The current President of the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association (OOIDA) has asked Joe Biden’s transition team to consider him to lead the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA).
OOIDA’s media outlet Landline reports that President Todd Spencer has sent a letter to the U.S. Department of Transportation Transition Team formally requesting consideration for the role of Administrator of the FMCSA.
Wiley Deck is currently serving as FMCSA Acting Administrator after Jim Mullen stepped down at the end of August 2020. Mullen had served as Acting Administrator since October 2019 after Ray Martinez left the post, having served since February 2018 through the end of October 2019.
In the letter to the Biden’s transition team, Spencer points to his decades of experience in trucking as a reason for him to take control of the FMCSA:
I know what it is like to make a living behind the wheel of a truck. I still hold a CDL. I have been involved with FMCSA, its predecessor agencies, and numerous federal advisory committees for decades. I have testified before Congress; I have had plenty of meetings with lawmakers and their staff, and I am exceptionally familiar with how Capitol Hill works. I enjoy working with my industry peers, both in the public and private sectors, and I am always willing to work with anyone for the greater good of the trucking industry and highway safety.
Representing our nation’s small-business truckers has been my life’s work. I still aspire to do this for many years to come, but sometimes we are compelled to make a difference in other ways. FMCSA’s primary mission is to reduce crashes, injuries and fatalities involving large trucks and buses. I am uniquely qualified to lead the agency in that direction.
My message to Congress in recent years has been that trucking is dysfunctional. Some of this dysfunction is a result of trucking regulations that have nothing to do with highway safety, many of which are mandated by Congress. They are often promoted and/or promulgated by people who have little or no industry experience and/or by people who have no real understanding of the actual impact these regulations have on big trucks and those who operate them.
The system we have in place now simply does not work. We have never had more regulations than we do today, and we have never had more enforcement of or compliance with those regulations, yet highway safety continues to trend in the wrong direction. This is because regulations often exclude input or direct involvement from those behind the wheel of a truck, and they almost never reflect the diverse operational nature of the trucking industry.
Spencer has served as OOIDA’s President since 2018. In his time with OOIDA, he has called for President Trump to act to assist truck drivers during the COVID-19 crisis, called for “immediate action” against unscrupulous freight brokers, and repeatedly spoken out against the notion of a “truck driver shortage.”
A 2019 article from Business Insider argued that “none of the people who oversee the federal laws that govern truck drivers were ever truck drivers themselves.” The report confirmed that no administrator in the history of the FMCSA has ever held a CDL or driven a truck professionally.