FMCSA should pick up the pace on broker transparency: OOIDA

user-gravatar Headshot
Updated Feb 16, 2024

While the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration signaled earlier this year that it will initiate a rulemaking that would alter its brokered freight transaction transparency regulations, the trade association leading the charge is growing impatient.

The Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association first petitioned FMCSA to improve broker transparency in May 2020, requesting that brokers be required to provide transaction information automatically within 48 hours of the completion of contractual services and that brokers be prohibited from including any provision that requires a carrier to waive their rights to access the transaction records.

The Biden Administration’s Spring 2023 Unified Regulatory Agenda projected that a notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM) regarding Transparency in Property Carrier Broker Transactions would be published in June, but as of Aug. 22, no such notice has materialized.  

[Related: Owner-ops sound off to FMCSA on need for more light on brokered rates]

“Unfortunately, our association has to report [to its members] that the NPRM is still pending even as broker concerns increasingly plague the industry,” OOIDA said in an Aug. 17 letter to FMCSA Administrator Robin Hutcheson. 

“As freight rates have declined throughout 2023, we have heard small-business truckers voice their frustrations about broker fraud,” the group added. “We understand that not all low rates are the result of unscrupulous brokers, but it can be difficult for carriers to identify legitimate brokers with the ineffective transparency regulations currently in place.”

OOIDA reiterated a statement it made in a September 2022 letter to FMCSA, noting that though small-business truckers’ concerns “may intensify during more challenging economic times,” the frustration OOIDA hears from its members is constant.

[Related: FMCSA signals intent to move on OOIDA broker transparency petition]

OOIDA in its latest letter calls on FMCSA to publish the notice “and promote broker transparency as soon as possible.”

Partner Insights
Information to advance your business from industry suppliers

Updating these regulations will protect carriers from unlawful brokers and help protect the public by providing a marketplace in which each party behaves in a clear and transparent manner,” OOIDA said. “Since the agency’s rulemaking announcement in March, instances of rampant broker abuse and fraud persist. Motor carriers are victimized through unpaid claims, unpaid loads, double brokered loads, or load phishing schemes on a daily basis.”

The group added that improving regulations and enforcement around broker transparency would reduce disputes between brokers and carriers and improve the economic health of the trucking industry as a whole. OOIDA also believes it would improve highway safety and driver retention “as small-business motor carriers who rely upon brokers will be spared unnecessary financial loss.”

As recently reported by Overdrive sister publication CCJ, the Transportation Intermediaries Association representing brokers has vowed to fight any proposal that would change broker transparency regulations, with TIA CEO Anne Reinke calling such a change “rate intrusion,” adding that it would drive rates down. Earlier this year, FMCSA denied TIA's own 2020 petition to remove the 49 CFR 371.3(c) transparency regulation entirely

[Related: The double brokering slow burn: How it happens, and how to fight back]