A new report confirms what many truckers have long suspected — that none of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s (FMCSA) top administrators have ever held a commercial drivers license.
On Wednesday, February 27, Business Insider, one of the most visited news websites on the net, published an article entitled “None of the people who oversee the federal laws that govern truck drivers were ever truck drivers themselves.”
The article points out that none of the FMCSA’s four top administrators, including agency head Ray Martinez, have ever held a CDL, meaning that none of them have ever driven a semi truck — even though they are paid to create and modify the regulations that America’s 1.8 million professional truckers must follow.
Not only does Martinez lack any sort of behind-the-wheel trucking experience, but Business Insider confirmed that no administrator in the history of the FMCSA has ever held a CDL or driven a truck professionally.
The article argues that it is not common for leadership at a federal agency to have little practical experience in the field that they are regulating. For example, they say, the acting administrator of the Federal Aviation Administration worked as a commercial airline pilot for sixteen years in addition to serving in the U.S. Air Force and U.S. Air Force Reserve.
The notion that top administrators in the FMCSA do not have hands-on experience with the industry that they are regulating has long been a pain point among U.S. truck drivers, who feel that regulators, however well-meaning, do not have a deep enough understanding of the day-to-day realities of trucking to be able to make effective and fair rules.
The feeling of lack of representation has led some trucking groups to start to fight for a seat at the rule-making table. One of the declared goals of the recently-high-profile group “Black Smoke Matters” is to have a voice in the creation and modification of trucking regulations.
From the group’s list of goals:
Due to the fact that truck drivers are individuals being regulated for the job that they perform, they should be granted the opportunity to form a committee of truck drivers from all sectors of the trucking industry to act as advisors to the U.S. Congressional oversight committees and the Department of Transportation.