EXCLUSIVE: FMCSA Breaks its Silence on D.C. Trucker Rally and Broker Price Gouging Claims
Washington D.C. – The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) is breaking its silence about the ongoing rally in Washington D.C. and the growing controversy over low rates being offered by freight brokers during the COVID-19 recession.
Truckers from across the country descended on our nation’s capital on May 1 as part of the MayDay demonstrations with the intent to bring awareness to low freight rates being offered to small business truckers during a time of national emergency.
Remarkably, the rally caught the attention of the President of the United States.
President Donald Trump publicly expressed his support for the truckers in multiple statements, but curiously, the leaders at the United States Department of Transportation (USDOT) as part of the Trump Administration, including USDOT Secretary Elaine Chao, remained silent on the matter… that is, until today.
A spokesperson with the FMCSA reached out to Transportation Nation Network (TNN) on Tuesday in response to an article we published on Sunday entitled, “USDOT’s Silence on D.C. Rally Speaks Loud and Clear Message to Truckers.”
The article pointed out the USDOT’s conspicuous silence and the message it was sending to truckers supporting the D.C. rally.
“They haven’t made a comment because they know they have failed miserably,” Shawn Mcintosh, a rally organizer, told TNN on Sunday. “We’ve gone to them so many times and that’s never even gone to the ears of the man in the White House who can do something about it. So, we’ll sit here until we get a meeting with him.”
An FMCSA spokesperson addressed Mcintosh and all truckers in an exclusive statement to TNN.
“FMCSA always welcomes and wants input from drivers and those in the commercial vehicle industry,” the spokesperson said. “FMCSA supports America’s truck drivers and is working on crafting policies that will improve the lives of drivers, such as improvements to the hours-of-service rules to allow drivers greater flexibility, while maintaining the highest level of safety.”
The Agency representative challenged assertions the FMCSA has been unresponsive to drivers’ requests.
“During this Administration, FMCSA has been committed to directly engaging with drivers and Commercial Motor Vehicle (CMV) stakeholders throughout the country and will continue to work closely with the industry to better the lives of drivers and improve safety on America’s roadways,” he said.
Mcintosh and other truckers TNN has spoken with also expressed outrage over the USDOT’s handling of the COVID-19 pandemic by failing to provide many truckers with personal protective equipment (PPE) for more than six weeks while much was still unknown about the virus.
“Why did we not have personal protective equipment (PPE)? Why were we not provided testing? They completely failed the men and women who are the backbone of the country,” Mcintosh stated.
The FMCSA spokesperson responded by pointing to the Agency’s unprecedented actions taken thus far.
“FMCSA has also taken historic action in response to the coronavirus outbreak to provide truckers with regulatory relief and recently has helped distribute one million protective face coverings to truckers around the nation,” he explained.
Broker Price Gouging Claims
In a nationally televised interview last Friday morning on Fox News, President Trump indicated he believed truckers are being price gouged by freight brokers.
“Oh they are price gouged,” Mr. Trump said in response to a question about pricing gouging. “We’re going to take care of that.”
Read President Trump’s full statement HERE.
However, according to the FMCSA spokesperson, the Agency has not received any notice of such violations.
“The Agency has no regulatory authority over fees charged by brokers—nor has FMCSA received any notice that any Agency regulations have been violated,” he informed.
Meeting With President Trump
Rally organizers and participants are now well into their second week of demonstrations with more trucks on the way, according to multiple sources on the ground in D.C.
Mcintosh and others say they are not leaving our nation’s capital until they have an opportunity to voice their concerns directly to President Trump.
“All we are asking for is a meeting. It can even be a telephone call. It doesn’t have to be face to face. The only one that can help us now is the man in the White House and we’re staying until we do,” he declared.
Once again, in TNN’s ongoing discussions with the FMCSA, we asked if the Agency and Secretary Chao would encourage or discourage the President to meet with rally organizers to hear their concerns.
Unfortunately, the FMCSA continues to decline providing an answer to that question.
TransportationNation.com will be closely monitoring new developments.
Photo courtesy of Rick Santiago