FMCSA to Consider New Proposals to Crack Down on Freight Brokers
Washington D.C. – The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) is considering newly filed petitions by two trucking groups calling for stricter requirements for freight brokers.
On Tuesday, the FMCSA indicated it will soon publish into the Federal Register recently filed petitions by the Owner Operator Independent Driver’s Association (OOIDA) and the Small Business in Transportation Coalition (SBTC).
The petitions stem from concerns that freight brokers are not complying with, or are circumventing 49 CFR 371.3 which requires brokers to provide a copy of the transaction record to carriers, at the carriers request, upon delivery of the load.
OOIDA is asking the FMCSA to:
1) require brokers to automatically provide an electronic copy of each transaction record within 48 hours after the contractual service has been completed, and
2) explicitly prohibit brokers from including any provision that requires a carrier to waive their rights to access the transaction records.
Further, OOIDA is asking the FMCSA to impose fines on brokers that choose not to comply with the regulations.
The SBTC seeks a new provision to 49 CFR 371 to state, “Brokers may not coerce or otherwise require parties to the transaction to waive their right to review the record of the transaction as a condition for doing business. No stipulation or clause in any contract shall exempt any broker from having to comply with this rule, upon demand, by a party to the transaction.”
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Issues surrounding broker transparency came under intense scrutiny earlier this year during the height of the COVID-19 recession.
As spot market freight rates plummeted, small business truckers felt the squeeze leading to an historic three-week protest in Washington D.C. back in May.
The protest caught the attention of President Donald Trump and the United States Department of Justice (DOJ) subsequently launched an investigation into possible anti-trust violations among major brokerages.
Transportation Nation Network (TNN) can confirm that investigation is ongoing as more witnesses are expected to be interviewed in the coming weeks.
The FMCSA has also come under scrutiny for its action, or inaction, in enforcing 49 CFR 371.3.
In June, at the Truckload Carrier Association’s (TCA) Virtual Safety & Security meeting, current Acting Administrator of the FMCSA, Jim Mullen, questioned the Agency’s authority to prevent brokers from requiring carriers to waive their rights under 371.3.
“Now there are many people that will say to us, ‘Hey look you’re missing the point Mullen. The brokers are trying to circumvent the process by requiring the waiver and if the motor carrier doesn’t waive it, they get black balled.’ I understand the concept. But the regulation says what it says and I think most people understand that the regulation is very specific,” he said.
Last week, TNN broke the news that Acting Administrator Mullen will be leaving the Agency on August 28, 2020.
As for the petitions, the public will have 60 days to file comments and responses to eight questions posed by the Agency once they are published, which is expected to be on Wednesday.
TNN will be taking a much closer look at these questions in another article later this week.
To comment, simply visit www.regulations.gov and reference Docket No. FMCSA-2020-0150.
TransportationNation.com will continue to follow new developments.