Trucking Group Proposes Bill to Crack Down on Violence Against Truckers
Washington D.C. – A trucking group is proposing new legislation to crack down on those who perpetrate violence against truckers or interrupt commercial motor vehicle operators from safely carrying out their duties.
After months of riots and protests staged on scores of interstates and highways in major American cities, which resulted in multiple truckers coming under assault, the Small Business in Transportation Coalition (SBTC) is demanding legislative action to address the issue.
The SBTC is actively lobbying members of the U.S. Congress to introduce what it calls the “Truck Driver Protection Act of 2021 (TDPA).”
“Throughout last year, we saw the President and Secretary Chao honor truckers as heroes who selflessly helped America get through the first waive of the Coronavirus and keep our supply chain intact,” the SBTC recently wrote in a letter to legislators. “We believe it is now time for America through her elected representatives to transcend the mere words of #ThankATrucker and enact legislation specifically designed to protect truckers as they continue to restock our nation’s shelves.”
The proposal would revise Federal Law to:
(1) encourage shippers and receivers to provide upon request safe harbor to operators of commercial motor vehicles operating in interstate commerce;
(2) require the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) to promote and protect the personal safety of operators of commercial motor vehicles in interstate commerce;
(3) specifically outlaw violence or threats of violence against operators of commercial motor vehicles;
(4) enable and require the Secretary of Transportation to preempt state laws whenever the Secretary of Transportation determines that state law conflicts with Federal law that protects and promotes the safety of operators of commercial motor vehicles engaged in interstate commerce; and
(5) direct the Secretary of Transportation to study and report to Congress on the appropriateness of existing Federal law and regulations insofar as they impact the safety of operators of commercial motor vehicles operating in interstate commerce.
An existing federal law known as the Hobbs Act makes it a crime punishable by up to 20 years in jail to obstruct, delay or affect commerce by robbery or extortion or threaten physical violence to any person engaged in interstate commerce.
However, James Lamb, president of the SBTC, tells Transportation Nation Network (TNN) the 15,000-member group believes new legislation to specifically carve out protections for truckers is needed in order to compel federal authorities to act.
The USDOT successfully argued the Secretary has “discretion” rather than a “duty” to enforce existing federal law.
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The TDPA is named after Michael Boeglin, an over-the-road trucker who was murdered on the job and burned in his truck in 2014 in Detroit.
Boeglin was 31 at the time of his death and resided in Ferdinand, IN.
“Sadly, there have been hundreds of Americans working in transportation who have shared a similar same fate as Mike. With the permission of the Boeglin family, we offer this legislation to honor Mike and all of the men and women in transportation that have been forgotten,” the SBTC letter states.
TNN will continue to track any new developments in this story.