other mess. Oh well , off to advise some more folks. I would have figured that her and Albert would have started trucking together.

  • Barney

    EOBR’s are not the perfect answer in every operation. I am absolutely opposed to the mandate. I always have been and always will be. She may understand the fundamental problems of trucking, but has no clue how to fix them. The only thing she has done “in the name of safety,” is create what is now a system that is so cumbersome that even the DOT can’t interpret it correctly half the time. It is virtually impossible to get a straight answer out of the DOT on some subjects. Glad to see her go.

  • monogo

    Truck drivers should be compensated, thru/under, the the wage and hour act…..

  • Zach

    Just another body installed to fill a position in an administration that’s just as crooked as any, lost and gone nowhere except backwards and left. She ain’t got a clue. When she spends some time behind the wheel, she will get my endorsement. Good riddance!!!

  • Kevin J. Reidy

    Administrator Ferro wanted drivers to share our concerns with her about the industry, and we did. We wrote to her and her agency about every issue. we commented on the new regulations when they came up, we talked until we were blue in the face…except…

    SHE NEVER ONCE LISTENED.

    Instead, she proposed or put into force regulations with poor or no science to back them up, and we now have increased truck crashes every year.

    We are now LESS SAFE because of Anne Ferro.

  • yogi

    well said

  • sthomas1957

    Just saying she wishes driver compensation in the industry would improve doesn’t make it so. Many of the stakeholders inside and outside of this industry who have taken pains to keep driver pay as low as possible also say the same thing. It takes concrete measures to move the ball down the field, not just lip service.

  • g22p

    Anne Ferro hurt America more than AL Qaeda . She should be deported .

  • David Boone

    The only she is leaving is death and destruction that her and her band of irresponsible goons have created I think she and everyone else in the death highways administration should go to prison for murder

  • Pingback: What will be outgoing FMCSA Administrator Anne Ferro’s lasting legacy? @FMCSA_FRW | iTruckTV

  • Barton van Buskirk

    1.eletronic logs = is a great safety added

    2. csa = safety keeps bad drivers responsible for there excessive tickets

    3.made carriers responsible for them not taking care of the equipment-trucks and trlers .
    4.she made large shippers address wait time for drivers that’s more then your own company does .
    5.she went driving with an owner-operator that’s more then most dispatchers do .That’s more then most people you work for do.

    the best part of that article was when they asked about ooida calling for her resignation -she only knows them as lobbyist -they paid her same time that b.s. article came out —

    soo tired of the truck drivers not calling out what really happens

  • Chris

    You must not be a driver to write the way you do.
    Ann Ferro did have a good PR policy, she drove with an Owner Operator and talked about the issue of detention and pay.
    The problem is that she has not listened to any of the requests or suggestions the drivers and the industry have suggested.
    1- we asked for more flexibility to get some rest when we feel it is needed without having the clock ticking over out heads knowing you are running out of time if you stop. Her answer was EOBR’s and mandatory 1/2 hr break. What is safe about it? Where is the flexibility?
    2- CSA is based on parameters and mainly on information collected by enforcement agencies. Just like it is true for computers “garbage in, garbage out” since when is “form and Manners” on a log book a safety issue? Why are we getting a bad report if they find a violation in your log book but most of the time if they find nothing wrong they just let you go without a positive one. Is this the info you qualify as reliable to get hard working people out of their jobs?

    If you haven’t been on the road you wouldn’t know this thinks.

    Actions speek louder than words. The fact that she addressed the detention issue makes her a good politician not an executor.

    She should have teamed up with the Department of Labor to solve detention and pay issues. Most drivers are paid less than minimum wage if you count all the hours they serve their company and the unpaid waiting time either at the dock or waiting to be dispatched. It would be illegal in any other job yet it becomes a customary trend in the industry and accepted by the FMCSA.

    I honestly don’t care why she is leaving I just hope who will replace her will actually listen and understand what’s happening and act in a fair and reasonable way taking action on issues that will bring a real safe inviroment in this industry.
    I don’t like the implication that drivers are irresponsible, unsafe, dangerous to the public and need to be over regulated and controlled. Our overall crash record is remarkable if you consider who is actually responsible for the crashes. Most of the time the crash is caused by a non commercial vehicle yet the CSA report doesn’t take that into account.

    STOP punishing workers and start helping them!!

  • Jack Simon

    What do you propose? Do you favor a “Dollars per hour” scheme in which we only get paid for on-duty and drive time? How about the time that we spend doing trip plans, paperwork, answering telephone calls from people that call to ask stupid questions. . . .
    I am anxious to hear your proposal.

  • Thomas Duncan

    These ever increasing controls on truckers lives is running true truckers out of the business.It has created a dangerous working enviroment.Electronic logs are creating a dangerous hiway.Limiting the truckers ability to plan and work his or her day is stupid.These people have had their commenting sessions over and over again and will not listen to real truckers who tell them this.They seek an ever increasing federal employee pool with increasing pay and an endless supply of cheap unskilled labor.

  • Jim

    Buskirk, you and your kind are real problem in this business. Always wanting somebody holding your hand, watching over you, wanting somebody to advocate for you. Either your a lazy newby, or your one of these drivers wants to have bankers hours and still make good money. Man up, or get you a job where mother Union can do everything for you. If you did anything at all in this business, you would never support EOBR use, most certainly not any mandate…unless..
    you want to continue being the first one in the T/S in the afternoon and the last to leave in the morning all the while getting your big day of 500 miles in! I don’t have any respect for you or your kind, and I wish you would leave the business! Do those of us who love to drive and wish to do our jobs the best and safest and most efficient way a big favor. Go be a damn robot in some other field

  • Barton van Buskirk

    i am a driver and you want the old log book rules .there gone for a reason its simple .if your a-loud to stop your 14 then you can drive any time you want thats not safe —dont feed me the b.s. that you drive when you are awake more b.s. live in the real world -you push your self past what is safe .most companys push you past what is safe –you should embrace the new rules they gave you a better living guailty out on the road –your days ends thats awesome –you want to go back and drive 24/7 again those days are gone and it was a good thing –

    as far as detention they told you what she did in the article- last i checked thats more then anybody before her= more then the company you drive for =i believe she did as much as the house and senate would let fly against all the lobbyist from the company we all work =

  • Barton van Buskirk

    your the best driver to the broker that takes a little off the top because he found you to haul his cheap freight =
    =you make a bad dispatcher good you take what ever they dish out =
    =you drive little faster -little longer-put the freight above your own health=
    =your such a great driver you and everyone like you shouldn’t have to even fill out a log book because you always know your limit=
    =you are what we DRIVER”S call a short timer..IF you drive the way your post sais you do witch im sure is half b.s. but any way =
    =

  • Easy Money

    You sir are obviously a brain washed uneducated individual. Your verbiage told that story first. You judgement is jaded by media propaganda and industry BS! You are not a real driver that believes in what the industry could or should be. You are a cancer that is destroying the industry just like Ann Ferro! Her day is gone so why don’t you follow her! CSA,ELD, HOS are all acronyms that are being used to destroy an industry that needed some preventative maintenance , not a major Overhaul! You sir need to do some real research or simply close your mouth, because as of now when you open your trap it reaks of a fowl odor that kind of resembles ISh!

  • Jason Haggard

    Funny how thousands asked for her resignation a long time before OOIDA ever came forward and nothing happened. Does that make OOIDA a good thing or are there political favors being exchanged, I’m starting to wonder about it personally.

  • jojo

    Todays Co OTR Driver is paid a variable salary based on Piece work performed.
    Replace the current method with an hourly based variable salary that is tied to the minimum wage.
    The salary would pay the Driver for a maximum of 70hrs Driving/On Duty Not Driving in an 8 day period.
    Example; $7.25 X 24hr X 8 days = $1,392.00
    ($1,392.00 / 70hrs = $19.88 an hour.).
    This is what a beginning Co OTR Driver should be earning.
    A Driver is AT WORK when they are stationed to the truck. It is the boss mans job to manage the production of the truck!

    Go Home To VOTE! Federal Election Day is 11/4/14.

    As for ME, I’m Going Home 10/31 thru 11/7. I’M MAKING SURE THAT MY VOICE IS GOING TO BE HEARD!!!

    Pat Hockaday jojo@gmail.com

  • jojo

    OOIDA called for her resignation as it appeared that she broke the law by using the tax payers resources to lobby her agenda.
    OOIDA has a DC staff that work for me and the other members in order to educate the policy makers of the REAL ISSUES WE DRIVERS FACE DAILY. Unlike other lobbyist, WE DO NOT BRIBE ANYONE!!!
    As long as drivers have to “Race the Clock” to earn a living, ELD’s only promote unsafe and dangerous behavior!!!
    The CSA program enables the enforcers to be the jury and executioner. America is not a police state OR is it when truck Drivers are concerned!!!
    She realized to late to act that DRIVERS COMPENSATION is the true course to SAFETY!!!

  • Barton van Buskirk

    keep driving to make someone else money and you will be rewarded with a life of nothing to show for it -the csa will call you out for what you do remember -you will have your self to blame=
    THAT IS IF YOU CAN HANDLE THE REAL WORLD
    WHAT YOU NEED TO ASK YOURSELF ?

  • Barton van Buskirk

    OOIDA sales you a product . And there really good at suing trucking
    company’s . You talk about freedom unless ooida decides there in the
    wrong. They give you lip service that’s not enough THEY make you pay
    for it —
    OOIDA has not done anything but to keep the drivers quiet
    -they watched fuel price’s run everybody out of business .to me there no
    different FMSCA

    ELD makes sure you get an end to your day ‘you miss working 24 hours a day i think not’

    CSA-makes sure that every violation that a driver gets in the life of his career shows up.
    you say ” DRIVERS COMPENSATION is the true course to SAFETY!!!…well as i see it—- that’s true .
    THE REAL QUESTION WHO MAKE’S YOU SAFE-CAN YOU SAY THAT EVERYONE DRIVING MAKE’S GOOD DECISIONS I THINK NOT

  • jojo

    My Net year to date is $74,000.00+
    for a single truck that I own and operate. That is for 68,214 total miles run. That breaks down to approximately 2,274 miles a week.
    I guarantee you that I DO NOT have to CHEAT my book.
    I offer my thoughts and experience, as any successful businessman should, to those whom may benefit.
    It appears to me that you speak of things you know nothing about. Your opinions are unfounded and the facts you state are incorrect.
    I would encourage you to continue posting your comments as a means to educate yourself from those of us who have taken the time trying to do so.
    Maybe your nothing but an agitator and aggravator or maybe you just don’t have a clue.

  • Barton van Buskirk

    i just stated facts of what ooida does and csa does .your answer to that was to tell me how much money you make .im glad your doing soo well for your self .also as far as your book goes i hope it is legal =
    i dont mind being wrong you just didnt convince me that i am =

    i will say this the regulations as they are now seem to make it possible that your doing soo well .soo by your own words the rules are working pretty well then .

    your personal attacks to me show s that you seem to be coming from a different picture then your telling but no worries i wish you good luck..

  • jojo

    You only stated your opinion about OOIDA.
    I only shared my income, which is mediocre, to help you and others realize that you are allowing these mega companies to take advantage.
    The regs as they are make my job unnecessarily more dangerous and more difficult. I don’t think that they are working well at all if it means that I must prove myself innocent instead of them proving me guilty. Many Drivers do not understand that the companies have covered their butts by leaving their Drivers butts unguarded. (They never told the Driver to break the law).
    I in way attacked you.

  • Todd Berndt

    Very well said !!!

  • Todd Berndt

    By the hour a driver should be paid the minimum of what he averages a day driving. If his base is 40 cents a mile and he is held at a shipper for 5 hours . He should get $24.00 a hour . Plain and simple . And if he is at a shipper for 14 hours there should be a fee added to his $24.00 hour pay as well . I think drivers are way over paid for what they deal with . Been driving for 23 years and made more in 1995 than I do now !! Personally I think the industry needs to go to by the hour . And hit the shippers where it hurts as well as the receivers !!

  • Barton van Buskirk
  • MrNA

    $24.00 per hr min. pay ? Here is a person you are entrusting to be a top notch driver on public highways with $200k + equipment in a hostile and unruly and sub par environment at all hours of the day or night. You are also asking this person to be an upstanding and recommendable product of your business and also to be able to inspect and and assess all aspects of your equipment, customers and logistics ideas. Knowledgeable and personable of manner and demeanor. You pay peanuts you get monkeys… well whats the government employees excuse when you comp them exhorbitant salaries, perks, vacations, bonuses and retirement and being held not neglible for their actions. Two sides of the spectrum.

  • MrNA

    Or hire an untrained/ trained by OJT (on the job training for you rookies) bubba type or mass minority, glad to be in America Land of oppurtunity, entitlled, self centered, immigrant/criminal job placement prospect and hopefully they turn out “professional”. I was once one of the few types mentioned above.. Now you see why we are treated like crap ? BUT over the course of time and fate or Go d or karma or what have you many of us get it. It is human nature. Give a man freedom and choice and common sense prevails. Keeping us under thumb as Anne Ferro and the likes is revolution in the making. Never meshed with Anne and now as a 4 wheeler advocate our battle may be tougher. How about you write your local auto club and tell them as a car and truck driver what you know makes highways safer.

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