FMCSA Not Prioritizing Requests to Crack Down on Brokers Despite Historic Trucker Protest

Washington D.C. – The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) is not prioritizing petitions regarding broker transparency filed last year in the wake of an historic trucker protest.

Transportation Nation Network (TNN) has learned the Agency is not expected to issue decisions on three separate petitions regarding what’s known as the “broker transparency rule” (49 CFR 371.3) any time soon.




 

Under 49 CFR 371.3, each party to a freight transaction has a right to review the record including what the shipper paid the broker and the margin for the broker.

The issue exploded within the trucking industry in May of last year when hundreds of truckers took to the streets of our nation’s capital to protest plummeting freight rates being offered by brokers amid the pandemic.

The historic demonstration lasted more than three weeks as truckers demanded higher rates and more transparency.

The protest even garnered attention from President Donald Trump.

When asked about it during an interview on Fox News, Mr. Trump accused brokers of “price gouging” independent contractors.

About a week later during a cabinet roundtable discussion at the White House, the then-president sounded off yet again about his belief freight brokers were taking advantage of small business truckers.




 

He instructed Secretary of Labor Eugene Scalia to “help the truckers.”

“I’ll tell you, they work hard and they have brokers that take a lot of their business away [and] they don’t work so hard,” Trump said. “They sit in an office some place. It’s not good.”

In the wake of the furor, the Small Business and Transportation Coalition (SBTC) and the Owner Operator Independent Driver’s Association (OOIDA) filed petitions effectively asking the FMCSA to crack down on brokers that attempt to avoid providing transaction records to independent contractors.

In response, the Transportation Intermediaries Association (TIA) — which is the largest group of third party logistics companies — fired back by filing a petition asking the FMCSA to rescind 49 CFR 371.3.

 

TIA argued the transparency rule — promulgated in 1980 by the Interstate Commerce Commission (ICC) — is outdated and no longer serves its original intent since it creates “unnecessary restrictions which might impede the free operation of the marketplace.”

Further, TIA asserted that the spot market is “one of the most transparent market places in the world.”

The FMCSA received public comments on each of the petitions.

However, it has been more than six months since the last of the comment periods closed and the Agency has yet to issue any decisions.

While this may have been an important issue to President Trump, it is not considered a top priority to the Biden Administration, TNN has learned this week.




 

According to a trusted source with knowledge of the Agency’s thinking on the matter, new FMCSA leadership desires to focus on other issues.

Additionally, “staff level Presidential appointees” still not yet being in place has also contributed to the slowed decision-making process on the broker transparency petitions.

How will the FMCSA eventually come down on these petitions?

Stay logged on to TransportationNation.com as we soon will be reporting further on this issue.

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