OOIDA Calls on Congress For Emergency Action on Broker Reform, Driver Pay, Truck Parking
Kansas City, MO – The Owner Operator Independent Driver’s Association (OOIDA) is calling on the United States Congress to take a host of actions to help small business truckers in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
In a letter sent Congressional leaders on May 13, 2020, Todd Spencer, OOIDA president and CEO, outlined a series of measures the association hopes to see enacted in the next round of coronavirus relief legislation.
Freight Broker Reform
At the top of the list were multiple freight broker reforms.
“An urgent concern among our members is plummeting rates in the freight market,” Spencer wrote. “Congress must help confront the problem by ensuring that existing transparency regulations related to brokered loads are functioning as intended.”
Specifically, OOIDA once again called on U.S. legislators to approve legislation which would require brokers to provide transaction records electronically pursuant to 49 CFR 371.3.
“Immediately transmitting this information to truckers will dramatically improve transparency, giving small trucking businesses greater opportunity to avoid contracting with unscrupulous brokers or those who don’t provide adequate compensation,” Spencer writes.
OOIDA also wants Congress to step in on the issue of broker bonds.
“While MAP-21 increased the amount of the broker bond to a minimum of $75,000, simply raising the bond has not stopped brokers from stealing transportation services in excess of the minimum amount. Absent sufficient regulatory and legislative action, brokers will continue to take advantage of drivers without any intention of ever paying them,” the letter states.
Truck Weight Emergency Exemptions
In response to the COVID-19 national emergency, a number of states provided weight limit exemptions as part of an effort to speed the delivery of essential goods.
However, OOIDA argues such exemptions exacerbate the current overcapacity in the marketplace which is serving to drive freight rates to “historic and unsustainable lows.”
“The Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) should work with states to ensure that their emergency weight exemptions expire as soon as possible and are not extended,” Spencer implores.
Increasing Driver Compensation
OOIDA is also arguing for numerous measures to increase pay such as repealing the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) overtime exemption for truck drivers, and providing hazard pay for drivers working during the pandemic.
“For decades, driver compensation has been woefully inadequate. It’s unacceptable that many drivers are continuing to be underpaid while they work longer hours and face greater risk of exposure,” Spencer said.
In addition, OOIDA wants to see small business truckers provided with “targeted financial relief” by suspending the Heavy Vehicle Use Tax (HVUT) and Unified Carrier Registration (UCR) Fees for 2020.
Earlier this year before the COVID-19 emergency began, the Truck Parking Safety Improvement Act TPSIA (H.R. 6104) was introduced into the U.S. House of Representatives.
The bill is seeking more than $750 million to be set aside over the next five years to help alleviate the parking shortage problem.
If approved, the bi-partisan legislation would direct the Secretary of Transportation to set aside $125 million for 2021, $140 million in 2022, $150 million in 2023, $165 million in 2024 and $175 million in 2025 to “provide parking for commercial motor vehicles on the Federal-aid highway system, and for other purposes.”
OOIDA is pushing for the passage of TPSIA as part of the next emergency recovery package or upcoming surface transportation reauthorization.