FMCSA says no one has given them proof of broker violations

The acting head of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) told industry stakeholders on Thursday that there is no evidence to back up trucker claims of unscrupulous freight brokers.

On May 28, FMCSA Acting Administrator Jim Mullen spoke during an Intermodal Association of North America webinar to offer an update on his agency’s regulatory activities.

During the webinar, Mullen addressed one of the most polarizing issues in trucking today — broker transparency.

Mullen acknowledged the three week long Washington D.C. trucker protests that caught the attention of President Trump on several occasions, but said that FMCSA has not received any valid complaints from truckers about illegal freight broker practices.

“The vast number of complaints we have about the freight brokerage space and the rates right now aren’t relative,” Mullen told viewers during the webinar.

Mullen said, “In fact, we don’t have a specific complaint that a broker failed to abide by [49 CFR] 371.3, in a situation in which the motor carrier hadn’t waived, contractually, the ability to get that financial data that the regulation encompasses.

Per 49 CFR 371.3, freight brokers must keep detailed records of their transactions with motor carriers. While the regulation gives truckers the right to review those records, many freight brokers draft contracts that require carriers to waive their right to view these records.

“We don’t expect this to go away anytime soon, and we take our regulatory obligations very seriously,” Mullen said.

The Washington D.C. “Mayday” trucker protest that centered on unscrupulous brokers culminated on May 20 when trucking representatives Mike Landis and Sergey “C.J.” Karman met with Mullen and White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows at the White House to ask for broker transparency. Landis and Karman said that officials asked them for three ideas on how to solve broker transparency problems as the next step forward in the process.

Earlier this month, the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association (OOIDA) petitioned the FMCSA for “immediate action” to increase broker transparency. OOIDA asked authorities to require electronic copies of broker transactions to be automatically delivered to motor carriers. The group also asked the FMCSA to increase penalties and enforcement for brokers who do not comply with existing federal regulations related to broker transparency. The group also called on Congress to step in.

Mullen said during the webinar that the FMCSA is reviewing OOIDA’s petition.

The U.S. Department of Justice has reportedly opened an investigation into claims of price gouging by freight brokers.