FMCSA “Concerned” About Rising Violence Toward Truckers, “Actively Reviewing” the Issue
Washington D.C. – The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) says it is “concerned” about the growing violence and threats truckers are facing as widespread social tension continues.
In an exclusive statement to Transportation Nation Network (TNN) on Tuesday, an Agency spokesperson revealed Acting Administrator Jim Mullen and his team are right now looking for ways within their power to address the troubling issue.
“FMCSA is concerned about any violence toward truckers and urges any drivers who are threatened or experience crimes committed against them to immediately contact the police,” the spokesperson said. “The Agency always welcomes and wants input from drivers and is actively reviewing its statutory authorities concerning this issue.”
The FMCSA’s new comments to TNN come one day after Joe DeLorenzo, FMCSA’s Office of Enforcement Director, joined the popular BlogTalk Radio show, “Trucking With the Schmitts,” to discuss questions regarding the Agency’s Hours of Service (HOS) Final Rule set to take effect in September.
DeLorenzo was asked what, if any, actions the Agency was taking to stop the growing problem of protesters blocking interstates and highways.
“When those things happen, that becomes a State law enforcement issue,” DeLorenzo said. “What am I going to do about it? Right?”
He further went on to say, “We’ve had several of these issues and we’ve had these conversations and generally the outcome of those is if the State chooses to take action, it’s going to become an enforcement issue there in their role in maintaining interstate commerce. It’s a delicate balance, you know, freedom of speech and keeping interstate commerce moving, so everybody just tries to do the right thing.”
The FMCSA is also coming under increasing pressure to suspend HOS to allow truckers to take alternate routes around known dangerous or obstructed areas without the pressure of racing the clock.
In fact, as TNN reported on Monday, Missouri State Representative Mike Moon is calling on United States Department of Transportation (USDOT) Secretary Elaine Chao and the FMCSA to immediately suspend HOS regulations for all “freight haulers” in response to the challenges.
The State Representative argues the “inability to choose the safest route places drivers in imminent danger of assault, injury and or death, potential loss of freight, and damage to their vehicles.”
Read More on Rep. Moon’s Demands HERE.
DeLorenzo was asked about a possible HOS suspension and downplayed it.
“We watch those things, we monitor the emergencies… we just haven’t seen at this point that there’s that significant of an impact,” he said. “It seems to really have kind of tapered off where there is not a significant impact to commerce where it was causing people problems and they needed more hours. So, but we watch those things and we did look at it, but we just didn’t see there was a case for going that emergency route as it relates to those emergency situations.”
DeLorenzo’s comments are in contrast to an Agency spokesperson’s confirmation to TNN that a possible HOS suspension is still being discussed by FMCSA leaders.
For example, the Agency confirmed that Mr. Mullen met with leaders of the United Transportation Association (UTA) last week and discussed a possible HOS suspension.
According to Charles Claburn, president of UTA, and Lana Danko, Director of Board Members and Members Coordinator — who were both on the call with Mr. Mullen — the Acting Administrator echoed similar comments saying the Agency was reviewing its “statutory authorities” to issue such an exemption.
TNN will have more on this developing story soon, so make sure to stay logged on and follow us on social media.